AirBorn employees on the assembly line. | Photo via Greg Wohlford, Erie Times-News.
Without further ado, your Idiotville feel-good story of the week:
If you’re like me, you’d never heard of AirBorn until this week. I thought I had, but it turns out I’d been thinking of Airborne, with an ‘e’, which turns out to have been a scam company hawking vitamins to germaphobes as a supposed cure for the common cold. AirBorn is not that company.
So, what do they do? From the GoErie.com article, their work includes “building precision electrical connectors used in deep-water drilling, operating critical systems on F-35 fighter jets or in applications in outer space.” I am intrigued.
Maybe manufacturing doesn’t have to die out in Erie, after all. Maybe it can evolve with the times. AirBorn sounds like a really cool combination of manufacturing and tech for a world that still needs to make stuff (won’t we always?) but whose demands for quality and precision are ever-increasing.
It’s a big company, too. There are ten AirBorn manufacturing locations worldwide, with three of those soon to expand. The Lake City expansion will be the largest of those, with $3.7 million and another 250 employees set to pour into our area, more than doubling the current employment of 175.
For an expansion of this size, AirBorn is going to need some more space: 30,000 square feet, to be exact. As a little local bonus, that expansion will be designed and constructed by Erie’s own McCormick Structural Systems, pitting even more dollars into local pockets.
So before we write off Erie’s proud manufacturing history altogether and scan the horizon for new industries to take root – tech, hospitality, tourism – maybe the story here is that the more change our future holds, the more it will stay the same. In any case, a big, multi-million dollar business expansion in our area that allows us to dream of rebranding our manufacturing glory days is welcome news.