EDC ‘courts’ aviation firm

Operating with cautious optimism, the McCulloch County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is working closely with Curtis Field airport manager Joe Mosier in an attempt to woo a startup company to relocate to Brady. Preliminary discussions began four or five weeks ago when Rick Carthan of Carthan Aviation in Oklahoma City expressed an interest in building an aircraft repair and maintenance facility at Curtis Field. If initial reports hold true, the successful marriage of the business with the resources could mean the construction of a $3.5 million facility that could eventually employ as many as 70 people. With many contingencies still unknown, the first step in the process will begin when EDC members confirm a potential contract Carthan has with Saab for the refurbishment of 111 aircraft. Once the contract is confirmed, Mosier along with EDC representatives, Brady City Manager Merle Taylor and Mayor Clarence Friar will travel to Austin on Monday to meet with several state officials to discuss possible grant funding. “We have been told verbally that the contract has been approved, but we are waiting to see it (the contract) in person,” said Mosier. In a discussion of the possible project during their quarterly meeting Tuesday night, the EDC talked in depth of what must happen for the project to get off the ground, the biggest of which is the contract with Saab. According to Mosier, if the contract with Saab is valid, chances are better than average that it could lead to a substantial amount of state funding being provided to build the facility. “We have meetings scheduled with officials from TxDOT aviation, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Texas Aerospace Commission and the Rural Development Corporation. I am going to Austin with the intention of getting this project funded 100 percent,” said Mosier. “I don’t know what they will do, most grants are 90/10, but I am going to ask for 100 percent.” Mike Trollinger with the McCulloch County Industrial Foundation, stated that the State of Texas is very interested in recruiting jobs, especially if those jobs come from another state. From prior discussions with representatives from the TWC and the Rural Development Corporation, the possibility of a project of this magnitude has been met with enthusiasm by personnel in those agencies which increases the chances for substantial state funding. “We are taking this one step at a time,” said Trollinger. “Up to this point, each step has led to another and things seem to be falling into place. We will know much more when we see the contract between Carthan and Saab and even more after we meet with officials in Austin.”

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