Jennifer Ogle, Director of Human Resources for Airbus Americas Mobile, AL, assembly line, recently agreed to give readers a peek into what to expect from their rapidly growing Brookley factory as we move into 2014.
Q: What is the calendar to unroll hire dates for professions in Q1 and Q2 of 2014?
Ogle: We will be posting some engineering and IT positions in the first quarter. There is already a collection of quality positions posted now. Come spring, we will begin posting assembly line technician jobs. Collectively, we are looking to add technical, IT, manufacturing and assembly line positions for the first half of this year.
Q: Is it possible to anticipate employment capacity for Airbus by December of 2014?
Ogle: It is hard to predict how many people will be employed on site by the end of this year. It’s a rolling process and difficult to estimate. The first wave of new hires went through training last October in Germany and France. In general, however, we are rapidly ramping up recruiting and anticipate hundreds of people going through training in waves over the year based on need.
Q: Will AIDT continue to be the only recruitment partner for Airbus moving forward in 2014?
Ogle: AIDT is supporting Airbus as our sole recruiting partner. With their extensive experience and deep knowledge of the community, AIDT has proven invaluable in the process of locating the best people to work for Airbus, and we anticipate that will continue.
Q: How is the relationship with USA’s College of Engineering & the Brookley Aeroplex, Alabama Community College System progressing? What is the current profile of candidates being hired?
Ogle: We have already hired one graduate of the USA engineering program (in our initial group of Manufacturing Engineers) and we expect we will see many more viable candidates from these programs as the number of technical positions available grow.
The profile of many candidates interviewed and hired so far has been seasoned aviation, military aviation and commercial aviation. However this does not preclude us from hiring people from any industry. Obviously, the objective is to find the best fit for the position.
Q: With your first year on the job fast approaching, how has the experience been so far?
Ogle: Nearing a year on the job, it has been a fantastic experience so far. It’s been particularly gratifying to see how supportive our area has been, and continues to be, of Airbus. As a company, Airbus feels very much at home in Mobile. It’s also been wonderful to see the enthusiastic response to our job postings – there are so many qualified people in the region who want to work for Airbus. I look forward to meeting each new employee as our team here grows in the coming months and years.
Editor’s note: Just prior to deadline Airbus announced its second wave of hiring is beginning.
Commercial real estate moves
M&W and Associates, Inc., a full service engineering and construction company serving the Gulf Coast area, purchased four metal buildings situated on 16.87 acres of land in Lucedale, Miss. Richard Mann of Prudential Cooper & Company Inc. Commercial Division handled the transaction.
A local investor has purchased a 6,591-square-foot retail building at 1283 Azalea Road for $272,500. David Cooper of Prudential Cooper and Co., Inc. Commercial Division represented the Seller. Pratt Thomas of Merrill Thomas & Company worked for the Buyer.
CJ Hester Inc., an insurance claim and risk management services company, leased a 1,125-square-foot office space at 4088 Government Blvd. Tony Cooper, realtor at Prudential Cooper & Co. Inc., Commercial Division handled the transaction.
Sayonara Samurai J; Serda discusses other troubling issues
Samurai J in LoDa closed its doors for the last time on Saturday, Jan. 18. An interview with owner, Tuvan Helvacioglu, revealed that the primary reason for closing was rising food costs and slowing sales that overwhelmed profit margin for the seven-year-old restaurant. “We sold 50 percent less in 2012 & 2013 vs. business in 2007 & 2008 when we first opened,” Helvacioglu said.
When asked as to whether or not he felt the city had helped and/or hindered his success, Helvacioglu had no complaints. “I hired an architect to help avoid any city ordinance hassles and it was money well spent,” he said. One suggestion made was that downtown was in dire need of a major centralized shopping center to attract more business to the area. “There’s nothing to do to keep people downtown compared to other cities of similar size. We could also use a bowling alley or major theatre in this area,” Helvacioglu said.
Per local business owner John Serda, however, there are two specific issues he dealt with when initially opening his well-known coffee house downtown that still resonate today.
“I had two incidents opening Serda’s Coffee that I thought were ridiculous. First was an inspection on a wall built (the wall that our menu hangs on). The contractor built the frame and said I had to get it inspected before he could cover it with sheetrock. I called the city for a framing inspection. Keep in mind; you have to pay a fee for each inspection. After paying the fee, the framing inspector came and told me I needed to get an electrical inspection first. I then called the city again to get the electrical inspection. He came and said I needed a framing inspection first. Obviously, I told him that the framing inspector said electrical needed to sign off first. This Ping-Pong morass went on for almost two weeks. I tried getting both of them there at the same time but they wouldn’t do it. Finally, I figured out a creative way to get the issue resolved, but with absolutely no help from either department … or city for that matter,” Serda said.
“Another big problem that downtown businesses like mine have to deal with is parking. The ‘parking diplomats’ — as they are called — are run by Central Parking. These diplomats ticket people on every street unless they park in their proprietary parking lots. They own over 20 spots downtown. I have had about 10 people tell me recently they will never come back to downtown again because of this headache. I go to Fairhope all the time and never have a problem with parking; there are no meters. Mobile definitely needs to look into fixing this issue,” Serda said.
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