ACT Aerospace in Gunnison wants to purchase this 19-acre parcel owned by Gunnison City for a new production facility for manufacture of airplane and helicopter parts. The operation could create 100 jobs.

ACT Aerospace in Gunnison wants to purchase this 19-acre parcel owned by Gunnison City for a new production facility for manufacture of airplane and helicopter parts. The operation could create 100 jobs.

ACT Aerospace expansion could bring 100 manufacturing jobs to county

 

Robert Stevens

Managing editor

3-23-2017

 

GUNNISON—The owners of ACT Aerospace have made a proposal to the Gunnison City Council to buy 19 acres of city-owned property for a new production facility, which they said would create 100 jobs.

At a council meeting March 8, Jason and Roland inquired about purchasing land between the current ACT plant and U.S. 89 just inside the north city boundary.

The council voted unanimously to move forward with negotiating details of the land sale.

“We’ve been approached by a very large aerospace company to create a more affordable option for them to partner with,” Jason Christensen, ACT CEO said.

He declined to say who the potential partner company was, but said the company had been contracting with aerospace parts producers overseas and wanted to bring some of the contracts back to the United States.

ACT currently manufactures parts for Bell Helicopter and Honda Aircraft. The expansion would enable the company to do the same kind of work on a larger scale.

ACT and Christensen Arms (a company that makes guns and is also owned by the Christensen) currently employ almost 200 people between them, Jason Christensen said.

The 100 jobs created through construction of the new aerospace production facility would not just be for engineers, they stressed.

“The people we will need to hire will go across the entire board,” Jason Christensen said. “Everything from entry-level on up. We have a lot of positions we’d need to fill.”

The Christensens told the council that an expansion of the size they anticipate could boost the local economy substantially.

“When I started working for the Christensens 12 years ago, we were just a little tiny aerospace company,” Gunnison Councilman Andy Hill, who is in charge of the company’s Bell contract, said.

“Today, the Boeings or the Lockheeds of the world know who we are. From my seat as a Gunnison City Council member, a Gunnison City resident and an employee of ACT, these opportunities are huge for our community.

“This represents huge job growth. Imagine if we had 75-100 new families in this valley. It would be huge growth for us.”

Councilman Shawn Crane said, “My perspective is that we’ve had a city property going without good use for a long time. At worst, it will generate property taxes for us; at best it could mean major economic growth.”

Hill said the infrastructure and utility hookups were already in place for the size of facility being contemplated.

Mayor Bruce Blackham said the next step should be getting with the city attorney to see how best to proceed legally.

“It’s a no-brainer,” Blackham said. “The benefits to the committee would be enormous.”

The Christensens say if the council ultimately approves the land sale, they hope to begin construction within six months.