Change is in the wind for Tehachapi and fabrication jobs.
Sierra Technical Services Inc., is in the process of building prototype drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles.
This will bring 40 or more engineering, fabrication, accounting and other jobs to the area, which the company is in the process of filling.
It's estimated it could take two years to build one to four of these drones, said business owner Roger Hayes.
Sierra Technical Services Inc., which moved to Tehachapi more than a year ago, is dedicated to aerospace design fabrication. The contract comes from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, which is under the Department of Defense.
"We are excited to have won the contract," said Hayes. "The government issued a request for proposals last year and it went out to small businesses. We were awarded the contract five to six weeks ago and we are funded and building parts right now."
If the prototypes are successful and Sierra Technical Services Inc. wins another contract, it could bring even more business to Tehachapi, resulting in more jobs.
"It's expected within three to five years that they may be asking about proposals to build a derivative of it… if we are successful we will be in a good position to build the production airplanes," Hayes said.
The prototype is a fifth-generation aerial target drone and will be made out of carbon fiber and measures 40 feet long. It will be built here in Tehachapi, and put into a cargo container and tested at a government facility in the United States.
The impact also brings new opportunities for the community.
City Councilman Ken Hetge said, "Sierra Technical Services is involved with high technology. It's state of the art, it's cutting edge, and those are all things that benefit and bring business to the community. And when we get a company like this that brings upper-level engineering jobs ... it brings a high level of work experience and intelligence."
The company plans to focus on hiring people from the area.
"We do plan to stay here and are trying to focus on hiring local people as much as possible, and there is a lot of local talent in aerospace that lives in the Tehachapi area and it helps us and it helps them and they don't have to drive to the valley or down to Mojave," Hayes said.
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