First Wave MRO sold to Tray Siegfried, Jon Werthen

Dec. 18-- First Wave MRO, the privately held Bristow aerospace manufacturer and maintenance provider, has been acquired by Tray Siegfried and Jon Werthen, two veteran Tulsa aerospace executives, officials said Monday.

No purchase price was disclosed, but ClearRidge Capital, an Oklahoma investment banking firm, represented First Wave owners the Clark family of Bristow, company executives said.

Founded in 1992 by Muskogee native Edward D. Clark Jr., First Wave maintains, repairs, overhauls and manufactures commercial and military aerospace parts. The company's customers include major world airlines and military organizations.

In a joint statement, Siegfried and Werthen said they were attracted to the opportunities offered by First Wave and intend to retain its 226,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, which was built on the western edge of Bristow in 2005, and its 60 employees.

"We are tremendously excited to have the opportunity to build and grow this company," Siegfried and Werthen said. "The potential is clearly present and visible. We plan to operate our company by building upon its past record of success, while driving towards the future development of our capabilities, and expanding into new markets."

Siegfried, former vice chairman of the board of directors of NORDAM, the Tulsa aerospace manufacturer, said in a telephone interview he was attracted to First Wave by its proven reputation and its facilities.

"It's in the MRO business, and we want to continue what they have in maintenance, repair and overhaul," Siegfried said. "It's too early to tell if there's going to be diversification.

"Most of all, it was an opportunity. We had seen the facility. It has potential. It had some tough times with the recession, but it's like anything else -- it's an investment.

"Jon (Werthen) and I are partners. He is an aerospace-aviation enthusiast with a background in aerospace manufacturing. We got together, talked about it and we just decided to go forward."

Werthen is the owner of Legacy Jet Center, the fixed-base operator at Tulsa International Airport.

First Wave founder Edward D. Clark Jr. started the business by acquiring the surplus aircraft parts inventory of American Airlines.

Originally, First Wave bought and sold spare parts for Boeing and McDonnell Douglas aircraft. The company has one of the largest inventories of rotable (repairable) and expendable aviation components in the world, company executives said in a 2009 interview with the Tulsa World.

First Wave's Bristow facilities include a 300-square-foot autoclave that cures bonded components such as nose cowls, fan cowls, thrust reversers, exhaust nozzles, wing components and other structures.

The company has a substantial "clean room" that is temperature-, humidity- and particle-controlled for composite and metal bonding.

Eight tanks holding thousands of gallons of chemicals make up the facility's Phosphoric Acid Anodizing Line.

The PAA line is a critical process to ensure proper bonding of aluminum alloys.

Metal parts are placed on racks, which are lifted by crane and dipped into successive tanks of alkaline cleaner, water rinse, sodium dichromate and sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, de-ionized water and a forced-air drying cycle.

Fire Wave's PAA line is set up in accordance with Boeing's specifications and is approved for use on all Boeing Co. products, company officials said.

"We are happy and excited about this opportunity and look forward to taking one step at a time," Siegfried said.

D.R. Stewart 918-581-8451

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