The Ashe County Board of Commissioners met on Monday to discuss the expansion of GE Aviation.
During a presentation to the BOC, GE Aviation Plant Leader Tim Tucker said GE’s West Jefferson plant will add 105 hourly jobs and 21 salary jobs as part of the expansion.
Tucker said the expansion is due mainly to the development of the new LEAP engine, and the West Jefferson plant is one of 10 sites chosen for the expansion, out of 84 sites.
“Here’s the reason: We have what we call a high-performance team in West Jefferson, and until you come here and see it firsthand, you always wonder, ‘How’s that facility in North Carolina meeting their metrics every month, every quarter, every year?’” Tucker said. “This shop figures it out year after year, and they’ve done this since 2008.”
Tucker said this high level of productivity is due largely to the maturity of the Ashe County workforce.
According to Tucker, GE Aviation’s West Jefferson plant has grown from 79 employees in 2007 to 272 employees in 2017 (expected). Also, the West Jefferson plant is in the process of moving from five processes in 2007 to 34 processes in 2017.
Also, according to Tucker, the West Jefferson facility will almost double in square footage by the completion of the expansion.
GE Aviation will begin taking applications for the expansion on Dec. 1, and continue through January 2015. New employees will be added to GE’s workforce gradually beginning on April 1.
“Beginning next year, we’re going to bring in 15 employees every quarter, until we reach the 105 hourly people and 21 salary people,” Tucker said.
As part of the application process, applicants will need to pass two “toll gates,” and will participate in a week of training. Also, Tucker said in other areas, applicants took part in group exercises to test their teamwork, a process that could be applicable in Ashe County.
“What that drives is, ‘Can you work in a team environment, and can you make it under time pressure?’” Tucker said.
According to Tucker, GE Aviation will be targeting middle school students, high school students, community college students and veterans as new employees.
To find more information or to apply, visit https://geaviation.selectrakonline.com/recruitment/Recruit.aspx.
Following the presentation, members of the Ashe County BOC expressed their appreciation to GE Aviation.
“We feel very blessed to have GE here in Ashe County, and I’m very proud of our workforce,” said Ashe County Commissioner William Sands. “We appreciate that and appreciate you.”
In a 5-0 vote, the BOC approved funding for the Single Family Rehabilitation Program through the High Country Council of Governments.
In a 5-0 vote, the BOC approved a proclamation establishing Nov. 15, 2014, as America Recycles Day. Commissioner Larry Rhodes voted in the affirmative.
In a pair of 5-0 votes, the BOC approved a pair of resolutions for the disposal of surplus weapons and a 2007 Dodge Durango.
In a 5-0 vote, the BOC approved the reappointment of Alice Collins to the Ashe County Library board.
In a 5-0 vote, the BOC approved the reappointment of Gary Roark to the Rural Transportation Advisory Committee.
In a 5-0 vote, the BOC approved the appointment of Fred Lemly to the Northwest Regional Housing Authority Board (second presentation).
In a 5-0 vote, the BOC approved the appointment of Molly Gambill to the Ashe County Library board (second presentation).
In a 5-0 vote, the BOC approved the appointment of Gene Hafer to the Ashe County Planning Board (second presentation).
In a 5-0 vote, the Ashe County Board of Commissioners approved funding of $3,500 to the American Legion.
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