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Dean Baldwin News

Dean Baldwin Grand Opening, Grissom Air Base

May 19, 2023

A collection of Miami County luminaries and out-of-town guests gathered at Dean Baldwin Painting for the company’s grand opening of the new Grissom Air Reserve Base facility Thursday morning.

From the Peru Tribune Posted Friday September 27th. 
By Eric Stoff estoff@perutribune.com

Before the ribbon was cut, Jim Tidd, executive director of Miami County Economic Development Authority, recognized and thanked people who were key in the development of the 155,000-square-foot facility. He also thanks the funding partners for the $14.2 million project with a sheepish laugh. 

“This is a great day for the community,” Tidd said. “This is something we’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time.”

Mayor Jim Walker started a speech by joking that Tidd had a full head of hair when he started the project. Walker said in 1994, the community was shocked to learn Grissom Air Force Base would be realigned, eliminating 4,500 jobs and making a $102 million economic impact, but it has taken advantage of the valuable asset.
“When you’re handed a former military base, your first question is ‘What are we going to do with this thing?’”, Walker said. “What we (did) here in Miami County is what we do in any situation. We roll up our sleeves and we get to work.”
He said the community will see the fruits of its labor for “a long time coming.”
“We have come from the shocking news in 1994 to a celebration in 2013. This is truly a success story for all to be proud of,” Walker said. 
Walker welcomed Dean Baldwin Painting Chief Executive Officer Barbara Baldwin “as a friend and corporate partner,” thanking her for believing in the community.
Tidd said he met Baldwin at a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul show in Dallas, Texas in April 2009. He waited by Baldwin’s tent, and, once she was free, inquired about her interest in expanding to Hangar 200 at Grissom. She said yes.
“I was fumbling for my business cards. Out of a thousand times you hear no, you hear one yes,” Tidd said.
Baldwin spoke about the importance of family. The company was started by her father-in-law as a side business for their family. 
“This company is not me,” she said. “It’s all of us.”
Vice President of Business Development Rick Smith spoke of the importance of treating business like a family. 
“The decisions we make in everything we do are, much like the decisions you may make in your own family…long-term, for the good of everyone,” he said, adding the company will celebrate 50 years of business in 2015. 
Dean Baldwin Painting opened a facility in Roswell, N.M. in 1999; San Antonio in 2003; Phoenix, Ariz. In 2012; and now Peru in 2013. The hangar in Peru is the only one the company owns that can take in a wide-body 747 commercial airline. 
Baldwin was impressed with the appearance of the facility from the outside, especially since it was built in the late 1950s, Tidd said.
“I said at (the) groundbreaking, ‘That’s an ugly duckling, but it will be a beautiful swan someday,’” she said. “I get chills.”
There are now 150 full-time employees at the facility, and about $1.8 million has been paid in payroll since painting started in March. Baldwin said she wants to hire 30 more employees immediately and have 200 employees for the beginning of 2014. 
She said the Hangar 200 facility at Grissom is “the best state-of-the-art aircraft painting facility owned by an independent (company) in the United States.”
Baldwin signed a 30-year lease to operate the four-bay hangar, and during a tour of the facility, she mentioned the possibility of staying 60 years. 
Local officials spent $14.2 million over two years to make Hangar 200 suitable.
The hangar was funded by five sources: a $7.1 million loan from the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) to Miami County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA), a $3.1 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant, a $2 million Office of Continuity and Rural Affairs (OCRA) grant, $1.5 million in Miami County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) and a $234,000 Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) grant. MCEDA Executive Director Jim Tidd said last month the loan is backed by Miami County CEDIT money.
Tidd said MCEDA views Baldwin as the potential beginning of a suite of aircraft service businesses at Grissom. He anticipates businesses will take advantage of the downtime afforded by painting a plane to perform other services from cleaning to engine maintenance. 
“Since the realignment of Grissom, the community has had a vision for revitalization with the aviation tools left behind,” he said. “We have a variety of opportunities for new businesses.”
Baldwin said last month being closer to the coast was a major factor in a Peru location for the company. 
“Airlines factor in how far they have to take the airplane…into the cost,” she said. “Being close to central markets really helps us.”