Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he didn’t believe the “dust up” over the state budget would impact family-owned jet engine parts manufacturers like Turbine Technologies, but company officials had a different take.
Malloy toured the Farmington company Monday and got a look at four machines the state helped purchase a year ago with a $203,000 Small Business Express grant.
Turbine Technologies, a military veteran-owned company, is a supplier of jet engine parts to GE, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce. It also supplies commercial companies with parts for industrial gas turbines that generate electricity and ones that go on oil rigs and power plants.
“Anything regarding the state budget impacts us on a daily basis,” Max McIntyre, vice president of the company, said Monday.
David Marchak, the company’s chief financial officer, said that’s because the state budget “affects our customers.”
Turbine Technologies is an S Corporation so they don’t have to worry about an increase in the corporation tax or unitary reporting, but their customers like GE, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce certainly do.
“If they’re going to be leveraging a higher tax for manufacturers, such as your GEs and your Pratts, that’s going to flow down to us,” Marchak said. “So either they are going to be shipping business elsewhere or they’re going to want price concessions.”
The recent state budget debate gives those clients “more of an impetus” to try and push through those price concessions, he said.
GE was one of the most vocal companies during the budget debate. It’s CEO, Jeff Immelt, even sent an email to employees saying it had assembled a team to look at moving out of Connecticut.
“We purchase $14 billion in goods and services from Connecticut companies,” Immelt wrote. “Despite this, we have had a tough past decade in Connecticut. Our taxes have been raised five times since 2011, while support for our strategies has been uneven.”
About 50 percent of Turbine Technologies’ business is building aerospace parts for the military and the 50 percent go to commercial jet engine companies.
Marchak and McIntyre didn’t tell Malloy during a private meeting about how the budget discussions may impact their business. Instead, the message to Malloy on Monday was about how the Department of Economic and Community Development helped their small business grow their workforce from 49 employees to 71 in just two years.
“We’re highlighting the money from the state and how it’s helped us,” Marchak said.
Tyler Burke, the company’s President and CEO, took the company over from his father two years ago. He was away on National Guard training duties in Vermont on Monday.
Since taking over the company its revenues have grown 38 percent and they are on target to grow another 25 percent this year, according to Marchak.
McIntyre said the state’s financial help has “meant the world” to the company, which went into “crisis action mode” a few years ago.
“We all just put our head down and weathered the storm,” McIntyre said. “We made cuts where cuts were needed and we made improvements where improvements were needed.”
He said after they got the company back in shape, the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Department of Labor helped them make it better by augmenting the “battle plan we had already enacted.”
Marchak said there’s a plan in place to grow 10 times its size in 10 years.
Malloy and DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith visited the company Monday as part of their continuing “jobs tour.”