Wrapped up our time at Farnborough…

As we returned to the Air Show today- so did the rain! We were stuck in some absolute downpours today. I’d like to say it’s Washington state’s way of increasing our presence here in London – but I here it’s sunny and in the 80s back home! That theory isn’t working for me anymore!

All kidding aside – we had another phenomenal day – and continued to meet with some of the top executives in aerospace, including Boeing President and CEO Jim McNerney. Another highlight at the show today was meeting with folks with Pacifica Engineering. This is a company based in Bothell which announced today that it was selected as a key supplier for Bell Helicopter’s new 525 Relentless program. A picture of the helicopter is below.

More good news came from Bellingham-based Heath Tecna – which announced that the company has been selected to replace bin interiors for Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft. Good news for the company – and good news for you! Their design means 30 to 40 percent more overhead bin capacity for you and other passengers! And since last year’s visit to the Paris Air Show – Heath Tecna has added 170 jobs! Amazing!

Both of these announcements underscore the skill of our world class supplier base – as well as the importance of events like the Farnborough Air Show where our businesses can continue to build relationships that literally serve the world.

I should also mention an important memorandum of understanding that we signed at the Air Show – between the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance and Aéro Montréal, Québec’s aerospace cluster. The agreement will allow the organizations to exchange information about programs and initiatives, and their respective member’s needs and capabilities – and will ultimately help both organizations grow our respective region’s aerospace industry!

This afternoon – we switched gears a bit – and turned our attention to our state’s high tech sector. We traveled to Paddington to introduce members of the trade mission delegation to executives at Everything Everywhere, the largest mobile network operator in the United Kingdom, serving 28 million customers. This was a good introduction meeting that I’m confident will lead to new partnerships and expansion opportunities.

Enjoy the pictures below!

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A few more pictures…

I wanted to share a few more pictures from the trip. The first is the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Washington state exhibit inside the U.S. Pavilion. A lot of excitement! I’ve also included a picture following the MOU signing with Dassault – as well as a couple taken while stopping by Umbra Cuscinetti – which announced a significant expansion in Washington state!

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Big News!

Wrapped up my first day at the Farnborough Air Show – and it couldn’t have gone better! My staff and I met with more than a dozen aerospace companies – encouraging them to either do business with Washington state aerospace suppliers, or locate offices in Washington state. I’m more than confident that these conversations will lead to great results –

Speaking of great results – what a day for Washington state from Farnborough! Not only did Boeing announce a record deal for the 737 MAX (great news for our suppliers!) – we also had a string of announcements that will lead to additional new jobs in Washington state. Watch the video below – this is me congratulating Umbra Cuscinetti – an aerospace supplier that announced today it is expanding in Washington state – and adding 100 new employees. Fantastic news!

Today we also learned that Washington based Aerojet will be expanding its space rocket engine business into Europe. The company already employs 450 high tech workers at its Redmond offices. The new European venture is expected to provide key subcontracted work for its facility in Redmond, providing not only revenue growth but job growth for the region. More great news!

Fokker Aerostructures also informed me during a meeting today that it plans to add 60 engineers to its offices in Mukilteo!

To top off the afternoon – Dassault Systèmes signed an agreement with the Washington Board for Community and Technical Colleges – which will make CATIA, Dassault Systèmes’ computer-aided design (CAD) program, available to the state’s two-year colleges at a deeply discounted price. The agreement will allow thousands more students to train on the cutting-edge software required by Boeing and other aerospace employers. Dassault Systèmes’ has agreed to sell 1,200 educational-use licenses of the 3D training software to the state board for $9,150, or $7.63 per license. Individual colleges have paid between $200 and $350 per license in the past!! That’s tremendous savings – thank you Dassault!

We do it again tomorrow!

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Eye-opening trip to Warick

Submitted by: Leigh Felton, Commerce Assistant Director, Business Services 

A group of us representing five companies and the Department of Commerce split off from the main delegation who were headed to Farnborough today, and instead, we ventured out of London to the town of Warick, where we visited Warwick Manufacturing Group. I have to say… what an amazingly fascinating place! Definitely one of my favorite stops on the tour so far. WMG was founded in 1980 to help invigorate UK manufacturing. It is considered an academic department of the University of Warwick and employs 280 full-time as well as a host of industry partners and advisors.

This was a great opportunity to learn more about how WMG manages their manufacturing R&D and Technology transfer, and expose our companies working across similar technologies and platforms to new partners in the UK.

We heard from experts working across Digital Media, Marketing Systems, High Value Manufacturing, future of Healthcare devices, Digital technologies and user interaction, virtual business eco-systems, and a host of other intriguing programs. We spent a full day understanding the WMG’s strategy as it relates to these program areas, and exposing the Washington state companies who have similar backgrounds and expertise, to examine partnering opportunities. There are plans underway already for continued connections post-trip. I look forward to being part of those discussions, and even seeing how the state of WA can utilize technologies to partner and strengthen our own ecosystem and clusters.

