DENISON, Tex. -- Grayson County is one of the finalists in the running to land aviation giant MD Helicopters. Company officials were in Denison on Wednesday to tour the North Texas Regional Airport, one of the locations being considered.
County officials say they cannot remember the last time they were so close to bringing in a major company like MD Helicopters, and they hope Wednesday’s tour sells the company on setting up shop in Grayson County.
M-D Helicopter officials arrived at the North Texas Regional Airport in what else but helicopters and officials hope this isn't the last time these helicopters make a landing in Grayson County.
"Most importantly we got the message across that we want to be her neighbor and her partner," MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton and several representatives from the company stepped off their aircraft and greeted Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum with a handshake, a sign of partnership that the judge hopes turns into reality.
"More importantly, I think we're getting a neighbor, MD Helicopters comes in we're getting a neighbor that’s putting middle class Americans to work," Bynum says.
That number is close to 1,500 workers to be exact, a huge increase from the 400 people the airport employs right now.
"They would just bring out a lot of people to the airport to work high-paying aviation jobs and that would change the whole dynamic of what the airport is right now."
MD Helicopters is also considering three other sites for their base of operations: Shreveport, Oklahoma city, and another airport in Texas, but Grayson officials say North Texas Regional Airport is the best choice, especially with the extension of State Highway 289 along the west side of the runways.
"It’s a fantastic facility, and it just takes a little bit of time to get the word out and with Black Knight Partners and with Judge Bynum working that angle. It’s been very good," North Texas regional Airport director Mike Shahan says.
Judge Bynum says Tilton and her company have provided close to 100,000 jobs over the past seven years, and he sees those numbers increasing with a move to North Texas.
"We're going to give her a bigger labor force; we're going to train some folks not for the next five years but for the next fifty years, and I think we got that point across to her today."
Judge Bynum says a decision on which airport will be the Texas finalist could come as early as the end of this week and adds a final announcement as to where the company will set up could come by mid-April.