Governor’s Choose Washington NMA advisory council highlights statewide aerospace strength with visit to industry assets in Spokane

Over 120 companies in the Spokane area support industry employers across the world, including Boeing, making it America’s fifth largest aerospace cluster

SPOKANE, Wash. – Gov. Jay Inslee’s Choose Washington NMA Council met in Spokane today, visiting the region’s aerospace assets that make the Inland Northwest the fifth largest aerospace cluster in the nation.

“We are invested in maintaining the largest and finest aerospace workforce and production capabilities in the world, now and far into the future,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “The depth and breadth of our state’s incredible aerospace resources is on display today as the Choose Washington NMA Council gathers in Spokane. The Council is continuing its important work to land the new mid-market airplane under consideration by Boeing, and develop other aerospace opportunities in Washington.”

Council co-chairs Rick Bender and Dr. Noel Schulz and members from around the state were welcomed by Greater Spokane Inc. CEO Todd Mielke, who provided an update on Spokane’s aerospace industry and its connections across the mountains.

“We appreciate the invitation to host the Choose Washington NMA Council in Spokane,” said Mielke. “Our local partners and regional aerospace supply chain companies are energized by this new opportunity, are ready to demonstrate why Washington is the right place for this aerospace program.”

Greater Spokane Inc. reported significant aerospace industry growth in Spokane County and the surrounding area, including an increase in new aerospace businesses and growth in already established businesses. Supply chain jobs number in the thousands at more than 100 companies in the area.

Even more jobs and economic activity in the region are connected to the aerospace industry, Mielke said. For example, 100 percent of Kaiser Aluminum’s more than 950 jobs are aerospace related.

Other major employers related to aerospace include Triumph, UTAS, Exotic Metals, AMI Metals, Fairchild Air Force Base (Boeing KC135s), and maintenance, repair, and overhaul positions in and around Felts Field and Spokane International Airport.

Spokane’s aerospace strength is captured in a draft assessment of the entire industry’s impact on Washington’s economy in 2017, prepared by Seattle-based Community Attributes for the Aerospace Futures Alliance on behalf of the Council. The Council is working to finalize the report for release.

Nearby, the Aerospace Futures Alliance’s NMA Supplier Task Force gathered aerospace industry suppliers and businesses from around the state. The AFA NMA Task Force is providing industry depth and perspective, economic development insights, and marketing intelligence to support statewide efforts to win design, production, and final assembly of the potential Boeing NMA.

“Working with the Aerospace Futures Alliance to win the NMA reflects our commitment to growing the aerospace industry in Spokane County. AFA’s NMA Supplier meetings are helping to shape the proposal that will be made to Boeing, and we are excited about being a part of this initiative,” said Mike Marzetta, President, Altek.

This afternoon, Council members will tour training programs preparing highly skilled and work-ready employees for aerospace and advanced manufacturing employers, visiting students in packed classroom at Spokane Community College and in the aviation maintenance program at Felts Field.

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Contact: Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, (206) 256-6106

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