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Vertex will retain Boeing workers

By By Buddy Bynum / editor
July 31, 2003
Boeing employees working at two Navy pilot training bases under a soon-to-expire contract are likely to be hired by Vertex Aerospace when it takes over logistical support services for T-45 jet fighters.
Within the next few weeks, Grafton said Vertex will open offices in Meridian and Kingsville to begin employee processing and other actions required for the transition.
Grafton's firm was awarded a one year, $85.7 million contract on Tuesday to provide logistical support for about 200 of the U.S. Navy's newest training jets at NAS Meridian and Kingsville. With the exercise of four, one-year options the value of the contract could reach $450 million.
Boeing employs about 300 workers at NAS Meridian from mechanics to support staff who work to maintain repair the fleet of T-45's the Navy's primary aircraft to train strike fighter pilots at NAS Meridian and NAS Kingsville. The jet is replacing older T-2's.
U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., said Wednesday he understood that the switch from Boeing to Vertex could cause concern among current Boeing workers.
Pickering said the current Boeing employees have "years of experience providing these services to the Navy and it only makes sense to hire the same solid people to fulfill the new contract."
In October, Vertex will take over a contract that includes maintaining the Navy's fleet of T-45's, parts supply and systems maintenance.
Lamar McDonald, chairman of the Navy Meridian Team, said the Navy decided about a year ago to re-bid the T-45 support contract.