Zodiac Aerospace taken to new heights with recent acquisition by Safran
Many may not be aware, but Santa Maria’s roots in the aerospace industry extend beyond Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Santa Maria Airport. Zodiac Aerospace has a history in Santa Maria dating back to the 1980’s. Over the years, the company has served a variety of airlines by providing interior commodities for companies including Bombardier, Embraer, McDonnell Douglas/Boeing, and Airbus.
In 2008, Zodiac Santa Maria launched a campaign to manufacture seating units, referred to as “seat shells” by the organization. Their sister seating businesses provided the seats, and Zodiac provided the privacy unit for enhanced comfort and customer experience. Business boomed from 2008 to 2013, and in 2013, Zodiac Aerospace split into two businesses: Zodiac Seat Shells and Zodiac Cabin Interiors.
Zodiac Seat Shells remained at 2641 Airpark Drive, while the Zodiac Cabin Interiors business moved to 2850 Skyway Drive. The split allowed the single business to divide into two more agile businesses. As a result, Zodiac Seat Shells saw tremendous growth from 2014 through 2017.
Despite the growth, Zodiac experienced some turbulent times from 2015 – 2017. In February 2018, the French owned aerospace company, Safran, acquired Zodiac Aerospace.
“While a company never wants to see itself going through hard times, this provided a perfect opportunity for Safran to help the previous Zodiac business to get back on top again,” explained Tony Guy, who has worked with the company over 20 years and currently serves as Safran Cabin Executive Vice President, Floor to Floor Division.
Today, the Zodiac Cabin Interiors business has rebranded to Safran Cabin and the Zodiac Seat Shell business has rebranded as Safran Seats. These two locations serve as the headquarters for each of these Santa Maria operations. Combined, these two Santa Maria businesses employ approximately 850 people.
“The changes that have been brought upon by Safran have helped to stabilize our business,” explained Guy. “The recent acquisition has been good for both Santa Maria businesses, and we continue working toward a successful migration into Safran Seats and Safran Cabin.”
Guy has seen Safran through its ups and downs over the 27 years he has worked for the company, and continues to love what he does and the people he works with. “I’ve stayed with the company because of the amazing people we employ,” Guy explained, and said that many people are not aware of the amount of local talent Safran has at their company.
“Our business has attracted many world class leaders and some of the best engineering talent in the world. Our proximity to Cal Poly and UCSB has provided tremendous engineering resources, and Allan Hancock College has provided training and college skills to vast numbers of our workforce,” Guy explained. “Our workers are dedicated, hard-working and very reliable. It is an honor for our businesses to be part of the Santa Maria Valley community, and with the recent acquisition, I’m excited for the future of Safran here in Santa Maria.”