Mitchell:The man behind the scenes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vector Aerospace maintenance director Billy Mitchell said the his job is a “very good one.” | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News

Vector Aerospace will need 100-125 highly skilled employees once its expansion is completed, and each of those new hires will come to know Billy Mitchell of Andalusia very well.

Mitchell, a five-and-a-half year Vector employee, works as the director of maintenance. In layman’s terms, he “runs the entire facility,” he said.

“All the helicopters come through me,” he said. “It’s a very good job.”

It’s also a job the Elba native never thought he’d find locally.

“My dad worked at the (avionics) place in Troy,” he said. “When I found out what they had here, I knew I had to apply.”

Mitchell said he’s looking forward to the staff expansion, as well as the physical expansion of the company’s building.

“They’ll be some growing pains at first, but then, it’ll be all good,” he said.

Mitchell said “some of all kinds” employees would be needed to fill the new positions.

“We’ll need structure mechanics, aviation mechanics and we even do some avionics here,” he said. “The helicopters fly in and they fly out. That means we need to have the people to get those aircraft to 100 percent.”

Pay is competitive for the new Vector employees, he said.

“Straight out of college, no experience, and we’re starting them out at $18 an hour,” he said. “Top out is $30 per hour. For around here, that’s good money.”

Local high school juniors and seniors have a unique opportunity to train for these specific jobs at the South Alabama Regional Airport, which is home to a satellite branch of the Enterprise-Ozark Community College’s aviation program.

The EOCC Aviation Campus Ozark offers three programs of study: airframe technology, powerplant technology and avionics technology – all areas of concentration that would qualify graduates for employment at Vector Aerospace.