Cessna Does Sales Job On Service Center Workers

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Cessna is mounting an airlift between Long Beach, Calif., and Phoenix this month trying to convince workers and their families to move with the company to Arizona. Cessna is moving its Long Beach business jet service center to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and, as you might expect, it's hoping the 80 mechanics and support staff that run the existing operation will go along. Cessna needs to expand and Long Beach Airport is out of room so the move is necessary from a business standpoint but the company has apparently recognized that convincing the employees and their families to leave the gentle ocean breezes of Long Beach for blistering Phoenix (but it's a dry heat) will take more than just covering moving expenses. "We want the children, the wives, everybody involved," Cessna exec Joel Davis (who lives in Wichita and might be able to remain objective) told the Arizona Republic. "This is a major change in their lives. There is an ocean where they're living now, and we want it to be a family decision to come over here." For those not torn between the beach and a back yard made of sand and who just want to get their airplanes fixed, the Arizona move promises some advantages. The new Cessna facility will be double the size of the Long Beach center and will be able to keep pace with Cessna's record sales of bizjets. Cessna says that even if all the staff from Long Beach make the move they'll still need more people to meet the demand. The new service center is expected to be finished by the end of the year and by that time every one of the families affected will have spent three days in Phoenix getting acquainted with the amenities there with help from volunteers at the local chamber of commerce.