Boeing selects S.C. businesses for mentoring program

By Ashley Fletcher Frampton
aframpton@scbiznews.com
Published March 10, 2011

The Boeing Co. has chosen three S.C. businesses for a mentoring program that it uses to develop potential suppliers.

The program, which the aircraft manufacturer uses across its operations, is also meant to encourage small and diverse businesses to expand their reach and do business globally, spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said.

S.C. firms selected are Greenville-based ADEX Machining Technologies., Hartsville-based JBE Inc. and Cowpens-based J.I.T. Manufacturing Inc.

787 AP1 Taxi TestOfficials with ADEX said that through the program, Boeing will provide technical, quality and supplier-management support to help ADEX grow its opportunities for potential work as a supplier for Boeing’s final assembly facility in North Charleston and its operations elsewhere.

ADEX makes precision machined components for the aerospace, defense and energy industries.

“We’re honored to be chosen as a protégé for The Boeing Co. in South Carolina,” Jason Premo, co-owner of ADEX Machining Technologies, said in a statement. “This partnership will build on ADEX’s existing commitment to Lean Manufacturing and AS9100 Quality Systems and incorporate further best practices from Boeing to help us become an even stronger aerospace supplier.”

Eslinger said Boeing selects firms for the mentoring program based on their potential to develop technology, their business capabilities and the quality of products. To be eligible, businesses must have an AS 9100 certification, a standard of quality for the aerospace industry.

The mentoring program focuses on small and diverse businesses, including businesses owned by women, Native Americans, minorities and service-disabled veterans, as well as those located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones, she said.

The company has limited its program to three businesses in South Carolina at this time because those involved receive intensive and individualized attention, she said. Businesses usually remain in the program between one and three years.

Tim Whitaker, operations manager for sheet metal fabricator J.I.T. Manufacturing Inc, said the company recently became certified for the aerospace industry in anticipation of seeking work with Boeing.

Whitaker said the mentoring program does not guarantee that J.I.T. will end up as a Boeing supplier. It could lead instead to opportunities to work with other Boeing suppliers, he said. But in any case, the partnership will likely lead to growth for J.I.T.

“We look forward to the opportunity to become a supplier, to whoever it may be in the aerospace industry,” Whitaker said.

Officials with JBE Inc., which provides complex sub-assemblies and final assembly manufacturing and global supply chain management solutions, said the program will help with its diversification and growth.

Boeing will provide advanced technological, managerial and industry-segment mentoring and skills augmentation, officials with JBE Inc. said.

“We are proud that Boeing selected South Carolina as home to their expansion,” Jerry Ellison, president, said in a statement. “We are also thrilled to have a leader, such as Boeing, choose JBE for the mentoring program.”

Reach Ashley Fletcher Frampton at 843-849-3129.

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