“They are the heart of the museum,” said Executive Director Dave Shiffer. “It is only with the hard work and dedication of our volunteers that we stand here today.” There are those who travel from Indiana, Florida, Missouri and California just to spend a few hours working on this project.
The words from the late William E. Boeing can certainly resonate with the volunteers of the Champaign Aviation Museum. They simply refuse to believe that “it can’t be done.” The project has been ongoing since late 2005.
The Flying Fortress project is comprised of five B-17 aircraft built during the 1940s. Only a portion of each of these aircraft will be used on the finished model due to stress, cracks and corrosion damage. The majority of the aircraft will be comprised of all new material. It could be said that this B-17 Flying Fortress will be the newest model around.
Visitors to the museum have prime access to the museum’s attractions. There are no ropes between tourists and the homemade displays, exhibits or the aircraft that is being fabricated in the hangar. Visitors are permitted to tour the fabrication area and the volunteers welcome their questions. Many World War II-era aircraft are static and others have been known to stretch their wings on a sunny day.
The Champaign Aviation Museum does not charge for admission but gladly accepts donations. The visitors come from many locations around the world including England, Holland, Canada and Mexico.
The Champaign Aviation Museum is non-profit 501(c)3 continuing to raise funds through generous donations.
For more information about donating to the museum, please direct emails to www.ChampaignAviationMuseum.org.
Manairco Inc. (Manairco) and Hughey and Phillips LLC (H&P) announced that the companies entered into a definitive merger agreement under which H&P will acquire substantially all the assets of Manairco. Manairco is a well-established sales and manufacturing company with a reputation for excellence in the manufacture and design of airfield lighting systems and accessories. The company has a broad installed base throughout North America and across the globe. Manairco is an industry leader in both product quality and customer service.
Upon the closing of the merger transaction, Manairco’s product and service offerings will be added to the Hughey and Phillips product offerings and sold through the combined global sales force. Manairco’s existing operations and customer service will be maintained at its current manufacturing facility in Mansfield.
“Manairco has built exceptional relationships across the airfield lighting industry over the years with its broad product offerings and commitment to meeting the needs of its customers,” said Gayle Gorman-Green, president and CEO of Manairco. “We believe this merger represents an opportunity to combine the technical and customer service of the companies across a broader spectrum of customers and geographies. I look forward to continuing to lead the Manairco team at this exciting time.”
“We at Hughey and Phillips are delighted about this opportunity to work closely with Manairco’s strong team and its existing customers to bring customized solutions to the airfield lighting industry,” said Steve Schneider, president and CEO of Hughey and Phillips. “This partnership allows Hughey and Phillips to continue its expansion into the airfield lighting market by offering a combination of lighting and marking products as well as power management solutions for airports and heliports both large and small.”
About Hughey and Phillips LLC
Hughey and Phillips is one member of a conglomerate of companies serving the aviation, transportation, security and medical markets from its headquarters in Urbana, Ohio. H&P is a global leader in obstruction and airport products and has been serving the safety needs of the transportation industry since the 1930’s. H&P offers complete solutions for lighting systems designed and manufactured by H&P in the USA including strobe and LED offerings. The company has a full engineering staff providing complete support and design in optical, electrical and mechanical disciplines. Contact Hughey and Phillips at www.hugheyandphillips.com.
About Manairco Inc.
Manairco, a woman owned small business concern, has served the airport/heliport lighting market with quality, economical lighting equipment since 1955. Manairco offers a broad range of lighting and marking products as well as power management solutions for a variety of aviation applications. Contact Manairco at www.manairco.com.
Submitted by Hughey and Phillips, LLC.
“The B-17 is obviously one of the most iconic World War II aircraft that there (is),” Champaign Aviation Museum Executive Director Dave Shiffer said.
The museum would like to double its current space. That expansion would cost $2.3 million. The museum has been talking about expansion for the past year and a half, Shiffer said.
