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From left) Facilities Leader Ronnie Miller, RPCoE General Manager Randy Hobbs, GE Plant
Manager Tim Tucker, N.C. 5th District Congresswoman Virginia Foxx and Ashe County BOC Chair
Gary Roark plunge their shovels into the ground to signal the expansion of GE's West Jefferson
Plant. Photo/James Howell

Originally published: 2014-06-05 15:10:59
Last modified: 2014-06-05 15:27:50

GE Aviation groundbreaking could mean 100 new High Country jobs

GE Aviation, a global leader in jet engine and aircraft system production, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony June 5 at the site of its machining factory in West Jefferson.


GE Aviation's Randy Hobbs, general manager, rotating parts and compressor airfoils and Tim Tucker, West Jefferson plant manager, were joined by Rep. Virginia Foxx and officials from the town of West Jefferson, Ashe County and the North Carolina Department of Commerce to commemorate the groundbreaking.


The new 80,000-square-foot expansion will allow for increased capacity as the shop assumes additional machining work. The increase in volume is driven largely by orders for the new LEAP jet engine of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and Snecma (Safran) of France. To date, CFM has logged total orders and commitments with airlines for more than 6,000 LEAP engines -- and it does not enter service until 2016.  It will power new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX, and COMAC (China) C919 aircraft for airlines worldwide.  


GE could begin hiring at the expanded facility as early as 2015. Within five years, the plant's workforce is expected to grow by about 100 employees to 265 people with capacity to do both rough and finished machining of components for the core of the engine (disks, spools, shafts).


"This investment is a testament to GE's commitment to this community. The West Jefferson team will play a vital role in the next-generation of aircraft engines, and we're proud to be a part of it" said Tucker.


To prepare for the new workload, GE will partner with Wilkes Community College. The training program at the Tigra facility, will allow current and prospective employees to train in a hands-on environment with state-of- the-art machinery.


The new facility is part of a larger commitment by GE Aviation to invest $195 million across its North Carolina operations through 2017. GE Aviation has more than 1,300 employees in North Carolina at sites in Durham, West Jefferson, Wilmington and Asheville. The West Jefferson expansion, combined with the new facility in Asheville and plant and equipment upgrades at existing sites across North Carolina, will create 242 additional GE jobs by 2017. 


GE Aviation has the largest and fastest-growing installed base of jet engines in commercial aviation and a global services network to support them. GE Aviation employs approximately 40,000 people and operates more than 80 facilities around the world.   

An operating unit of GE, GE Aviation is a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. For more information, visit