As Farwest Aircraft celebrates its 40-year anniversary, Ground Support Worldwide examines how the company has grown to become what it is today.
Farwest Spares and Farwest Special Products were formed in September 1965 to manufacture electrical test equipment for Boeing aircraft and to purchase and resell new and used aircraft parts, according to Jay Marshall, president of Farwest Aircraft Inc.
In 1967, both Farwest Special Products and Farwest Spares were incorporated under the laws of the state of Washington and operated independently and under the same management. During the same year, Farwest Special Products was licensed by The Boeing Company to manufacture electrical testing equipment and electrical cabling.
In 1991, Farwest Special Products and Farwest Spares were merged to form one company called Farwest Aircraft Inc. The newly formed company continued to manufacture electrical products and to supply new and used spares to the aircraft industry.
Farwest Aircraft was sold in late September of 1997 to Jones Company. After acquiring Farwest, Jones Company elected not to continue the aircraft spares business and, consequently, the business was not purchased and remained with the previous owner. Jones Company was able to provide the much needed cash, allowing Farwest Aircraft to grow.
The Boeing Company issued a license to Farwest Aircraft Inc. in 1998 to manufacture mechanical maintenance tools needed to perform emergency and normal maintenance on all Boeing commercial aircraft. With the addition of the mechanical tools and coupled with the electrical products, Farwest Aircraft Inc. was able to offer a “full line” of maintenance tools to all Boeing users.
Farwest outgrew its location and had to look for more space. In 2000, Farwest purchased a manufacturing site in Edgewood, Wash., a suburb of Seattle. The site has 10 and a half acres, 35,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space and 5,000 sq. ft. of office space. Additionally, Farwest Aircraft has another 3,500 sq. ft manufacturing facility in Tukwila, Wash. With all of the land, it has plenty of space for future growth.
Today, Jones Company still owns Farwest Aircraft Inc. and Farwest continues to be located in Edgewood, Wash. Jones Company — the oldest company in Washington state that is still owned and operated by the same family — will be celebrating its 150th anniversary during the year 2008.
Founded in 1858 in Port Townsend, Wash., the company was a local mercantile store to supply goods for the mines in Alaska and the local population during the glory days of the Alaskan Gold Rush. The founder used his rowboat to go from ship to ship, buying and selling his products and goods. The Jones family has continued to enjoy the businesses’ success after five generations of family ownership.
“As we move on to the next year, we are aggressively trying to expand our workforce, but finding the correct people is sometimes difficult. However, once we do find them, we have very little turnover in personnel. We have employees who have been here more than 30 years with very little turnover.
“The accomplishment I’m most proud of is the drive and dedication of our people, how well they work with our customers and the family style business atmosphere we have here. Our employees continually strive to be the best and our track record shows it. Everyone gets along and we all work together to obtain our common goal.
“One of the challenges I see for our company is being able to serve our steadily and rapidly increasing client base, while at the same time maintaining our current production standards. We will have our final AS9100B audit in early next year. Quality is extremely important to us. We continue to work hard and diligently in order to deliver all our tools on-time, as we know that there is an airline or maintenance base out there depending on our equipment to get their job done on schedule.
They have signed a letter of intent to cooperate on component maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities to support Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) rotorcraft operations.