Emery Air Gets New Deal

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The skies over Rockford will soon be busier. Though the planes may not be carrying passengers - it will certainly mean more jobs for the stateline.

This aviation mechanic didn't collect his pension from working at O'hare Airport.

"About a year ago it looked like my career would be ending but with the next opportunity here i've been able to extend it and continue what i love doing which is aircraft maintenance, says aircraft technician Ken Lemke."

Ken Lemke is one of 35 airplane technicians hired by Rockford's Emory Air. The aircraft maintenance company just landed a three-year deal to repair jets belonging to Delta Airlines subisidiary, Comair.

Spending 30-years in the airline business...Lemke says he's glad he landed in Rockford and working at RFD.

"This opened up a new opportunity for me to extend my career and possibly grow with emery as it grows," Lemke says.

Emery Air wants at least 120 mechanics on board by the end of the year. But it's hard finding the right people.

"It's always hard to find qualified technicians especially in the airline industry. We've been recruiting for at least the last 6-8 months and we've only hired 35 people...We've looked at least a-thousand resumes," says Emery Air General Manager Robert Pike.

Not only will there by more jobs for mechanics, but there's a possibility of more airlines in the future.

"With Comair choosing Rockford and Emory others will look to this airport the same way Comair did and hopefully our company, says Emery Air CEO Steve Thomas.

Right now Comair's nearly 140 will come to Rockford just for maintenance. But Emory Air officials hope Comair might add Rockford to its passenger flight plans within a few years.