Aero Info Inc., a Senora, Calif.-based company that designs, manufactures and markets support equipment and tooling for commercial and military jet aircraft, has acquired Marietta-based Quality Aircraft Tooling.
The acquisition took place Jan. 1, according to Mike Wilson, president and CEO of both companies. Wilson has relocated to Cobb from California and will operate both companies from the 24,000-square-foot Marietta facility on Kings Industrial Drive near Cobb Parkway North. He is leasing the building from owner Hap McNeel.
QAT was founded in 1969 under the name Quality Engineering Co., before it was changed in 1987. The company was formerly owned and headed by the late Benny McCleskey. Wilson began the purchase process with McCleskey prior to his death in August 2012. Wilson said the acquisition was completed with his family after his death.
"He wanted to retire, and we wanted to expand," he said. Wilson, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years, said both companies will retain their names and employees. He said the acquisition made sense since the businesses make complementary products and have common customers.
"Aero Info specializes in avionics or electrical test equipment. QAT specializes in mechanical test equipment," he said. "We have common customers, but we have dissimilar products, so now we have a breadth of products that includes electrical, mechanical and engine handling parts for our customers." The company is a licensee for Boeing and its customers locally include Delta Air Lines and AirTran.
"Aero Info has a very good name in the avionics testing arena, and QAT has a good reputation in the mechanical engine handling arena, so we wanted to keep both names," said Wilson. Wilson said he relocated because of proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, customers and the labor talent.
"Our customer base is also more closely oriented to Marietta being in the Midwest and up the East Coast," he said. "We have an infrastructure in place already. Plus the technical labor base is readily available here."
Wilson said when an airline mechanic needs a specialized tool for maintenance, QAT is contracted to design and make the tool starting from the raw metal.
"We don't do volume," he said. "We sell one tool at the time." Each company has six employees. Wilson says he plans to add additional machinists in Marietta in the fourth quarter of this year.