Boeing Co. opens interiors center

IRC tour
Kevin Hennick, operations manager, gives Joseph R. Pye Elementary students a tour of the Interiors Responsibility Center. (Photo/Leslie Burden)
By Matt Tomsic
mtomsic@scbiznews.com
Published Dec. 1, 2011

The Boeing Co. employees greeted speakers with roaring thundersticks while the company celebrated the opening of its Interiors Responsibility Center in Ladson.

“Maybe the thundersticks weren’t such a good idea,” said Lane Ballard, director of Interiors Responsibility Center S.C., as he began his remarks.

Kevin Kelleher
Kevin Kelleher, process engineer, demonstrates the multi-opening press at the Interiors Responsibility Center. (Photo/Leslie Burden)
The opening held the same themes as Boeing’s other openings this year — a year ago, this land was undeveloped; the project was finished on schedule and under budget; hundreds of thousands of hours worked without an accident — at the company’s delivery center and final assembly plant.

“Today is not a destination,” said Ross Bogue, vice president and general manager of Boeing Fabrication for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Today is a waypoint to fly over.”

Bogue said the Interiors Responsibility Center will serve the customers’ customers.

“When we all fly, what’s the one thing you really connect with,” he said. “It’s the interior.”

The Interiors Responsibility Center employs roughly 150 people, who were hired from a pool of 50,000 applicants, Ballard said.

At the center, they will manufacture and assemble the 787 Dreamliner’s interiors, including stow bins, closets, partitions, overhead flight crew rests and video control stations. After manufacturing the interiors, the employees install them onto the Dreamliners.

The center will deliver interiors for three 787s each month to match the final assembly facility’s delivery rate.

Production begins during the first quarter of 2012, and the first delivery is expected in the second quarter of 2012.

State Sen. Glenn McConnell said South Carolina has a history of craftsmanship. Boeing and its operations mark the next step into aerospace of that history.

Company officials didn’t snip any ribbon today to mark the completion of Boeing’s last major unveiling. This year, the company opened the final assembly plant and delivery center, among other facilities.

Jack Jones, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, said the company still has a few minor ribbon cuttings.

“Now, it is really about producing the product,” he said. “The next events are going to be about the product.”

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