Mt. Pleasant aviation-based business ascends to new heights
It takes minutes for Mt. Pleasant's Louis Hout to walk to work each day.
Once he arrives, he said the sky is often the limit.
“I never thought I would be in the aviation industry, and now it has become a big part of my life,” said Hout, 27.
Since November 2011, Hout — a 2005 Mt. Pleasant Area graduate — has been employed as an account manager at the Mt. Pleasant office of the Pittsburgh-based JSfirm.com LLC Aviation Employment Service and Aviation Search Group.
JSfirm.com is an online jobs board for the aerospace and aviation industry that is similar to employment web sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, according to Sam Scanlon, an area resident and the company's co-owner.
Aviation Search Group is an executive and technical recruiting firm within the aviation and aerospace markets, Scanlon said.
The two companies combine to support aerospace and defense aviation industries both in the United States and internationally, Scanlon said.
Hout, a resident of Smithfield Street, travels by foot to the facility's office at 607 W. Main St. — the former site of George & Cunningham Hardware — which the company purchased in July 2011 when the hardware store closed.
Three to four times a year, Hout takes professional trips around the country to visit the company's clientele and appear at expos showcasing the aviation and aerospace industries, he said.
“I've been to Fort Worth, Las Vegas twice, Anaheim, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.,” Hout said. “It really has given me the opportunity to see the country.”
As one of 22 total employees between the local and Fort Worth-based company branches, both Hout — who handles hundreds of aviation accounts around the world — and his colleagues have contributed to the company's steady market growth since its current spot in the borough, Scanlon said.
“I am very proud to be part of this team,” Scanlon said. “They are all hardworking and take pride in what they do. Good people are what make us successful.”
Interest in services expands
When Scanlon and other company officials relocated to the 7,000 square-foot building on Main Street, it did so because it had outgrown its previous space at the Executive Building at 200 Bessemer Road in the borough, he said.
At the time, roughly 4,000 aviation companies were using JSfirm.com. Today that number is 6,000, Scanlon said.
Where there were 200,000 resume members on the site back then, there are now 400,000 members, he added.
In addition, the site averages 12 million hits monthly.
“Companies pay us to use this site to find potential employees,” Scanlon said.
While navigating he called “a tough economy,” Scanlon said, the company has been able to sustain 38 percent growth as it relates to those seeking the services it provides during the past three years.
“The compounding growth has been roughly 12 percent annually since the relocation,” he said. “Being related to the aviation industry, our business is normally tied to the ups and downs of the economy, but we continue to grow.”
At the time of the move, the company employed 15 people, Scanlon said.
“Over the next two years, we plan to add 12 to 15 more employees,” he said. “We have a good product, with great people, and we're really going after it.”
The kinds of positions Scanlon hopes to fill at the company include executive recruiters, a recruiting sales manager, a marketing official and what he called “customer advocates,” or those who deal directly with clientele and updating associated data, he said.
Business is set in borough
Driven by strategy, companies similar to Scanlon's often will base operational headquarters near commercial airports, he said.
However, the Mt. Pleasant site works for what the local company is doing, he said.
“I think Mt. Pleasant is a great town; there's a lot of room for a business to operate,” Scanlon said. “And we've been able to find good talent in the local area.
Borough resident, Kylie Hissem, 19, is a 2013 Mt. Pleasant Area graduate who also was recently hired to work there.
The success the company is experiencing could benefit the borough going forward, said Nino Barsotti, president of the Mt. Pleasant Business District Authority.
“We're very happy that they're doing well,” Barsotti said. “We're hoping that's a sign of things to come in Mt. Pleasant. We have some new store fronts on Main Street, and we hope that's an indication of the revival of the borough's business district.”
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.