“People want to donate aircraft to the museum, and it’s because we are a flying museum they want to see the aircraft that they know and love to continue to fly,” he said.
The project’s need became more evident in the spring, when two donors wanted to give planes to the museum, but space was an issue. The extra space of an expansion would allow the museum to work on more projects.
“We are looking for private donations. We are asking people for money. We are applying for grants,” Shiffer said.
That money will be used to expand the existing hangar. When restoration is completed on the current B-17 project, space will be needed to maintain it and other World War II aircraft. The added space will allow the aircraft to be displayed and protected. That will cost $1.4 million.
The funds will also be used for an educational space, which will teach the public about history, including the people who served and the planes that flew. That extra space will cost $400,000, and an endowment of $500,000 is part of the plan.
Most volunteers who work in the museum have some connection to World War II, including many through fathers or uncles. One volunteer, Mike Pfarr, fits that profile. His father was an airman in World War II.
“My father was a B-17 tail gunner in World War II,” Pfarr said.
Pfarr’s father was stationed in Lavenham, England, was a member of the 487th Bomb Crew and flew 28 missions.
“I couldn’t get a lot of information from my dad,” he said. “So, whenever I could, it was golden. I held it in my heart and now I am doing this as a memory to my father.”
He heard more stories when his family had to take his father to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dayton in the 1960s. He still had metal fragments, called flak, in his body.
“I feel like I’m closer to my dad, and I really believe that he knows what is going on here. I feel that strongly,” Pfarr said.
The new facility is planned to be operational by 2020.
If you would like to donate to the campaign, contact the Champaign Aviation Museum at 937-652-4710.
Demolition and cleanup of the former Q3/JMC Inc. manufacturing site in Urbana is ready to begin – a key step toward preparing the abandoned property for new industrial development and job creation.
Urbana Director of Administration Kerry Brugger announced at Tuesday’s Urbana City Council meeting that an agreement has been finalized between the city of Urbana and Urbana-based developer True Inspection Services (TIS), which will direct redevelopment work of the 20-acre site at 605 Miami St. and 200 Beech St. The property, zoned for manufacturing, has been vacant since Q3/JMC ceased operations in 2008.
TIS has been awarded a JobsOhio Redevelopment Pilot Program reimbursable grant of $883,947 to help cover the cost of the two-year project, which will involve demolition, environmental remediation, asbestos abatement, removal and disposal of waste, and site preparation.
The city gained title to the abandoned property in May and is providing $348,435 in matching funds. TIS is contributing $116,145.
Through a separate agreement with the city, Honeywell International Inc. is responsible for cleaning up groundwater contamination in an approximately four-acre section on the west side of the property, which had been used by Grimes Aerospace’s Plastic Research Products business. Honeywell became liable for the cleanup, having acquired Grimes Aerospace.
Brugger said that the Honeywell cleanup is targeted to begin in October. Barry Couts, TIS founder and owner, said his company will soon begin advertising for bids for demolition and cleanup of the site.
Once cleanup is completed and meets Ohio Environmental Protection Agency VAP cleanup requirements, title to the property will transfer from the city to TIS, Brugger said. TIS will prepare the site for development by a new owner.
The Champaign Economic Partnership will work with TIS to market the property for reuse, Marcia Bailey, CEP director, said. “Having a 20-acre greenfield in Urbana that is zoned M-1, for industrial use, will be extremely advantageous for economic growth and job creation in our county.” She added that the CEP will use its established network of local, regional and state contacts to market the property to businesses seeking space to expand or establish operations.
Bringing the project to this point has required cooperation of many parties, Bailey said. These include the city, Honeywell, JobsOhio, the Dayton Development Coalition (DDC), TIS, the CEP and the Champaign County Board of Revision, which earlier this year approved transferring the property from the county to the city and directed the county auditor to cancel delinquent taxes on the property.
Bailey assisted with the private development agreement between the city and TIS. And last year on behalf of TIS, she wrote an application for the JobsOhio Site Redevelopment Pilot Program grant.
