Aviation company to invest $7.5M and generate jobs in Hillsborough

August 21, 2016

Frances McMorris | Tampa Bay Business Journal

Looking to invest $7.5 million in the local community, a manufacturer of flight simulators for military and commercial aircrafts is expanding in Hillsborough County.

Aero Simulation Inc. will move from its current leased facility at 4450 East Adamo Drive to a new, 60,000-square-foot facility which is being built at 8720 E. Sligh Ave.; on the corner near U.S. 301, about a mile north of the Florida State Fairgrounds, said ASI’s Director of Business Development Russ Shepard.

“We’ve been here about 15 years,” Shepard said in a phone interview. The new building will give ASI more space, especially vertically, to build its innovative flight simulators. “The high bay is going to be much taller,” he said. There will be room to build onto the back of the facility after it opens in early spring.

The company also will create 40 new jobs, including positions such as aviation simulation developers and hardware integration engineers. ASI currently employs more than 60 Floridians.

“We’re excited to expand our presence in Tampa and embark on our next phase of growth in a state-of-the-art facility,” said C. Michael McCarthy, president of Aero Simulation Inc., in a statement. “We’re proud to be a part of a military-friendly community and look forward to developing new programs and systems here that will ensure that our nation’s pilots and operators are the best trained in the world.”

In May, the company was awarded an Air Force contract valued at approximately $15.5 million. The five-month contract is for a program to provide support for 16 Operational Flight Trainers and 14 Avionics Part Task Trainers located at Randolph, Laughlin, Vance, and Columbus Air Force Bases and the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.

“Aero Simulation’s decision to invest and expand in Hillsborough County is a statement of confidence in our community, and a strong indicator of our economic vitality and momentum,” said Lesley Miller Jr., chair of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.

ASI has set its sights on the large number of veterans who call Tampa home, saidColleen Chappell, Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. chair and CEO of ChappellRoberts. “With more than 90,000 veterans living in the area, Tampa and Hillsborough County offer aviation, defense, and security industry employers like ASI a rich pool of talent equipped with the skills and clearances they require,” Chappell said.

ASI’s plans were announced in conjunction with the latest Florida employment statistics from the state and federal government.