OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee announced today that John Thornquist will head the Office of Aerospace, leading the state’s efforts to develop and grow Washington’s powerhouse $70 billion-plus aerospace industry sector.
Thornquist brings 28 years of business and engineering experience to his new position as strategic adviser to the governor. He will serve as the primary point of contact for North American and international aerospace companies looking to expand their presence in Washington.
Thornquist was managing director and CEO of Carbon Aerospace, an Everett-based engineering and manufacturing consulting firm specializing in carbon fiber composite structures. He co-founded engineering services company Global Aerosystems, which later became Kaman Engineering Services, where he served as director of Boeing programs. Under Thornquist’s leadership, KES earned Boeing supplier of the year honors in 2013.
“The aerospace sector is a major economic driver for our state, and I’m delighted to welcome John aboard in his new role,” Inslee said. “With his strong industry background, John will be a highly effective liaison between business and government as we work together to keep our state in its preeminent position as a global leader in aerospace innovation and manufacturing.”
“Aerospace and other industry sectors we target are the engines of our state's overall economy, but these key sectors really make their mark locally, where they are a critical element to strong, vibrant communities,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, where Thornquist will be based in the Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness. “Communities large and small, urban and rural, around the state depend on a robust aerospace industry. John’s position is a crucial part of our state strategy for meeting the diverse needs of Washington communities by supporting and expanding this key sector.”
“The aerospace companies and workforce here in Washington are second to none. I look forward to working closely with the Washington Aerospace Partnership, Gov. Inslee, Director Bonlender and the incredible ecosystem of businesses and stakeholders located in communities throughout Washington to keep growing and strengthening this vital industry sector,” Thornquist said.
Thornquist is a graduate of Arizona State University in mechanical engineering and earned his master’s in business administration from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.
Thornquist assumes the title Director of the Office of Aerospace on April 5.