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Finding employees will be key, CEO says

John P. Zoltak, founder and CEO of Support Systems Associates, Inc. which is launching Support Systems Andalusia Alabama (SSAA) at the South Alabama Regional Airport has one concern.

He’s worried about being able to find enough employees with the necessary certifications to work in the newborn company he’s looking forward to nurturing to adulthood.

SSAA is designed to do maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) on C-130 aircraft.

The new general manager of SSAA, John Herman, said the type work to be done here will require employees certified in airframe and powerplant certification; airframe certification; sheet metal/machinists and electrical/avionics specialists.

It’s the same certification needed to work across the way at Vector Aerospace, where the focus is on rotary wing aircraft, or helicopters. At present, Vector employs approximately 100 and is finalizing expansion plans that will create an additional 100 jobs over the next two years.

Training for these certifications is available through the state’s two-year college system, specifically Enterprise State Community College’s Ozark-based aviation school, which operates a campus in Andalusia. Both high school and adult students can begin earning aviation credits in the school’s classroom at the South Alabama Regional Airport.

Zoltak envisions the new company as one that nurtures young families. Toward that end, he wants to hire local residents. He sees getting people trained as the company’s largest obstacle.

“We need help from all of you,” he told a crowd of about 100 gathered for a reception Thursday afternoon.

Toward that end, he’s hired a “young goodwill ambassador” whose job it is to visit local “bars, pool halls and churches” and spread the word about opportunities with the company, he said.