Governor’s Choose Washington NMA Council continues aerospace industry meetings in Kitsap County

Leaders in state’s “most affordable place to live” tout high educational attainment, multi-modal access to international markets, highly skilled labor pool and $6.1 billion defense economy as strengths in Washington’s bid to design and build proposed Boeing middle-market airplane

Leaders spearheading the effort to win design, production and final assembly of Boeing’s potential new middle-market airplane (NMA) met in Kitsap County today, where a $6.1 billion defense economy and Bremerton’s 3,400-acre Puget Sound Industrial Center – the largest such greenfield site in the Seattle region with an adjacent airport – bolster the state’s business case for large aerospace programs.

NMA Council members were briefed by U.S. Congressman Derek Kilmer and representatives of the Port of Bremerton, Kitsap Aerospace and Defense Alliance (KADA) and Kitsap Economic Development Alliance (KEDA).

“In our state, the aerospace industry has meant jobs and opportunity for a long time.  And the good news is that Kitsap County and other parts of our region have the skilled workers and turnkey infrastructure that aerospace businesses are looking for,” Kilmer said. “I’ll keep working with our governor and leaders at every level of government to ensure Washington’s workers can continue competing for the great jobs in this industry and throughout our changing economy.”

Prior to the meeting, council members and aerospace stakeholders toured Bremerton National Airport, situated in the center of over 3,400 contiguous acres, described as the largest greenfield industrial development site in Puget Sound, with conceptual plans for up to 200,000 square feet of additional buildings.

“We’re very pleased to be able to host the NMA Council at the Port of Bremerton; it’s an opportunity to showcase the assets at the Port as it relates to aerospace, space and business development,” said Port Commissioner Axel Strakeljahn. “We have the largest industrial center west of the Puget Sound, assisting and supporting the aerospace and space industry. We look forward to sharing in the success of the next generation aircraft being built in the greater Puget Sound.”

If any industry is hard wired into the economy of  Puget Sound, it would be aerospace. Photo: Morf Morford

If any industry is hard wired into the economy of Puget Sound, it would be aerospace.            Photo: Morf Morford

In addition to a large defense sector that supports over 40,000 jobs, Kitsap County is home to nearly two dozen aerospace companies employing hundreds of skilled workers and growing.

“We think the advantages of this area are, on the one hand, proximity to tech, the availability of tech in aerospace and defense. These are large industries here. On the other hand, we have a great place to live,”  Anna Reyes-Potts, general manager of TMF Inc. said in a KADA video. TMF is one of the area’s growing contract manufacturers, providing precision machining, engineering and value-added services to aerospace and defense companies.

Kitsap county’s affordability – ranked number one by the Puget Sound Business Journal last year for the best purchasing power in Washington state – proximity to Seattle, scenic waterfront communities, and skilled and flexible workforce add to its competitive advantages for current and prospective employers.

Central Kitsap Schools feature an aviation classroom, and the Bremerton School District offers a magnet STEM school. Olympic College is one of only 44 colleges and accredited by the FAA as a certified member of the Technical Operations Collegiate Training Initiative. The college offers state-of-the-art training facilities for composites manufacturing, precision machining, electronics and manufacturing technology. Washington State University has bachelor of science degree programs in mechanical and electrical engineering in Bremerton.

Well-educated and highly skilled workers are one of the standout reasons Washington state is overwhelmingly ranked as the best place for aerospace design and manufacturing, according to an independent study of U.S. aerospace competitiveness released in June by the Teal Group. (Download report here – http://www.commerce.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Final-ACES-Report.pdf)

Guided by strengths and opportunities identified in the Teal Report, Gov. Jay Inslee’s Choose Washington NMA Council is a concerted effort by aerospace industry and community leaders throughout the state. The council wants to make sure Washington is ready with the highest return on investment and ultimately secure design and production of the new Boeing airplane if, and when, the company decides to move forward.

Similar to previous meetings held in Snohomish, King, Spokane and Pierce counties, the council discussions in Kitsap County centered on the essential role of Washington’s numerous and diverse aerospace supply clusters in the state’s overall competitive position.

    – Choose Washington