“And I am willing to bet that quite a few C-130s will still be in operational service when your grandchildren finish pilot training!” quipped Lockheed Martin VP and site GM Shan Cooper when she spoke at Thursday’s Marietta Kiwanis Club meeting.
Believe it or not, the C-130 has been flying for more than half the history of powered flight, which began with the Wright Brothers back in 1903.
The workhorse cargo plane has made its reputation on its effectiveness, not its appearance.
“It’s been said that the Hercules has looks that only a mother could love,” Cooper said. “But we think it’s ruggedly handsome.”
It’s now flown by 70 countries, creating a quite a wide economic ripple.
“An in-country Hercules provides a lot of jobs — guards, mechanics, suppliers, food-truck operators — and strengthens the international economies,” Cooper said.
More than 100 local companies are suppliers of various goods and supplies to the plant. As for the C-130 program itself, it is supported by 525 suppliers in 41 states and Puerto Rico, as well as 44 international companies in a dozen countries.
There are 70 “variants” of the C-130 — specially modified versions that allow it to be used on medevac, fire-fighting, search-and-rescue, gunship and airborne early warning missions, to name just a few. There’s also the WC-130 weather reconnaissance Herk, i.e., “Hurricane Hunter,” models of which you see on The Weather Channel flying through the eyes of hurricanes.
“Every iteration of the Hercules, including the major production variants — the A, B, E, H and J — has come about because somebody asked, ‘Can the Hercules do … this?’ And the answer was invariably, ‘We think we can. We’ll put some really smart people on it,’” Cooper said.
“I can’t think of a single mission the C-130 can’t support. If you can, come talk to me — and we’ll put some really smart people on it.”
The plant is scheduled to produce 24 Herks this year and another 24 next year. Their costs range between $50 million and $80 million each, depending on how they’re configured and how many planes are being purchased.
The C-130 line has been the plant’s bread-and-butter since the first production Hercules took off in April 1955. The plant’s 6,000-strong workforce includes residents of 59 counties in Georgia and boasts a weekly payroll of $13 million.
PEOPLE: Dr. Roger Tutterow, arguably Georgia’s best-known economist, has rejoined the faculty at the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University as professor of economics and director of its Econometric Center. Tutterow and Dr. Don Sabbarese ran the center together from 1994-2005, when Tutterow departed for Mercer University. Sabbarese will now move into an emeritus role at the center, which collects data and provides analysis for decision makers in the public and private sectors via reports on employment, manufacturing and commodity pricing.
Tutterow, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from Georgia State University, also serves on the board of Vinings Bank.
HOME DEPOT CEO Frank Blake, 65, will be retiring as of Nov. 1 after seven years and will be succeeded by Craig Menear, who now is president of U.S. retail for the hardware giant and who will serve as both HD’s CEO and president. Menear, 57, joined the company in 1997.
HD operates 2,265 stores and employs more than 300,000 people, although it has stopped building new stores in favor of focusing on its online business, according to The Wall Street Journal. HD’s stock rose more than 100 percent during Blake’s tenure.
COBB LEADERS will dedicate the final section of the Noonday Creek Trail at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The seven-mile, $11.6 million trail links the Town Center area with the county’s 31 other trails, a network that now connects KSU, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and the Silver Comet Trail west to Alabama. A tent for the occasion will be erected by the Town Center Area Community Improvement District on the north side of Town Center at Cobb Mall. Speakers will include Cobb Commission Chair Tim Lee and battlefield park Superintendent Nancy Walther.
Town Center CID chair Mason Zimmerman reports the event also will feature a display of plans for a proposed 42-acre park north of the mall along Noonday Creek and Interstate 575.
WEDDING BELLS: Holly Bass, CEO at Cobb Travel and Tourism, announced this week that she and BNY Mellon senior director Mike Quinlan are engaged. There’s no date set as yet.
‘MAD MAX’: Shoot-from-the-hip Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon’s reputation for non-PC comments made up for his absence at the groundbreaking on Thursday for the Belmont Hills development in Smyrna. Bacon, who recently made headlines by grousing that he didn’t like arguing with a “Polack” like Cobb School Superintendent Kathleen Angelucci, was unable to attend on Thursday by virtue of being at home recovering from hip-replacement surgery.
Noted Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee to the crowd: “I, for one, am grateful that Max had surgery and is on very heavy drugs. Maybe we can get through the day without insulting somebody.”
AROUND TOWN will be off on Tuesday for the Labor Day weekend. See you next Saturday.