TULSA (AP) - Howard Duke says he is tired of hearing about gloomy
""All we hear about is the bad times,'' he said. ""We need to
publicize some of the good news and the aircraft industry is real
President of Duke Manufacturing Inc., which he founded 14 years
ago, Duke has seen his aircraft parts fabrication plant grow to 60
Currently, Duke holds 46 U.S. Department of Defense contracts
worth $3 million, has been hiring ""a few'' workers and expects to be
hiring more in the next two or three years, he said.
Duke Manufacturing's success story is being repeated in varying
degrees across the city, according to industry officials and federal
Four years ago, 44 Tulsa firms contracted for $368.2 million worth
of business with the Defense Department.
In 1986, 64 Tulsa corporations hold defense contracts worth $519.5
million - a 41 percent increase since 1982, according to the Defense
Contracts Administration Services Region, Dallas, which manages
federal agency contracts in a six-state region.
Products manufactured in Tulsa under the contracts range from
first aid supplies, flight training manuals, aircraft and naval
training simulators, spare parts for aircraft, tanks and ships to
communications cables, telecommunications systems, fuel tanks,
weapons pylons and portable shelters, officials say.
What this means for the metropolitan area is that almost $1 of
every $13 of goods and services produced in the Tulsa economy this
year will have been generated directly or indirectly by Pentagon
spending, officials say.
And, while Tulsa's economic cornerstones, agriculture and oil,
show little prospect for near-term growth, officials say the city's
aerospace and high technology industries are in high gear and could
bring more jobs, more growth and more Pentagon spending in the
But, as the recent announcement of layoffs of 100 workers at
Rockwell International Corp. demonstrates, there may be pauses in the
overall employment upturn generated by increased defense spending.
As early production lines of Rockwell's B-1 bomber program wind
down, however, Air Force officials are making preparations for
long-term maintenance and support programs for the B-1 that could
total $1 billion, officials said.
Maj. General William P. Bowden, commander of the Oklahoma City Air
Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base, alluded to Tulsa's
aerospace potential recently when he urged local firms to submit bids
for parts and maintenance contracts on the B-1 bomber.
The B-1, 100 of which are being built for the Air Force by
Rockwell International Corp., will be brought to Tinker for periodic
maintenance, beginning in 1988, Bowden said.
""Last year, $100 million (in Tinker contract work) went to
Oklahoma businesses,'' Bowden said. ""I think more and newer
technology has been assigned to Tinker (during the past year) than
during the past 20 years.
""The potential for selling spare parts, jet engines, is there.
""I feel very good about the future and about some of this high
technology (work) coming into Tulsa. …