09/26/12 — N.C. Manufacturing leading way in aerospace machining

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N.C. Manufacturing leading way in aerospace machining

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 26, 2012 1:46 PM

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Machinist Jason Bailey, center, goes over machine specifics with Ray Mayo, president of N.C. Manufacturing, right, as Steve Mayo, left, listens.

North Carolina Manufacturing has become one of the first machine shops in the state to earn an AS9100 Revision C certification -- a quality management standard to meet the demands of the defense and commercial aerospace industry.

The certification was announced during a ceremony at the company's headquarters in Industry Court on Sept. 19.

"This is has been a two-year process for North Carolina Manufacturing to become AS9100 certified," said Ray Mayo, founder and president. "What it does is put us into a worldwide quality setup that we are recognized all over the world. We had a lot help from the county, the Economic Development Alliance, the Eastern Region, in getting this day possible.

"Being in business for 33 years, this is one of the main highlights of our career in the machining industry. I certainly appreciate everyone in Wayne County and the state who have helped us to this point. We need to move forward and create job and this is part of it."

The certification means that the material in the company's finished products can be tracked all the way back to the steel mill no matter if it is in China, Indonesia, or wherever, said Mayo, Wayne County District 1 commissioner.

"Plus, the internal inspections that we do, each dimension that we check is recorded and all of that is filed," he said. "If there a problem at all with quality, then we can pull it out and say, 'Here's what we had.'

"What it does, it gives the customer much better quality. A lot of our customers we do business with, we are called certified vendors -- when they get their parts from us, they don't check them because we are AS9100. They send them straight to the assembly line."

The certification will open new business opportunities for the company, Mayo said.

"We are in position now that we can do parts that actually go inside an aircraft engine," he said. "Before AS9100 we couldn't. Right now we are the only one in the county that is to AS9100 Revision C. Everybody has to be to revision C by the end of this year. We are the first for the county."

During the ceremony, Mayo said the work being done through the Eastern Region and job training through Wayne Community College would result in more jobs in the area, particularly in aerospace.

"We need to have people trained," he said. "Wayne Community College and the machine shop is a vital part of training a workforce that can take these jobs when they come into this county."

Mayo spoke of his love of teaching and apprenticeship, something that has been part of his business since its beginning. Lula Powell, apprenticeship consultant with the state Department of Labor, praised Mayo for his commitment to the program.

She also presented company employee Jason Bailey with his journeyman papers for having completed his apprenticeship with the company. Mayo encouraged other companies to become involved in the program.

Mike Haney, vice president and existing industry specialist with the Wayne County Economic Development Alliance, said he had seen the company grow, and had learned the importance of machine shops to industry in general.

"I have also seen North Carolina Manufacturing's business model, their employees -- they grow their own through an apprenticeship program and the training," he said. "I have also seen them reinvest their profits in new equipment.

"It is not cheap equipment, but it gives them great gratification. They know that by doing so this is going to reap benefits and rewards down the pike. That is one of the reasons we are here -- they have the capacity and capabilities to pretty much tackle a lot of the industry's needs."

That is particularly important where the aerospace industry is concerned, he said.

"They have the latest revision, and as far as I know, there were only two of them in the state when they received it," he said. "That has put them ahead of the game."

John Chaffee, president and CEO of North Carolina's Eastern Region, spoke to the importance of the certification to the region.

"It is an arduous task," Chaffee said. "It is detail oriented. It consumes a lot of paperwork. It takes a lot of time on the part of the staff who think, 'Um, would I rather have them being productive over here making parts and other things, or something that is long term?'

"Every now and then you have to do something that really represents a long-term investment and provides additional opportunities for individuals who work for you as well as for the company. It is important to you as a company, it is important to us as a region."