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Millions of Consumable Products for the Aerospace Industry

The History of Jaco Aerospace

The History of Jaco Aerospace

In the late 1960s, Art Carr founded Burbank Plastics, a small plastic fabrication and supply business. Operating out of a small office and warehouse in Hollywood, California, Art left his full-time sales role with EIS, Inc., an electrical insulation supplier, to build his startup company's success story.

Robust Growth Continuing for Jaco

Growth and Expansion

After two years of successful sales, Art purchased a retail storefront called Valley Plastics, where he sold plastic sheet protectors and supplies for hobby and business customers. He then moved Burbank Plastics and Valley Plastics to a single location in Burbank, California. Art began focusing his business on the design and fabrication of custom plastic sheets for trade and retail customers, and he continued to specialize in retail and business-to-business plastic sheeting, electrical insulation, and specialty plastics.

Major Client Acquisition and Business Shift

With Lockheed Aircraft located just down the street, Art built this account to be his most significant customer. Valley Plastics continued to expand, so Art sold the plastic sheeting business to one of his employees. While he continued to operate in the exact location, he switched his focus to serving the aviation industry.

Founding of Jaco Industrials

In 1971, Art partnered with his long-time friend, Father John, to found Jaco Industrials, naming the company after the first letters of their names and “CO” for the company. While Father John assisted Art in startup fundraising and office support, he remained a somewhat silent partner to Art. The retail side of the business (Valley Plastics) closed in the mid-1980s, and Art focused on the B2B and wholesale business until 1991.

New Ownership and Continued Service

1991 Art sold Jaco Industrial to Steve Coy, who relocated the business to Hacienda Heights, California. Steve managed Jaco Industrial, keeping it small and focused on servicing its customers. Continental Airlines (now United Airlines), was Jaco’s biggest customer.

In 2006, Freida's husband left t a major real estate firm to start ElJet (a jet charter company). As with most startups, finances were tight. Intrigued by aviation since she was a child and now a firsthand witness to her husband’s charter business, Freida began a search for her own business to augment the family’s income. She evaluated multiple opportunities because she wanted to continue to balance her role as a mother and businesswoman.

Acquisition and Strategic Direction

In 2008, Freida Schusterman found the right opportunity and purchased Jaco Industrial. Eager to take this company to the next level with a digitally driven business model, Freida set the strategic plan to build Jaco to the leading aviation and aerospace industrial supplier in North America and beyond.

“When I purchased this business, I was told it was not easy to advance in this industry,” Freida says. “Challenge accepted.”

Technology-Driven Expansion

By mapping a strategic vision to become a technology-driven resource for customers, including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, Collins Pratt & Whitney, United Airlines, the U.S. Armed Forces, the Federal Aviation Administration, and NASA, Freida leveraged her talents and her team of specialized contractors’ capabilities to guide a lean, service-focused organization.

Freida’s husband, Berel, joined Jaco part-time as vice president in 2008 and continued to serve in a fractional role while operating EIJet Aviation Services (a jet charter company) until 2017. During the first ten years with Jaco, Berel supported Freida in driving the strategic direction, long-term vision, high-level decision-making, and people strategy. He stepped in to drive technology innovations and compliance certifications. At the same time, Freida focused on growing the company portfolio and the team they needed to become the aerospace industry’s leading supplies distributor.

Portfolio Growth and Market Leadership

A year after purchasing the organization, Freida began an acquisition strategy to grow Jaco’s capabilities. Starting with the purchase of MTP Inc. Exporters, Freida and her team continued to build value by adding chemicals, extrusions, fabrics, adhesives, and sealants to their portfolio. The company briefly became Jaco MTP Inc., and in 2010, Freida changed the name to Jaco Aerospace to focus its mission on serving aerospace companies.

2011, the organization grew significantly, so Freida relocated the warehouse to Pasadena, California, to accommodate more people and specialty supplies. The following year, she acquired Western Manufacturing, an aerospace fitting distributor. Seeing the need to expand the warehouse again, Jaco relocated to another warehouse facility double the size of the original Pasadena location.

In 2014, Freida acquired Tapes Plus Inc., a well-known, innovative, and recognized leader in the worldwide distribution of aircraft and industrial tapes. The acquisition essentially doubled the size of the Jaco parts and supplies portfolio. Jaco again increased warehouse facilities to accommodate the Tapes Plus stock and processing equipment.

