In 1986, at age 18, Mario Diaz came from his native Argentina "to spend a couple of months." Twenty-five years later he is CEO of Cabin Crafters, a fast-growing completion and refurbishment center tucked away in the suburbs of South Hackensack, N.J., five minutes from Teterboro Airport.
Business is "good and getting better," confirming Diaz's decision to move into a new 23,000-sq-ft facility last year. Cabin Crafters currently takes up about 15,000 sq ft of the space, and another 8,000 is occupied by a tenant.
Much of the business at Cabin Crafters comes in the form of interior components construction–seats, cabinetry and shell liners. Shops for these items are located at the South Hackensack facility, along with design, engineering and administration. The company holds a Part 145 repair station certificate and recently received an STC and PMA for a cabin liner kit for the AgustaWestland AW119 Koala.
While there is no direct access to Teterboro Airport, a specially outfitted heavy truck carries cabin components and an installation crew to Teterboro, and farther. Cabin Crafters has managed major refurbishment installations at airports throughout the tri-state area and as far away as Maryland.
According to Diaz, Cabin Crafters can handle major refurbishment work on helicopters as well as fixed-wing aircraft as large as a G550.
Cabin Crafters is developing a 16-g side-facing divan, with support from B/E Aerospace, as well as working on a 16-g seat re-upholstery job.
Diaz figures the $500,000 investment in the new facility was money well spent. "In 2008 we were beating the bushes for skilled workers and had four and five refurbishment projects going at the same time; then came the recession, which hit the bottom some time in late 2009," he said. "But in 2010 we've seen things starting to improve. We survived [the recession] rather comfortably. We had a good backlog of work, and a good backlog of customers who remembered a small job we did for them and came back for a bigger one.
"As for 2010, if things continue to improve, we have that additional 8,000 square feet, and I guess we'll have to start beating the bushes again for more skilled workers." To read a profile of Cabin Crafters, go to www.ainonline.com/cabin_crafters.