Releases updated statewide Aerospace Industry Strategy
SEATAC, Wash.—Just before boarding his flight to attend the Farnborough International Air Show outside London, Gov. Jay Inslee released the first annual update to Washington’s statewide aerospace industry strategy.
“Now that we have secured the future of commercial airplane production in Washington state for decades to come, we must look to the future to grow and diversify this essential industry,” Inslee said. “This updated strategy outlines our strategic flight plan for success.”
Winning final assembly of the Boeing 777X and its carbon fiber wing for Washington was the paramount goal of the first-ever strategy released by Inslee in May 2013. The updated five-year plan looks beyond this victory to not only strengthen the state’s position in commercial aerospace, but expand in unmanned aircraft systems, space exploration, aviation biofuels and other emerging industry subsectors.
Stakeholders from across the state contributed input to the updated strategy, which documents the progress made on the 2013–15 action items and establishes new priorities for the coming year. The strategy is organized in four sections:
- Growing and Diversifying Washington’s Aerospace Cluster — strategies to build upon current strengths, allowing existing companies to thrive, attracting new investments and diversifying the aerospace industry in Washington
- Cultivating a Deep and Talented Aerospace Workforce — developing a robust pipeline of aerospace workers, from inspiring the youngest children to pursue educational pathways that lead to aerospace careers, to producing skilled laborers to work on the factory floors, to educating high-quality engineers, designers and researchers
- Fostering a Culture of Aerospace Innovation — building upon the state’s wealth of resources to facilitate the discovery of new technologies and bring them to market so that not only the best airplanes in the world are built in Washington, but the manned and unmanned air and space vehicles that may come next are envisioned, developed and manufacturing in the state, too
- Strengthening Washington’s Aerospace Support Chain — how government, nonprofits, educators and others organize and work together to support the Washington aerospace industry while ensuring that the infrastructure, tax policies and regulatory framework that provide for a high quality of life for all Washington’s residents is in place
“This is Washington’s moment,” said Alex Pietsch, director of the state’s Office of Aerospace. “I’m looking forward to getting to Farnborough to show the world we are ready and taking further action to capitalize on the success of the 777X and bring even more jobs and economic activity to our great state.”
“There are opportunities to expand aerospace jobs in every corner of Washington, from Everett to Spokane, Bellingham to Bingen,” said Bob Drewel, president of the Washington Aerospace Partnership, the nonprofit consortium of business, government and labor organizations that helped position Washington to win the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker, 737 MAX and 777X. “Our board of directors, with representation across the state, was pleased to help develop this strategy and is committed to helping the governor, Legislature and all the stakeholders implement its recommendations.”
Inslee will open the Washington state exhibit at the 2014 Farnborough International Air Show July 14. This will be the state’s most prominent showing to date at the air show. Farnborough and the Paris Air Show are widely considered the largest global aerospace industry events. They take place on alternate years. Inslee is travelling with a delegation that includes business executives, economic development professionals and local government and academic leaders.
The governor was originally scheduled to depart the trade show on July 17 to return to the state. Instead, he will leave London on July 15 to fly to Washington, D.C., for a meeting of the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.
You can follow the governor’s activities in the United Kingdom on his trade mission blog and on Twitter with the hashtag “#WAtrade14.”