MANATEE -- As Anish Patel looks ahead as president of Radiant Power, he sees growth, expansion, higher revenues and more hiring.
It's a good scenario for the company that provides sensor and emergency power products to the aerospace industry.
The company is in the midst of a $650,000 expansion, its second in less than a year.
Radiant Power designs and manufactures commercial aviation, military aviation and space power delivery and control products.
The first boost in Radiant's recent growth came in April 2012 when parent company Heico Corp. bought Pennsylvania aviation firm Mortiz Aerospace and moved its operation to Radiant. This month, Heico Corp. announced it also is moving the operations of Dukane Seacom, a top supplier of underwater acoustic locator beacons for the aviation and marine markets, to Radiant. The beacons are required equipment on all Federal Aviation Administration-approved recorders used in aircraft, and on similar systems used on large marine shipping vessels.
When Heico purchased Dukane in 2009, it kept its operations in St. Charles, Ill.
"But because of leadership changes and retirements, it is being integrated into Radiant," Patel said.
He expects the move to Radiant facilities north of the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport will be complete by October after transitioning its product line and receiving FAA approval.
The move will mean expanding by 4,000 square feet during the next six months and adding more positions.
"There are 34 Dukane employees; we've met with each of them and right
now we are evaluating our business needs," Patel said. Some may be relocated, but a decision on how many hasn't yet been made.
Sixteen position in areas including assembly testing, quality assurance and engineering will be added, Patel said. In 2012, the company added 14 positions, part of an expected 26 jobs in the next five years.
The company, which now employs 72, is on track to meet original growth projections, Patel said.
"We are recruiting constantly through agencies like Suncoast Workforce and other placement agencies," he told the Herald Thursday.
Like other manufacturers who need skilled labor, Patel said it is sometimes hard to hire locally.
"It is a challenge to bring in engineers as well as skilled production individuals," he said.
"We hire people who have a good technical background and do our own inhouse training to meet the certifications that we need."
As a result of the Dukane Seacom relocation, Radiant will be building two, 20-foot-deep test tanks to test acoustic devices according to FAA requirements.
"We are in the final design phase of the project," Patel noted. "I don't know of any other facility like it in the Southeast region."
The company completed a 6,300-square-foot expansion in August to accommodate Moritz's move. The company was approved for $26,000 in performance-based incentives from Manatee County and an estimated $1,343 in transportation impact fee credits then.
For its current expansion project, Radiant Power has been approved for a state Qualified Target Industry incentive of $80,000, a tax refund that is paid after job and other contractual requirements are met. It includes a $16,000 match from Manatee County. The average annual wage of Radiant Power's 16 new jobs will pay 15 percent more than the county's average yearly wage, officials said.
The two biggest areas of expansion for Radiant are in emergency power and power distribution as well as passenger comfort.
Radiant designs and manufacturers products for companies including Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Cessna.
"Radiant Power has a proven track record in our community for capital investment and job creation," said Sharon Hillstrom, president and CEO of Manatee County's Economic Development Council. "The company's continued growth in Manatee County demonstrates the Bradenton area's viability as a location for aviation and avionics-related manufacturing."
Patel thinks the commercial aerospace industry has experienced a good recovery but "still has a ways to go from the pre-recession levels."
He knows the future is bright.
"As long as companies keep making planes and people keep flying, the market looks healthy for us," Patel said.