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LI execs say $1.2B for Black Hawks good for employment

Rep. Thomas Suozzi, left, talking with Hitemco customer

Rep. Thomas Suozzi, left, talking with Hitemco customer relation specialist Noel Gibilaro, center left, Hicksville Machine Work president John Spiezio center right and Telephonics president Kevin McSweeney, during a presser to push development of Long Island's aerospace industry at Telephonics in Huntington May 10, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The $1.2 billion in the federal spending bill allocated for 62 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters will boost employment at Hicksville Machine Works Corp. by as much as 29 percent and maintain the head count at several other Long Island companies, aerospace executives said Wednesday at a Huntington manufacturing facility of Telephonics Corp.

“I’ll probably bring in 15 to 20 people” in the third quarter, said John Spiezio, president of 68-employee Hicksville Machine Works. The company works on the fuselage, tail rotor head and landing gear for Stratford, Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of Lockheed Martin.

Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) organized the gathering as part of his effort to spotlight the impact of the federal funding and the importance of Long Island’s military products industry.

The Black Hawk accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of the revenue of Telephonics, which has about 1,000 employees in Huntington and its Farmingdale headquarters, said Kevin McSweeney, president of the company, a subsidiary of Manhattan-based Griffon Corp. About 40 to 50 Telephonics employees work on the Black Hawk, he said, and the funding will “keep our workforce stable.”

McSweeney said Suozzi’s appearance at the facility, where he greeted employees, was the first time in memory that a congressman had visited a Telephonics plant.

Suozzi, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said New York had military contracts worth about $6.3 billion annually, ranking it 14th in the country in fiscal 2014, according to Bloomberg. About $1.7 billion of that went to his congressional district on the North Shore and northeast Queens.

Also at the meeting was Noel Gibilaro, an executive at Old Bethpage-based Hitemco, which makes high-tech coatings used on Black Hawk components. Gibilaro said the company has more than 100 employees, but he was unable to specify the impact of the Black Hawk funding.

A Black Hawk contractor that did not attend Wednesday’s event was Edgewood-based CPI Aerostructures.

Douglas McCrosson, CPI Aero’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that 20 to 25 employees work on the Black Hawk, whose contracts accounted for about 10 percent of revenue in the quarter ended March 31.

McCrosson said the funding won’t result in additional hiring at the 250-person company but it will produce a “stable business.”

The Black Hawk allocation was included in a $1 trillion spending bill signed by President Trump last Friday that funds the government through September.

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