At this point, the Jaco portfolio was the leading supplier of aerospace supplies, and they continued to grow year-over-year. To continue to offer value and streamline operations, Freida facilitated another move to a remodeled 10,000-square-foot facility in Pasadena.

Overcoming Industry Challenges

The year 2020 presented significant challenges to the aerospace industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shutdowns and supply chain delays were some of the issues faced by the industry. Fortunately, Jaco was able to weather the storm well by diversifying its products to include aerospace, defense, industrial, and space. This enabled them to maintain their staff even during difficult times.

During the pandemic, Jaco took advantage of the situation and worked on building new infrastructure while incorporating operational improvements. They are now focusing on growing their technology optimization in the future.

“Growing our catalog to 7 million parts over the past six years, we knew we needed to invest in our technology to continue to be the aerospace industrial sourcing leader,” Freida says. “Our technology is unsurpassed, and we have built a proprietary platform that allows us to source and quote quickly and efficiently. We focus on refining this technology to increase our agility and service.”

Berel focuses on perfecting search engine optimization for the industry’s leading supply website, which has more unique visitors than almost any other aerospace distribution company. He guides the technology team in maintaining a seamless quoting process—RFQ to delivery. He leads a team of infrastructure engineers who deliver the best e-commerce experience for the aerospace industry.

In 2022, knowing that they would finalize the arduous process of becoming a NIST and CMMC-compliant organization, Jaco Aerospace brought in a director of operations to oversee the warehouse and direct the daily operations of the Valencia warehouse.

We quickly increased warehouse efficiency by investing in infrastructure improvements, including a new racking system. With his specialized background in aerospace warehouse operations, he immediately saw room for process improvements. Focusing on throughput, inventory management, and team function improved customer and employee experience. 

Freida’s business acumen and impact as a leader show in every aspect of the Jaco business. She leverages the right talent and people-first company culture to deliver the best purchasing and procurement experience in the aerospace industry. According to her team, she is deliberate about building work-life balance in every team member’s life, and she shows how much she cares through employee recognition, internal promotion, and training and development.

2023: Expansion and Milestones

Over the past two years, Jaco Aerospace has achieved significant growth and reached several important milestones. Here is a summary of our recent progress:

We expanded our global presence by opening a new office in Indianapolis, allowing us to better serve European and East Coast clients with extended office hours of 12 hours daily.

Our website underwent a significant redesign, which resulted in a 150% increase in web traffic and established us as the leading website in the aerospace distribution sector.

In October of 2023, we were certified by the Woman's Business Enterprise National Council WBENC as a certified Woman Owned Business.

In December 2023, Jaco Aerospace, a proud woman-owned small business, achieved a perfect score of 110 in the Joint Surveillance Voluntary Assessment (JSVA). This assessment was conducted by the DCMA Defense Industrial Base Cybersecurity Assessment Center (DIBCAC) and a CMMC Certified 3rd Party Assessment Organization. It confirmed our strict compliance with the 110 cybersecurity standards of NIST SP 800-171. This accomplishment secured our "DIBCAC high" score and automatically advanced us to CMMC Level 2 Provisional Certification, making us one of only 54 companies to reach this milestone.

2024: Further Recognition and Expansion

The year began with Jaco Aerospace being honored by Northrop Grumman as one of 70 companies, selected from 14,000, to be named a Northrop Grumman 2024 Supplier of the Year. This award is a testament to our steadfast commitment and excellence in the aerospace industry.

The good news continued as Jaco Aerospace was awarded a significant Long-Term Supply Agreement (LTA) with a top-four US airline.

We increased our workforce by 30% to support our growing operations and future ambitions. We also opened the Jaco Aerospace Warehouse and Planning Facility in Santa Clarita, which expanded our warehouse capacity fivefold and improved our logistical operations.

These achievements represent not just milestones but stepping stones toward future success. Under the leadership of our experienced Chief Operating Officer, Cameron Grant, we are geared up for more innovations and operational advancements.

At Jaco Aerospace, we remain dedicated to upholding the highest standards of security and service while supporting our clients and contributing to national security. We are privately owned and firmly committed to staying private and independent.

We see robust growth continuing to head our way, and we hope to continue telling the Jaco story as it develops.