JobsOhio was encouraged by the number of community partners involved. “We want to see partners at the table,” said Kristi Clouse, executive director of operations for JobsOhio. “The community has to work together to help us market the site” to attract business development.
Using revitalization funds, JobsOhio created the Site Redevelopment Pilot Program to return properties in need of remediation to the commercial development market – and to help make up for a deficit of commercial properties ready for development and business expansion since recovery from the recession.
“Ohio didn’t have all the inventory we needed to attract job-creating companies,” she said. “Champaign County didn’t have available inventory for business development and was missing out on job-creation opportunities. And there was this site, right in Urbana, on U.S. 36, already with utilities on site. It has a lot of good attributes to it.
“We had multiple discussions with the city,” Clouse added. “The city has played a key part in the grant. This project has been a lot for the city to take on and not all cities would do this. But they recognized how important this site is for their community. They really stepped up to the plate.”
Sarah Custer, project manager at the Dayton Development Coalition, said, “Older industrial sites can present significant redevelopment challenges for communities, since they often need extensive remediation. JobsOhio’s Redevelopment Pilot Program will provide vital resources for the Q3/JMC property, allowing the community to plan for the site’s reuse and attract new users to bring new jobs and investment to the heart of Champaign County.”
“As a developer,” Barry Couts of TIS said, “you look at the end result of a development. This project will help add jobs. I want to bring development to the county and jobs to the community.”
A native of Urbana, Couts said, “I remember when this property was booming as Johnson Manufacturing. That’s another reason I want to see it developed. There’s a lot of history in it.”
Couts founded True Inspection Services in Springfield in 2007 and two years ago relocated to Urbana after redeveloping the vacant former Buckles Motors property at 871 S. Main St., Urbana, where TIS now operates.
Manufacturing firms in Champaign County have added jobs and had a greater economic impact as the economy has begun to recover, local officials said Tuesday.
Both private and government officials have worked more closely together in recent years, and are working together to address issues like workforce development, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for the Champaign Economic Partnership.
Representatives from several area manufacturing firms met Tuesday morning as part of a manufacturer’s council in which local companies gather with education and government officials and discuss ways to address workforce issues.
Some signs indicate those efforts are already paying off, Bailey said. Information provided by the Dayton Development Coalition shows the industry provided jobs for about 2,900 workers in 2013, and that has grown to about 3,800 jobs this year.
Several manufacturers have worked together to attract younger workers, Bailey said, including hosting displays and a booth at the Champaign County Fair. Drawing younger workers is important because much of the current workforce is aging and there are now too few people in the pipeline to replace them.
“It’s going to take a lot to turn it around,” Bailey said.
The council also recently hosted a manufacturing day, offering tours at Honeywell sites to area high school students. Bailey also pointed to a new program developed by Trial Local Schools and the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center that started this year to teach manufacturing skills to students in the district as early as middle school.
Making sure there are students interested in the field will be critical to fill vacant jobs as manufacturing becomes more advanced, she said.
The industry accounted for $319 million, or about 33 percent of Champaign County’s gross regional product in 2013. That figure represents the goods and services produced in the county. By last year, manufacturing’s impact had risen to $399 million, or 36 percent of the gross regional product.
In the past, the city of Urbana had provided much of the funding for economic development in the county. But several companies and government agencies recently formed the CEP, which includes funding from both private and government entities. That should benefit manufacturing firms because it will provide more resources and coordination for economic development, said Todd Michael, president of the Champaign Economic Partnership.
“It’s a whole different attitude than we’ve had in the past,” Michael said.
Bailey also recognized three local companies that have a long history of providing jobs in the county.
Ultra-Met, which makes parts for the aerospace, defense and biomedical industries, has its 50th anniversary this year. Johnson Welded Products in Urbana, which makes parts for the heavy truck industry, has been there for 35 years. KTH Parts Industries Inc., in St. Paris, will mark 30 years as a parts supplier for Honda.