A Westbury company that made fasteners for the airplane Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic has staged a turnaround after filing for bankruptcy protection in 2014 and being bought by a Texas company in January. Now it is agreeing to add 57 jobs after winning state tax credits.
The assets of the company, John Hassall Inc., a maker of bolts and rivets for the aerospace industry, were acquired for an undisclosed sum by Fort Worth, Texas-based Novaria Group at the start of 2015. Novaria plans to move its Sky Aerospace Products subsidiary, employing about 50 people, from Los Angeles to John Hassall’s 65,000-square-foot factory.
To encourage that transfer, Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, said on Dec. 23 it would provide tax credits worth up to $1.2 million to Novaria, which agreed to retain John Hassall’s 81 existing jobs and add 57 more and maintain those staffing levels through 2025.
John Piacentino, general manager of John Hassall LLC, said the company, whose hardware was used in the Spirit of St. Louis Lindbergh flew in the first trans-Atlantic flight, has a three-year goal to enlarge the workforce by the 57 positions, with 30 expected to be added in 2016. Hassall had previously warned after filing for bankruptcy that it might lay off all of its employees.
John Hassall makes custom nails, rivets and bolts for use in nuclear power plants, jet engines and other aerospace applications. Piacentino said Sky Aerospace primarily makes bolts and other standard hardware and John Hassall would be adding those products.
Only one or two Sky employees are moving from Los Angeles to work in Westbury, he said.
Novaria acquired Sky Aerospace, founded in 1997, from MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions in June.
“By taking advantage of existing infrastructure and moving into an operational factory, Sky Aerospace will be able to start work quickly, creating jobs and moving the economy forward,” Howard Zemsky, president of Empire State Development, said in a statement.
Novaria Group is the aerospace investment platform of Rosewood Private Investments and Tailwind Advisors. Dallas-based Rosewood Private Investments is the private equity arm of The Rosewood Corp., a family-backed firm established in 1935 by Texas oil tycoon H.L. Hunt. Tailwind, based in Fort Worth, manages money for wealthy families.