WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — One of Wichita’s many businesses tied to aviation is growing. Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics in northeast Wichita broke ground on a 28,000-square-foot expansion on Wednesday.
J. Todd Winter, the president, CEO and owner, said that’s about a 50% expansion.
“We’re getting a little snug inside, but everybody’s done a great job of working it out and reconfiguring, and we’ve got 10 or 12 months to go, and then we’ll really have more space,” he said.
The company, 9400 E. 34th Street, near Webb Road, needs the expansion for Mid-Continent’s growing battery and avionics manufacturing facilities, in-house design, testing capabilities, and engineering capabilities.
Winter said the company will also need more employees.
“We’re shooting for 12 or more, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, over time, we multiply that at least by three,” he said.
The company currently has more than 200 employees.
Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics has elements in aircraft worldwide and in space, including the International Space Station. One of its divisions, True Blue Power, specializes in electrical power systems for the aerospace industry.
Winter said one of the company’s most popular products is USB-type chargers.
“Most pilots fly with an electronic flight bag, an iPad, but it only works if it’s charged,” he said. “They run very demanding applications, and if you’re on a three-hour flight, it’s an important tool.”
The company’s products are designed and built to be suitable for demanding aviation missions.
“There are a lot of people out there using our equipment that may or may not know, but it’s really critical to the mission that they do, whether it’s an air ambulance, whether it’s aerial fire fighting or spotting, surveillance technology, or even something as important as moving our leadership within the country or other countries so they can do their job as leaders,” Winter said.
Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics has a location in southern California, but the headquarters is in Wichita. Winter said some states have tried to get him to move it out of Kansas.
“Wichita has always been, we like to say, the air capital of the world,” he said. “It’s a great place to be in the aviation business, and we did start early on with Beechcraft and Cessna, and that helped us provide products to virtually every other aircraft manufacturer in the world.”
Winter said he tells people that Wichita is one of the company’s secret weapons — because of the people.
“It’s in our DNA, so we understand that we’re not new, we’re not coming in from the side and saying, ‘Oh, this’ll work in an airplane, and it’s probably fine’ probably doesn’t cut it when you’re saving people’s lives or when you’re on a flight.”
He said the workers’ dedication is apparent when walking through the facility.
“It is a reflection of the care and the work that we do, and if you walk through our facility, it may be cleaner than most hospitals you’ve been in,” he said. “That is a reflection of the attention to detail, the quality that we put in every single day.”
Winter said the employees are very hands-on — whether it’s the engineers, technicians, human resources, or shipping and receiving. He said everything is at an advanced level of responsibility.
“We can find those people here in Wichita, and we also relocate people to Wichita, mostly from the West Coast.”
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