Governor’s Choose Washington NMA Council, aerospace suppliers convene in Pierce County to continue work on new airplane opportunity

A regional network of over 600 aerospace firms, including those in Pierce County, form an essential link in the state’s supply chain, depending on infrastructure investments around Washington to meet just-in-time delivery expectations

LAKEWOOD, WA – Leaders in the effort to win design, production and final assembly of Boeing’s potential new middle-of-the-market airplane (NMA) met in Pierce County today, where proximity to OEMs and major trade routes has created a diverse and dense supplier ecosystem.

The conversations come days after reports of movement in the company’s program study office led some analysts to speculate on the plane’s inevitability.

In response, Gov Jay Inslee said “We don’t take this opportunity for granted. Washington state’s skilled workforce and world-class suppliers offer the highest return on The Boeing Company’s investment in new airplane programs. We’ve proven it for the 737, 747, 767, 777, 787, and soon the 777X, and we will again for the NMA, if offered the chance.”

Both industry and community leaders throughout the state are working to make sure Washington is ready if, and when, the company decides to move forward.

Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier and Bruce Kendall of the Economic Development Board Tacoma Pierce County joined local suppliers engaged in Aerospace Futures Alliance’s NMA Task Force this morning. Similar to previous and ongoing meetings held in Snohomish, King and Spokane counties, discussions in Pierce County centered on the essential role of Washington’s many aerospace supply clusters in the state’s overall competitive position.

“Aerospace is a major driver of jobs in Pierce County” said Executive Dammeier, who represents Pierce County on the NMA Executive Council. In his opening remarks, Dammeier added “We have invited you today because your companies play a critical role in the supply chain and the regional network of 92,000 trained aerospace workers. Together as suppliers you provide good family wage jobs which are critical to our economic prosperity.”

AFA formed the industry task force to help craft the “NMA Home Team” proposal.

“AFA is engaging with aerospace stakeholders across Washington, identifying areas where industry can provide value to the state’s proposal while also seeking to strengthen the supply chain. This is the first time in Washington’s history that an industry-led effort has been conducted for new airplane development,” said AFA President and CEO Kelly Maloney, who represents the aerospace industry on the NMA Executive Council. “There has been an impressive level of participation in the AFA NMA Task Force in Pierce County, which has the third largest concentration of aerospace and related businesses in Washington.”

The county’s aerospace economy is highly diverse, supporting Boeing and other aerospace firms with composites, plastics, advanced materials, fabrication, machining, tooling, testing, engineering, metal finishing and assembly.

Like other suppliers across Washington, Pierce County firms depend on air, sea, land and rail to deliver products on time to customers around the globe. Ensuring the dependability of these connections is the topic of this afternoon’s Choose Washington NMA Council meeting.

Washington State Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Patty Rubstello reported on progress of the state’s $16 billion Connecting Washington transportation infrastructure investment as well as the $54 billion investment in light rail. Leaders from around the state also highlighted the billions in planned local investments before 2040.

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

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