Georgia company buys Opp business

Published 8:52 am Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Georgia aerospace company has purchased the controlling interest in Opp’s Alabama Aerospace Manufacturing as well as its manufacturing site in Opp.

Probate records show Opp Mayor John Bartholomew purchased the property from Johnson Textiles Inc. in 2007 for $350,000, and in turn, sold it and his interest in AAM in June for $835,000 to Georgia Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing.

AAM President Ernie DePrinzio said Friday that the Opp company and the Georgia company were a “natural fit.”

“In Opp, we fabricate detailed parts for aerospace products, predominately helicopters, but some airplanes, as well,” DePrinzio said. “GaADM was a supplier and a customer of ours. What we do and what they do complement each other, and the people in Georgia see a lot of potential in our area.”

According to the company’s website, GaADM is a manufacturer of precision assemblies and components to the aerospace and defense industries by providing machining, assembly, kitting, rubber molding, hydraulic testing and inventory management for our aerospace and defense prime contractors. GaADM has grown from start-up in 2006 to more $5 million in 2010, the website reported, and currently occupies a 30,000 square-foot plant located 30 minutes from the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport. The company is currently operating with several military contracts, including work on components for the V-22 Osprey, the AH-64 Apache and the AR-15 assault rifle.

DePrinzio said AAM currently has one contract with a Tallassee-based aerospace company and does contract work with Sikorsky and several aerospace companies in the Panhandle.

“For the last three to six months, we’ve been working on becoming a direct supplier with Sikorsky so that we can support the Troy location,” DePrinzio said. “We’re also talking with state people to become an Airbus supplier when work starts in Mobile. If we can accomplish those two things, that would be a big boon to Opp. Now, the two companies together can go after one supplier to do more than what we could’ve done individually.”

Currently, there are 11 people employed at AAM, with the hope more will come in the future, DePrinzio said.

“South Alabama is growing in the aerospace business,” he said. “You can see that with Vector and DRS trying to get started at our airport, the new helicopter company in Enterprise and with commercial jets coming into Dothan. With Covington County being centrally located between Dothan and Mobile, we anticipate to see the continued growth.”

Bartholomew, who owned 70 percent of the company, said Friday that being a mayor is a fulltime job.

“My wife and I started (AAM) to create jobs in Opp, high wage jobs in Opp,” he said. “I found a company that can go beyond what we can do in bringing more jobs for the betterment of Opp.

“When I got the mayorship, I knew it was going to be hard to do that and run the company fulltime,” he said after talking of his other business, Bartholomew Properties LLC. “All of it was too much stress to do. Being a mayor is a fulltime job.”

Contracting Services Inc. owns the remaining 30 percent of the company, and the name of the business will remain the same, DePrinzio said.