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TGH Aviation expansion takes wing

Business
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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An aircraft instrument repair company is putting Auburn’s face on the map all over the world. Among TGH Aviation’s clients are NATO and the U.S. military, with repaired tachometers and fuel-flow transmitters destined for aircraft located in countries from South Korea to Afghanistan and Iraq. The downdraft of a slow economy hasn’t slowed momentum. A remodel in the spring transformed an old hangar, adding 5,000 square feet of office and laboratory space. President Richard Anderson said the success starts with the employees, many of them hired locally. “The most valuable asset is the staff,” Anderson said. “Hire good employees, train them well and give them a good place to work.” Sales top $6 million The staff now numbers 35 — 17 hired within the last three years. Sales will top $6 million this year, Anderson said. An enhanced emphasis on customer service has reaped dividends, too. “We’re spending more time with customers and making more phone calls,” said Steve Williams, vice president of sales and marketing. The expansion includes a new magneto lab — for repairing aircraft ignition systems. There’s also a state-of-the-art clean room for the quality control department and more space for the repair department. The company spent about two years developing the magneto repair station, according to Allyson Finn, sales and marketing administrator. “The magneto repair station was a logical expansion of what we were doing in the past,” Anderson said. A library and row of metal cabinets hold more than 20,000 technical manuals — an investment of about $2 million. The company has to have an up-to-date manual for every piece of equipment it works on, Anderson explained. The FAA-approved repair facility’s growing presence at trade shows and on the Web are also key to its continued success, Williams said. Recently, TGH signed a $6 million contract with the U.S. Air Force to maintain fuel-flow transmitters on T-38 training aircraft, Anderson said. That’s in addition to an exclusive contract to distribute aviation tachometers manufactured by Superior Labs, Inc. of Hot Springs, Ark. The contract expands TGH’s product line, Finn said. TGH also produces almost all the aviation grade hand-held GPS systems to the military, Anderson said. In the repair shop, a variety of instruments and gauges line the shelves. They’re from an assortment of aircraft, among them Blackhawk helicopters and NATO’s C-130 Hercules. Often, the repair work involves testing and replacing computer chips. But for items such as gyroscopes, it can be an intensive and precise balancing act. Anderson, who started as a field service engineer for Boeing 747s, designed much of the lab’s testing equipment. TGH Aviation, formerly known as The Gyro House, is the longest-residing company at the Auburn Airport, Anderson said. Founder Emery Oxley started the company in 1957 in San Bernardino and moved to Auburn in 1972. That original building is still in use. It’s now TGH’s retail store. Retail store With doors fronting the tarmac, the store is stocked with aircraft maintenance supplies, aviation maps and gift items. There’s also a pilot’s lounge, offering a space to relax along with Internet access for flight planning and weather reports. The company relishes its growing stature in international aviation, but still takes time to focus on the hometown. For example, this month they’re collecting gifts for Toys for Tots, Finn said. Gloria Young can be reached at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com. ------------------------------ TGH aviation Where: Repair facility is at 2389 Rickenbacker Way, Auburn Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday Phone: (530) 823-6204 Fax: (530) 823-5875 On the Web: tghaviation.com