Panama City Beach – WEST BAY — Like the story of “The Little Engine that Could,” the new airport construction site near West Bay has been plugging away despite the current economic downturn, employing a workforce that will only grow as summer nears, officials said.
Airport authority chairman Joe Tannehill said the workforce at the construction site of the Panama City-Bay County International Airport will continue to draw from the local labor pool as work accelerates on the new terminal complex. Project manager Jeff Dealy said the number of workers at the site should swell to at least 500 and as many as 700. “There are jobs available there … throughout 2009,” Tannehill said.
According to numbers supplied by airport officials, there are currently 293 workers at the site, including 150 from Bay County, or about 51 percent.
Tannehill suggested that potential workers contact the Gulf Coast Workforce Center to complete an application and find out what jobs might be available now and in the future. Kim Bodine, executive director of the workforce board, said contractors and subcontractors at the airport site and other locations use the agency to post job openings and screen applicants. In addition, the workforce center has signs posted at the airport site to direct potential workers to the agency.
Airport officials said all contractors at the relocation site will be working with the center to list future job openings. Although contractors might not yet have posted jobs for the peak summer work, “they have used us in the past and we expect that to continue,” Bodine said. “That is what we do.”
Construction has just begun on the new terminal building at the site, and Jay Taffet, president of JMT Development, has proposed the construction of a major $5-million high-tech general aviation complex there, as well, airport officials say. Taffet said a management team will be brought to oversee construction, but local labor traditionally is heavily relied upon.
Also, once the general aviation complex is complete, about 30 people will be hired to operate the site, including high tech, training and maintenance jobs. The general aviation part is separate from the main airport and services private air traffic such as light corporate jets and other private planes. It will include covered loading areas, multiple hangars, a reception area and crew space.
JMT Development is currently in lease negotiations with airport officials and will be able to break ground within a couple months of signing a lease, Taffet said.
Airport officials say construction at the site is running about three and a half months ahead of schedule. The airport opening is still planned for May 2010.
Need a Job
For more information, go to wwww.employflorida.com
And click on “find a job.”
You can also visit the Workforce Center at 625 Highway 231 in Panama City or call 850-872-4340 for more information, Bodine said.