acknowledges with a little bit of a sheepish
laugh, “I like Maine. I like snow. Part of the
decision was just ‘Where do I want to be?’”
Equally important, however, was the
economic assistance that Maine was will-
ing to provide to the company–assistance
that was critical because the 2008 finan-
cial crisis made capital investment even
harder to obtain.
“The base had just closed,” Alan
explains, “which was, obviously, a huge
economic dislocation for the coast of
Maine.” So locating Kestrel and its 300
to 600 new jobs at Brunswick could be a
win-win for everyone.
Unfortunately, the various entities in
Maine responsible for funneling the assistance to Kestrel have not delivered on what
Alan says the company was promised. So
to make a long story of financial dealings
short, Kestrel is looking for another
potential home for at least part of its manufacturing operation.
“We’ve told Maine, if you can get it done,
we’re here,” Alan says. “But if you can’t get it
done, we’re not going to sit here and go out
of business saying, ‘Oh, gee, darn, wouldn’t it
have been nice.’ So we’re now talking to half
a dozen communities.” All of which, it
should be noted, receive prodigious amounts
of snow each winter. “Any place that borders
Canada, we can probably agree to pretty easily,” Alan says with a grin.
In truth, he’s only half-joking. “It
works out well that I like cold, out of the
way, relatively unsophisticated places,” he
says–because those places are often in
the greatest need of jobs, a tax base, and
No matter where the Kestrels are built
(Alan says the planes are about three years
from production), Kestrel will keep at least
an engineering office in Brunswick. It will
also base a subsidiary business there, retrofitting Piper Meridians with new glass
panels and other features that may also end
up in production Kestrels.
Of course, unexpected difficulties are
part of the challenge of charging forward
into new terrain, or moving to a new place. A
new venture, or adventure, is never as easy
as just staying where you are. But I think
Alan and I both understood that when each
of us, for different reasons, began looking at
New England as a potential new home.
Lane Wallace, EAA 650945, has been an aviation
columnist, editor, and author for more than 20 years.
More of her writing can be found at her blog,
www.NoMap-NoGuide-NoLimits.com, and at
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