TACOMA, Wash. – Tucked away on a quiet Puget Sound peninsula, Browns Point, a small business helps fuel a global mission.
PSI Solutions is one of more than 650 KC-46A Pegasus suppliers in communities across the nation that deliver critical components to assemble the world’s most advanced multi-mission aerial refueler.
Twenty-seven years after co-founding PSI Solutions out of his garage in nearby Federal Way, president Tad Papineau and his team of more than 10 employees are proud to be a key supplier for Boeing’s KC-46 program and play a crucial role in supporting the nation’s armed services.
“To know that we had a little piece in helping the war fighter go out and complete their mission and most importantly, return home safely at the end of the day to their family and their teams, really puts a smile on our face and helps us feel good about things,” said Papineau, who also runs a second office in Portland, Oregon.
The company – founded in 1995 to service the test instrumentation, embedded systems and imaging system needs of Pacific Northwest aerospace manufacturers –supports the KC-46A Pegasus in multiple facets of production.
PSI Solutions supplies components used to construct the 767-based airframe, and it supplies parts for the automatic test equipment used to verify airframe quality construction. The company also provides ramp test equipment and hydraulic power supplies that support the mission once the tanker is deployed.
Ashley Hutchinson, quality systems manager, emphasized that PSI Solutions’ commitment to the KC-46 and U.S Air Force mission did not slow down during the pandemic.
“We did not miss a single day of operations,” she said. “We have been there standing by our customers and our manufacturers as well, serving them every single day.”
Lori Heric, director of operations and finance, noted that PSI Solutions’ dedication to the mission is reflected in the investments the company has made to ensure production stability in the event of supply chain challenges.
“We feel it is very important for PSI Solutions to be a partner with our customers and our suppliers,” Heric said. “So we have made tremendous investments in equipment and inventory to ensure that – if there are any gaps in the supply chain – that we are able to close those gaps.”
For Heric, who has been with PSI Solutions since 2004, the company’s ties to the U.S. Air Force’s mission through supporting the production and operation of the KC-46A Pegasus gives her a sense of pride.
“I can be really proud to say, whenever you see everything from the KC-46 program, I had a part in building that,” she said.