Dothan, AL - A FLorida aviation company is expanding to Dothan, bringing hundreds of jobs with it.
"Woo hoo!" said Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz Friday morning at the Dothan Opera House.
Schmitz isn't alone in his excitement. State and local leaders have been working hard to recruit the Miami-based aviation company, Commercial Jet.
"It's a big day for Dothan. It's a big day for Houston County, and it's a big day for the State of Alabama," said Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard.
The aircraft repair and maintenance company will move in to the former Pemco facility at the Dothan Regional Airport.
"Today is really a historic moment for our company. Allowing us to have growth in this exciting market place and to tap into an available workforce," said Commercial Jet President David Sandri.
The company will create 500 new jobs over the next three years, and 1,500 additional jobs are also expected to be created throughout the community.
"I'm so proud for the people of Dothan and the Wiregrass. 500 new jobs that pay $20-21 an hour, and that is significant," said Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.
"When you take a $25-30 million payroll and you multiply that, they're buying houses. They're buying clothes. The greatest thing is we had a lot of qualified workers who had to leave, they'll be able to come home," said Schmitz.
The economic impact doesn't stop there.
After 10 years of operation, Commercial Jet will have paid about $23 million in sales and property taxes.
"This is just the beginning. Our airport is one of our greatest assets we have and we believe we are going to grow it dramatically," said Schmitz.
With Commercial Jet moving in, leaders hope that will be the nudge it takes to convince two other interested companies to also call the Dothan Airport Home.
This deal almost didn't happen. The company was second-guessing its move to Dothan after the airport's tower was set to close. However, Dothan leaders made the commitment to keep that tower open. Airport officials are still trying to nail down how much that will cost.