The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
Our industry roundtable group toured CubCrafters yesterday and we all learned that this company is flying along these days. General Manager Randy Lervold hosted our group and said Cubcrafters is expanding rapidly. The company’s set a sales record last year and their revenues have doubled over the past four years.
Lervold said the recession was hurting Cubcrafters until they introduced a new carbon fiber cub model a few years ago. This model is much lighter than its sport cub brother which makes it more maneuverable (it lands in 60 feet versus 360 feet for the sport cub). The new model has been very popular and International sales have also helped the company grow significantly.
Cubcrafters produces a plane every five days and they want to ramp up production this year to finish a plane every four days. The company uses ten different stations to fabricate and assemble each cub. The company has two facilities and is constructing a new building to manage its composites work. Fabrication and metal work is done at the former Western RV facility down the street on Washington Avenue. Parts from this shop are then trucked to the main facility where they are integrated with the final production line.
Currently there is a six month waiting list for people purchasing their planes. This is about as long a lead time as the company likes. If it draws out any further they risk losing customers to competitors. Cubcrafters also sells kits for the do it yourself fans.
We were very impressed with Cubcrafters’ facilities and growth in Yakima. I remember a few years back when we helped the company move into sport cub production. At the time the company had about 20 employees. Now Cubcrafters has over 140 employees and they have several new technical jobs they are trying to fill. It is clear that the company is poised for more growth in Yakima. We are pleased to see the company doing well and thankful for the positive impacts they have on our Valley.