Getting Back To Basics In Vero Beach
Bass, who replaced the popular Chuck Suma as CEO last fall (there was a bomb scare at the plant on the day of the announcement) said his first priority was to "concentrate on the employees and management." Whatever he did seemed to strike a chord with the workers and last week the National Labor Relations Board accepted a vote to decertify from their union. "We are coming together as one Piper team," the energetic Bass told the news conference. In fact, he repeatedly called the sprawling Vero Beach facilities the "Piper campus" The company is back to full production strength with more than 1,000 employees and sales are up between 25 and 30 percent. As if to hammer the stake through the heart of any remaining doubters Bass added with gusto, "and we're hiring!" A lot of Piper's buildings and infrastructure dated to the 1940s and 1950s and the hurricanes showed no mercy on the elderly structures. Most have been rebuilt or replaced with "hardened" buildings built to withstand future storms. But a few of the older buildings will be demolished to make way for improved ground facilities, like a new ramp. Most importantly, said Bass, production continues at full speed. "There are no restrictions on our capacity to build airplanes," he said.