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Almost 40 years ago, Bruce Anning, the founder and VP of technical operations of Advanced Composite Structures Inc. (ACS)–the rotor-blade repair experts based in Winnipeg, Manitoba–was hired as a junior at Composite Technology Inc. (CTI). That company had been the brainchild of the late Keith Harvey, whom Anning refers to as “the pioneer of rotor-blade repair.” Now, Harvey’s legacy is moving into a new stage as part of ACS, with a brand-new facility in Northern California.
Anning, who started at CTI in 1981, quickly moved up in the company and “started to build a very positive relationship with Keith,” he recalls. Then, “Back in the late ’80s, Keith decided to put the Composite Technology group up for sale. I was looking to put my name on the map and started Advanced Composite Structures in 1988. We put our nose to the ground, and off we went.”
As ACS grew, it established other rotor-blade repair centers in New Zealand and Florida. Meanwhile, Harvey re-entered the business, founding a new company called Rotor-Tech International (RTI) in his hometown of Stockton, California.
Gradually, discussions began to take place with the Keith Harvey founded company, RTI, about working together. “The initial thoughts were to merge, to use the synergies of the two corporations to take on more opportunities,” says Anning and it came to fruition in early 2015, when ACS acquired ownership of RTI.
“Now, we’re looking for areas of improvement,” says Anning. “A lot of work went into blending methodologies; a lot of it was blending the Canadian culture and the Western U.S. culture, and trying to follow the success stories of the two companies. It was apparent that they needed a more state-of-the-art facility, so in May 2018 we acquired a 20,000-square-foot [1,860-square-meter] facility located right at the Stockton airport. We’re working on plant modernization of that facility.”
Opening its doors in February 2019, the new RTI rotor-blade repair center will be “the most advanced rotor-blade repair facility in the world,” says Anning. It will have state-of-the-art equipment and a layout designed to maximize efficiency. “Through increased efficiencies, along with improved quality, quicker turnaround times and exceptional pricing will be the end result for our customers.”
Continuing on Anning’s motto of “Fixing Problems, Not Symptoms, using Sound-Solid-Solutions,” ACS is now a world leader in rotor-blade repair. “This is the next chapter in ACS’s growth; this new facility will be used as a standard,” says Anning and it “positions RTI for world-renowned greatness.”