ENID, Okla. —
Mickey and Kay Stowers have a problem.
For business owners, it is a good problem to have. Their business is so good, they need more employees.
“We’ve really been expanding here the last several years,” Mickey Stowers said. “Everybody else has been going backwards and we’re going forwards. We could grow faster ...”
“We just can’t get employees,” said Kay Stowers, finishing her husband’s sentence.
‘We need people’
The Stowers are co-owners of Aircraft Structures International Corp., located at Enid Woodring Regional Airport. The firm’s primary mission is rebuilding and repairing the Cessna 208 Caravan, a single-engine turboprop that is a true aviation workhorse, used by international cargo carriers like FedEx as well as many foreign airlines. Unlike other aircraft, the Caravan was not impacted by the Great Recession.
“They kept producing that airplane when they cut production on all the rest,” Mickey said.
Currently the company has 33 employees but could use more.
“We have to turn work away,” Mickey said. “We could use another 40 people right now.”
“It’s very, very hard to get good employees,” said Kay. “We need people.”
The Stowers’ have even resorted to taking mechanically inclined people with no aircraft maintenance experience and training them.
Even the numerous layoffs in the aircraft industry in Wichita in recent years didn’t lead to more employees at ASIC.
To attract qualified applicants, the Stowers plan to buy some rental property, either single-family homes or apartments, that they could then house their workers. They plan to offer their employees three months free rent, half-rent for the next three months then six months at full rent, during which time the employee would have to obtain other housing, “So we can keep using it for new employees,” Kay said. “We have such a shortage of housing. You can’t expect people to come here and not have a place to live.”