The Traxxall team led by Jeff Dougherty, second from left, and Dewayne James, right. The Montreal-based company recently opened its first U.S. office in Orange Park because of an increase in aircraft business and the local talent base.
Tracking maintenance on cars can be easy.
An engine light may come on. There could be a note in the automobile’s user guide that suggests a tune-up every 25,000 miles or new tires at 40,000 miles.
Plenty of people often don’t follow schedules, though, letting suggested updates go until it becomes imperative to look at what’s needed and cringe at the costs.
Airplanes, however, are different.
There can be no procrastination — the Federal Aviation Administration requires benchmarks be met or the plane can quickly be grounded.
Traxxall Technologies specializes in keeping tabs on those maintenance schedules, as required by the FAA. The Montreal-based company recently opened its first U.S. office in Orange Park.
The expansion came from a significant growth in clients.
Not the big jetliners that fly out of airports like Jacksonville International Airport — those companies have their own enterprise resource programs.
Instead, think corporate and public safety fleets that share the air.
They’re ones that seek out companies like Traxxall, which provides aircraft maintenance tracking and inventory management systems.
How it works: Owners must track maintenance to ensure different parts of an airplane only travel so far before coming in for review or replacement. Traxxall essentially builds a template for each aircraft and loads customer data.
From there, the company works with owners, notifying them when service will be needed to ensure plenty of time to schedule maintenance.
Traxall isn’t responsible for actually doing the work — that’s on the owner.
“We can’t turn wrenches on aircraft,” said Jeff Dougherty, a maintenance analyst leading the Florida office.
However, Dougherty and most of the office’s five employees have that kind of background.
Before coming to Traxxall, Dougherty served in the U.S. Navy for 21 years with several stints in Jacksonville. He and his family called it home after retirement.
It’s examples like his that partially explain why Traxxall chose Northeast Florida to expand, he said.
There is an abundance of military and air experience that, along with area colleges, provide a ready, skilled workforce.
The other part? There’s been a boom in business, with at least 100 planes recently signing up for the service.
For now, the office is in a nondescript strip mall on Blanding Boulevard, just south of the Orange Park Mall.
Dougherty said the company decided Nov. 4 to expand with a Dec. 1 deadline to be up and running.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” he said, with a laugh.
The whirlwind included finding space, purchasing equipment, hiring employees and getting them situated.
For now, the office is still fairly bare. The white-walled space has a few cubicles and computers with spreadsheet programs constantly in motion. There are taped signs on the door.
Dougherty said in a year, it will be a different scene.
Four empty spots will be filled and the office should have an influx of clients seeing the programs in action along with employees training.
One of the perks of the job is the ability to work remotely. However, there still needed to be a somewhat central walk-in U.S. office. The Jacksonville talent so close by also was a benefit.
And soon, there will be an even bigger visual presence.
“We’re going to have a giant Traxxall sign out there,” he said, happy to do away with the makeshift paper signs.