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Venice aviation-repair firm expands, will buy $1M X-ray machine

Turbine Weld Industries has outgrown its space and plans to make significant investments in its growth. "We've never seen this amount of volume," the company president says.

The company's new building will be where the parking lot is now, with new parking spots to be added to the site.
The company's new building will be where the parking lot is now, with new parking spots to be added to the site.
Photo by Elizabeth King
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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A rapidly growing aviation-related company in Venice, Turbine Weld Industries, is expanding — both in physical space and employees.

At the moment, the company’s 52 employees are “packed in” to about 20,000 square feet on Substation Road off US 41, Turbine Weld General Manager Bill Heydet says on a recent tour of the facility. For example, its machine shop is splintered across three different parts of the building because there is no single space large enough to put it.

Turbine Weld Industries repairs and overhauls aviation equipment like engine-associated parts. It does that for service aircrafts such as medevac and police helicopters, as well as airplanes. “We repair each one of these parts independently,” Heydet says, adding that each part must be perfectly repaired and then certified because "aviation is synonymous with quality."

Repairs can take anywhere from days to months, and the company has been backlogged since February, according to President Dave Bush.

Even after notifying customers of the backlog, “the parts just keep coming,” Bush says.

“The backlog can almost appear like a giant mountain, and a person can only do so much work.” Bush says. “We’ve never seen this amount of volume, and we’ve seen this group of people rise to the challenge.”

In some cases, Turbine Weld Industries can do repairs that no other facility in the world is capable of doing. In others, customers prefer their precision, officials say.

More people

To help with the volume of work, Turbine Weld plans to add about eight new employees to its roster of 52, bringing the total to 60 by the end of the year, according to Bush. “When your army gets a little bit bigger, it helps with the battle,” Bush says.

Turbine Weld is also planning to construct an 8,832-square-foot building and more parking adjacent to its current space.

“Expansion will help us hire entry-level [workers] so we can promote some of the existing employees,” Heydet says.

The new building will be used as a repair shop — similar to the existing building — and for storage. It will also provide the company a place to put new machinery that will allow it to work faster. In its current building, there is no room to put additional machines.

An employee at Turbine Weld Industries works on an engine-related repair.
Photo by Elizabeth King

One piece of equipment the company plans to buy: $1 million X-ray technology.

To ensure something has been repaired properly, each part must be X-rayed afterward. Currently, Turbine Weld has to send items to Fort Myers to get X-rayed. Having this machine in-house will cut down on turnaround time and help with the backlog of work.

Recently, Heydet says, Turbine Weld Industries went from spending $50,000 a year in capital investments to $1.5 million, and that number will be over $4 million in the next year or two with the expansion.

While the company declined to provide revenue figures, Bush says in an email "there has been significant growth, allowing us to literally expand and invest in people and new technologies."

Expansion ahead

This week, the Venice Planning Commission granted two approvals required for the expansion — the site development plan and a design alternative for a 35-foot buffer.

Venice Planner Josh Law presented the proposal for the 8,832-foot building to the commission at a June 18 hearing and also provided some background on the company.

Turbine Weld Industries was founded in 1986 in Vermont and moved to Venice in 1993. At first, the company leased its space on Substation Road, then it purchased the building as the business grew, Law says.

During the pandemic, Turbine Weld invested in machinery and staff, according to Law. “Due to their success, they need to accommodate” growth, Law says.

Ohio businessman Dave Venarge purchased the company in 2020. Under his ownership amid the pandemic, "there have been non-stop investments in people and equipment," Bush says, "once business volume started to recover."

And business has more than recovered, he says — it has skyrocketed. Since 2018, there has been a 1,200% increase in volume of parts sent to Turbine Weld Industries for repair and overhaul, according to Bush.

Constructing a new building on-site will allow for “meaningful expansion” without having to rebuild the existing building, which was constructed in 1988, Law says. The other alternative, according to Law, is to move elsewhere.

Following the planning commission's unanimous approval, Bush says, "We love Venice" and are looking forward to "keeping the work in Venice" within the company's existing footprint.

“It’s exciting that we can spread our wings,” Bush says, adding the goal is to break ground on the new building in July. The new structure will be located where the current parking lot is now, with more than 50 parking spots to be added in other areas on the site.

After about eight months of construction, the new building will open by March or April 2025, according to Todd Rogers, tech operations manager for Turbine Weld Industries.



Elizabeth King

Elizabeth is a business news reporter with the Business Observer, covering primarily Sarasota-Bradenton, in addition to other parts of the region. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she previously covered hyperlocal news in Maryland for Patch for 12 years. Now she lives in Sarasota County.

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