2019 has been a big year for Park Aerospace, a company that operated a facility at the Newton City/County Airport for about 11 years. 

Not only has the company announced an expansion project, but it is celebrating its 65th year as a company.

Park started by Jerry Shore and Tony Chiesa on March 31, 1954,  in a small factory in Woodside, Queens, New York with five employees and first year’s revenues of $124,206.59 — through the first year’s after-tax profit was $621.17.

“We owe everything we have and everything we are to Jerry and Tony, our beloved founders. Jerry and Tony started the company with almost nothing, but they had the courage and conviction to overcome the many obstacles and challenges which came their way. Jerry and Tony were unstoppable in their day, and they achieved great things against serious odds," said Brian Shore, Park’s Chairman and CEO.

The company grew and then began to transform.

"We are so deeply grateful to Jerry and Tony for founding our company and for passing down to us their unstoppable spirit. That unstoppable spirit is what allowed us to complete the transformation of Park from an electronics business to an aerospace business against very steep odds,” Shore said.

The company has divested itself from other business units, becoming an aerospace-only company — and Newton is the focus.

"Park is now an aerospace company, and that will be what we do for the next 65 years," said Park Aerospace Senior Vice President Mark Esquivel. "What is special and unique about it is that we reinvented ourselves. We were historically an electronics company; now we are an aerospace company. Even though we are at 65 years, it is a new era for us."

That began, really, 11 years ago, when the company broke ground on a facility at the Newton City/County Airport.

"It was a lot of hard work, good people and dedication," Esquivel said. "It was a wheat field 10 or 11 years ago and we built it from the ground up. ... We want to recognize the people that have been here and worked really hard to build this up."

About 100 people currently work at the Newton location.

Esquivel has been in Newton for nine years. The last 12 months have been some of the most exciting — with a 10-year celebration of the Newton facility and the announcement of a large expansion of that facility.

The expansion will include the construction of a redundant manufacturing facility located adjacent to Park’s existing facilities. This redundant facility, which according to Park Aerospace, is being constructed in part to support a major aerospace customer. The facility will include approximately 90,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space and will essentially double the size of Park’s existing Newton facilities.

The total cost of the expansion is expected to be approximately $19 million, and the expansion is expected to be completed in the first half of the 2020 calendar year. Projections show the company adding 73 employees to the current roster of 90 over the course of 10 years. Projects show an estimated $21.3 million in wages paid to new employees over the next 10 years. Construction is expected to begin within six months.

Park Electrochemical Corp. is an aerospace company that develops and manufactures solution and hot-melt advanced composite materials used to produce composite structures for the global aerospace markets. Park’s advanced composite materials include film adhesives and lightning strike materials.

Park’s advanced composite materials are used to produce primary and secondary structures for jet engines, large and regional transport aircraft, military aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (also known as UAVs or drones), business jets, general aviation aircraft and rotary wing aircraft. Park also offers specialty ablative materials for rocket motors and nozzles and specially designed materials for radome applications.