GROVE – Bill Keefer, on the job as Grove city manager for only a few weeks, received a nice surprise on Tuesday.
By phone, The Journal Record informed Keefer on Tuesday morning that Australian company Ferra Engineering was planning to expand into Grove.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Mark Sherrer, Ferra Engineering CEO, had earlier in the day made the announcement at the Le Bourget Paris Air Show that Ferra planned to expand into a new site in Grove.
Ferra Engineering said in a statement that it expects to employ 20 workers at the new site and expects significant growth and expansion opportunities.
“This was a surprise to us at Grove,” Keefer said.
After making some calls, Keefer learned that Ferra Aerospace Inc. has had a long-term association with Pride Plating Inc., which already operates in Grove.
“It was through that relationship that Ferra found out about our community and the strong aerospace industry base that is already located here in our industrial park,” Keefer said.
Ferra will occupy a 10,000-square-foot plant adjacent to Pride Plating, Keefer said.
“Ferra will start with five employees with plans to grow over the next three years in both the number of employees as well as square footage,” Keefer said.
The primary task in Grove will be working with aero structure assemblies.
There are five aerospace-related companies in the Grove Industrial Park and the Grove area, Keefer said. Together, those companies employ a total of nearly 300 people. Oklahoma’s central location enables Ferra to easily provide service to its customer base on both coasts and international markets, Sherrer said in a statement.
The announcement is a testament to the business climate in Oklahoma, which makes the state a go-to destination, said Fallin in a statement.
“Oklahoma’s competitive cost structure, business-friendly environment and strong existing aerospace supply chain made it a natural choice,” Sherrer said
Oklahoma is one of the top destinations for aerospace business in the entire world, Fallin said.
“With the experience, expertise and infrastructure in place, we see the potential for even greater growth,” she said.
Keefer started his job as Grove city manager on June 1, arriving from Augusta, Kan. Keefer was awarded the job over 60 applicants, according to published reports.
Ferra Engineering specializes in the design, manufacture, assembly and test of aerospace structures, according to a statement from the company. Ferra produces medical devices for the health care industry and components for renewable energy systems.
Ferra serves the international market, with exports making up more than 70 percent of its business. Founded in 1992, Ferra is an independently owned Australian manufacturer servicing the aerospace and defense industries around the world, the company said. Ferra supplies aerospace companies such as Airbus, BAE, Boeing, EADS, GE Aviation, Thales, Goodrich, Lockheed Martin, Marvin Engineering, Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon and Rolls-Royce. Key projects the company has worked on include the F-35 Lighting II, the Airbus A380, the Eurocopter TIGER and NH90, and the Boeing 747, 757, 767, F-18, CH-47, P-8, and JDAM ER.