Founded in 1983 by Meridian native, Leonard Dean, many things have changed for Dean Aircraft Service. The company, which provides maintenance primarily for private aircraft, was bought by Meridian Regional Airport last year and has since doubled its workforce.
'We're pulling airplanes from all over the southeast,' says Leonard Dean. 'I believe that we'll continue to see more business as time goes by.'
Dean Aircraft Service is multi-faceted. It supplies its own parts and ships parts to other areas. It also has its own maintenance shop and paint shop.
With its profits for this year already outpacing those for last year, each month Dean Aircraft Service generates at least $200,000 in revenues.
'For the Airport Authority, it does represent a significant percentage of the revenue that comes into the airport, which we can then put back into the airport,' says Meridian Regional Airport Deputy Director, Brad Kueven.
'This year currently, we're pretty much scheduled out through the end of the year on maintenance for our aircraft already; any additional would just be more. I think we'll continue to see growth,' says Dean.
Dean says continued growth could mean hiring more people sooner than expected.
'If we continue to see the schedule increase as it has been, it may not even take until the end of the year before we hire more people,' says Dean.
'We really want to see this business grow,' says Kueven. 'We think this is a great opportunity for the Meridian area because of the level of skill for these jobs and the pay scale of these jobs and the technology that it brings to the area.'
Officials with Dean Aircraft Service say in the near future they expect to increase the number of mechanics and possibly employees in sales.
The starting salary for mechanics at Dean Aircraft is around $20 an hour. The company primarily services private planes. The closest place to receive training to do this type work is in Jackson, Mississippi.