State companies enter deals, key relationships at Paris Air Show

Nearly 300 meetings yield new contracts, propel business dealings, attract investment for state’s aerospace and commercial space industries

OLYMPIA, WA – Company executives participating in the 2017 International Paris Air Show this week as part of a “Choose Washington” trade delegation led by state Commerce Director Brian Bonlender and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-01) report numerous successes as they close out business and head home from the huge biennial event in Le Bourget, France.

Gov. Jay Inslee would normally have led Commerce’s international trade and business development activities at the air show to highlight the importance of the global aerospace sector to Washington’s economy. Unable to attend this year due to unresolved state budget negotiations, Inslee requested that U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) stand in for him and co-lead the delegation with Commerce Director Bonlender.

“In Paris, Washington’s largest-ever delegation proved yet again that Washington state can compete and win on the biggest aerospace stage in the world,” said Congressman Larsen, the top-Ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Aviation. “The resources, contracts, and connections our delegation is bringing back to Washington state will boost jobs and the economy in the Pacific Northwest. Thank you again to Governor Inslee for asking me to lead the Washington delegation, and congrats to everyone on a job well done.”

“It was an exceptional week for Washington State.  The official delegation of 18 companies, six county economic development groups, and more than 65 delegates worked tirelessly in sweltering heat up to 14 hours a day to make deals, attract investment, and grow jobs in our state,” said Chris Green, Department of Commerce assistant director for economic development and competitiveness.  “We were by far the best-represented state delegation at the biggest aerospace trade show in the world.”

Among the highlights reported out on the final day of business at the show:

  • One delegate established a procurement contact with Lockheed Martin on the first day of the show. They had been unsuccessful finding the right entry point over the past several months working from the United States.
  • Another delegate is very close to securing a $3 million deal with a major original equipment manufacturer (OEM) after speaking with several international suppliers who are involved in the project during the show.
  • An announcement by Germany’s Premium AEROTEC that they would be opening an office in the Seattle area accompanied the signing of a formal Memorandum of Understanding between the Washington State Department of Commerce and the State of Niedersachsen, by Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.
  • Commerce arranged six group procurement discussions for the delegation, including meetings with Boeing United Kingdom, Thyssenkrupp Aerospace (Germany), and Cobham UK, based in Dorset, England. Cobham, a Tier 1 supplier to all major OEMs, is known for innovative technology solutions for problems from deep space to depths of the ocean. They met with six Washington companies.  One delegate called the discussion the most “fruitful” meeting of the show.
  • Commerce facilitated over 250 individual meetings for delegates, in addition to the group procurement meetings.
  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) was the focus of 40 meetings where Commerce staff reported more interest than ever this year in commercial space platforms for future investment strategies. Washington state is home to one of the world’s top emerging commercial space sectors.
  • Three standing-room-only business networking events hosted in the Choose Washington stand featured VIP speakers from Blue Origin, EMC2 (technology and advanced manufacturing cluster in Nantes, France) and Microsoft France.
  • One delegate had a drop-in meeting with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries that opened the door for a potential work package, saving the local company from making an additional trip to Japan this summer to explore this opportunity.

    Speaking to value of the significant, state-led presence at the all-important Paris Air Show, several delegates noted the access to CEO-level decision makers with current and potential clients and buyers. Normally they would be in contact only with procurement representatives.

    “This was the best Washington stand and management from Commerce at any show that Orion has joined in the past,”  Tom Brosius, general manager of Orion Aerospace, a leader in manufacturing and precision metal fabrication for aerospace, defense, automotive and marine industries worldwide, and veteran of multiple Washington state trade show delegations.

    “We had the best location in the U.S. Pavilion,” said Jim Davis, director of business development, Sagetech, makers of the world’s smallest aviation surveillance equipment.

    “The stand presented Washington state very well,” said Charles Woods, director of business development, Westwood Manufacturing, specialists in precision machining, sheet metal assemblies, plastic thermoforming and kitted components for UAV, aerospace, defense, space and marine industries.

    About 1,400 companies comprise Washington’s renowned aerospace industry supply chain, which serves Boeing, Airbus and every other major aircraft manufacturer in the world. More than 136,000 workers support the aerospace industry in Washington which is also a growing hub for space commercialization. Visit our website for a downloadable Delegate Directory and more information.


    Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6102

    Douglas Wagoner, Rep. Larsen, (202) 226-9716

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