Officials with Leonardo Helicopters will hold a grand opening Thursday for its 21,000-square-foot maintenance facility in Broussard.
The Italian company’s Gulf of Mexico Support Center, located at 1036 QCP Park Drive just west of U.S. 90, will offer maintenance and training support to rotorcraft clients in the area. The company will employ 15 people and plans to double that total in five years.
“We have focused on the past 5 ½ years I’ve been with the company exclusively on growing a market presence and improving our response times, delivery performance, etc.,” said Leonardo vice president Mike Hotze said, who spent 24 years with Bell Helicopter. “We’re very proud of the team we have put together and the performance we have been able to deliver. We are putting in a significant investments in Louisiana to offer support to our customers in the Gulf of Mexico."
The facility will specialize in blade repair but offer other support services “from tip to tail,” Hotze said, for the more than 110 aircrafts in use in the Gulf of Mexico.
It will be one of three facilities for Leonardo in the United States — others are in Philadelphia and Las Vegas — and will be staffed by technicians, engineers and sales staff, said Troy Penny, general manager for the Broussard facility.
“Troy and I have been colleagues for many years, and we hatched this plan 3 ½ years ago now,” Hotze said. “We decided that Lafayette’s market presence was rather small in North America. Troy presented me with a business (plan). We looked at it and decided this was absolutely the thing to do.”