Boeing looks for employees as it prepares to double labor force, increase business in SA

By Steve Spriester - Anchor

SAN ANTONIO - Boeing is looking to double its San Antonio workforce in the next 18 months to two years. The company could be hiring as many as a thousand new workers at Port San Antonio.

“When you start approaching 100 percent capacity, you need a good planning tool, and that's what this is all about,” said Jay Galloway, Boeing’s San Antonio site leader.

Boeing is trying to figure out where to fit all the aircraft the company will service in San Antonio in the near future.

“Probably the most exciting thing about that going forward is the growth,” Galloway said.

Galloway is overseeing the Boeing expansion, from the little planes to the mammoth C-17s. Soon, Boeing San Antonio will be working on F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets and supertankers, along with commercial aircraft. The company will even play a part in production of the new Air Force One planes.

“We'll almost double the size of our workforce in the next 18 months,” Galloway said.

That's approximately 1,000 new jobs. Looking at the market, Galloway sees Boeing’s San Antonio business booming. He knows the planes will come, but now he needs the people to work on them.

“We are always working on building the talent pipeline. And so when you're talking about hiring or creating that many opportunities for people, you naturally worry, ‘Is there the right folks available?’” Galloway said.

Looking for talent is why Boeing has been investing in science, technology, engineering and math programs in high schools. The company has also been heavily involved with technical schools in South Texas, training the workers of the future.

The new Boeing jobs support the findings of a new study on the economic impact of the aerospace industry.

The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce released the study Thursday. It found San Antonio has a strong workforce, with more than 10,000 aerospace jobs in the city.

The study also found there's a lot of opportunity in the maintenance, repair and overhaul sector, which means companies are searching for new employees.

Researchers said the average salary is nearly $79,000. They say the aerospace industry contributes $3.4 billion annually to the local economy.

The main hangar at Boeing's San Antonio site is currently undergoing a $40 million makeover that, when complete, will free up more space to accommodate booming business.

At 600,000 square feet, the hangar is the largest free standing hangar in the world. 

"There is an enormous market out there," Galloway said. "What we've valued at about $2.7 trillion of market value out there in sustaining aircraft and servicing aircraft, and Boeing Global Services has positioned itself to compete in that market, and that's what makes San Antonio unique and important in that mission."

Galloway said growth could possibly push Boeing to partner with local officials to try and build additional facilities.

"We look at that all the time, and we're already talking about if there's an opportunity, and we obviously think there is, to expand on the Boeing - Port San Antonio footprint, and to enable us to do even more of what we're doing in the near future," Galloway said. 

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