Shockwaves following Boeing announcement

“The Boeing Company’s announcement that they would be moving the corporate offices to another state sent as much of a shockwave throughout surrounding communities as the recent earthquake, and many county and state departments reacted to it. Martha Choe, directorWashington State Office of Trade and Economic Development, said the department was deeply disappointment to hear the news.She noted that the Boeing Company, which has been in the community for 85 years, was keeping its primary manufacturing operations, which employes nearly 80,000 people, in Washington State.Choe added that the company’s commercial airplane operations will remain a strong and significant sector of the state’s overall economy.The state of Washington is home to many of the nationa’s leading companies including: Microsoft, Weyerhaeuser, Costco, Starbucks, Voice Stream, Immunex, Nordstrom, Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), Plum Creek and others.These firms continually benefit from Washington’s highly skilled and productive workforce, a high quality of life, favorable infrastructure and tax structure, strong community commitment, cultural diversity, and numerous other amenities, said Choe.Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the country and is uniquely positioned as a gateway to global markets. In 2000, exports from Washington state to other countries totaled over $32 billion. Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg said that Thirty years ago Boeing was forced by an economic downturn to make drastic employment cuts. Billboards reminded the last person leaving Seattle to turn out the lights.Today, Boeing announced bad news for our region. Fortunately, we learned an important lesson decades ago, and steps were taken to diversify our economy. Although the Boeing situation is serious, there is no need for turning off the lights. The loss of Boeing’s corporate officers and staff should spur us even farther along the diversification path.His sentiments were echoed by David Graybill, president/CEO of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, who issued this statement:Boeing’s announcement Wednesday that it will move corporate headquarters out of the Puget Sound will apparently have no direct impact on the Pierce County manufacturing facility at Frederickson, he said. The regional exonomic impact of this administrative move will be tempered inasmuch as the area’s commercial jet manufacturing operations will remain in place.However, the loss of Boeing’s full corporate presence will be felt throughout the region and serves as a strong reminder that we should be busy growing the businesses that will be our leaders of tomorrow. “