I must say, this has been an extremely long 6 days already for me! You hear about how demanding the schedule is for these missions, and I don’t think you can really comprehend it, until you are here, going through it, being in the meetings, seeing everything and everyone come together. I am so impressed, and proud of the Governor and our team for a job well done! I look forward to getting into Farnborough for my first peek tomorrow morning… starting early! and going through the night… this is what it’s all about.

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Expanding Opportunities!

Written by: Alex Pietsch, director of Governor’s Office of Aerospace

Cheers, Chester!

We had a fascinating visit to the Airbus A380 wing box production facility just across the border in Wales.

If you’re not familiar with the A380, this is Airbus’ superjumbo, double-decker airplane. And, as a lady at the pub last night described it, it’s “massive!” The wings are too, of course–each one is 36 meters long!

Similarly to a place much more familiar to me, the Boeing Renton Plant, airplanes have been built in Broughton since WWII. British Aerospace built the Wellington Bomber here. But, the A380 wing factory is much more recent, opening in 2003. It is a heavily automated production process involving giant tools custom-designed by Mukilteo-based ElectroImpact.

By the way, Airbus’ uses a incredibly complex logistical process in getting the A380 wings and all it’s other giant component parts to their final assembly location. To see this trains, planes, and automobiles story, watch this video: http://videos.airbus.com/video/iLyROoafvDZB.html.

Airbus presents an additional opportunity for Washington’s 700+ aerospace suppliers. The company currently spends $12 billion buying products from suppliers in the US and they want to grow that investment by billions in the coming years. Since we’re home to the largest aerospace supply chain in the country, we’re a natural to gain more of that business. In fact, Washington is already the 3rd most important state to Airbus in terms of the number of suppliers ( we have 25 Tier 1 suppliers) and 5th in terms of dollars spent (approximately $200 million annually).

A few of us had a strategy session with the head of North American procurement and we committed to working together to help capture this opportunity for Washington companies. I look forward to building this relationship and further diversifying our aerospace industry.

Now we’re off to London and preparing for Farnborough! Cheers!

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Day 3 – feeling good!

From: Gov. Gregoire

Day three and the trade mission has already been a success! We started in Ireland where the message is simple—Ireland wants to do business with Washington companies, and the time is now. The economic recovery of both regions depends on trade and new investment and between us we have the opportunity to kick-start that conversation. I’ve been asked why Ireland, a country with a smaller population than the US, is a valuable partner. The reason is simple—it’s a country that aligns with our Washington values and it’s the entry point for the EU market. We can’t afford to ignore the opportunities there.

We met our goal of introducing Washington state to the people and the government of Ireland. In a meeting with the Prime Minister I was able to share with him the impressive Washington companies that also call his country home—like Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Blue Nile, Popcap Games, Big Fish Games, and so many more. In addition we launched a very exciting project with Open Hydro, one of the few designers and builders of tidal wave energy. They are partnering on a project with Snohomish County PUD that promises to be truly groundbreaking in providing clean energy (and the first tidal energy in the US) to Washingtonians.

In an unprecendented opportunity, our aerospace delegation visited Bombardier in Belfast where the message was simple—they want to do business with Washington state suppliers. Our message is simple as well—we want to do business with them!

Finally we ended our third day with visits to Mukilteo based Electro Impact and Airbus. In Wales, Electro Impact is building the wings for the A380. An impressive factory, Airbus too is looking to partner with more strategic and smart companies and we are ready to help make those connections happen.

As evidence of our success we are already seeing deals take form and agreements take hold. The value is clear—in these tough economic times when we are trying to rebuild our economy through a variety of means, we must be out knocking on doors and reminding people around the world that Washington is among the best states to do business and we are ready to make that business happen!

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Another busy day –

While I have a few minutes – thought I’d share a few more pictures from the trip. Today – I introduced our aerospace delegates to top executives at Airbus. I think very few Washingtonians realize that we have 720 aerospace supply companies in our state (up 30% since 2005!!). Of course their value is immeasurable to Boeing – but these companies also serve other plane manufacturers around the world. Our meetings with Bombardier and Airbus will no doubt open new doors for these delegates. Couldn’t be more pleased!

Also below are some pictures from our tour of Electroimpact. This company is an aerospace supplier based in Mukilteo that not only supplies Boeing, but designs and builds the massive machines that assemble the A380 wing. Amazing to consider that we have talent from both sides of the Atlantic helping our state economy grow!

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A few pictures…

Just like the last trade mission – this one has been rain-soaked! We bring Washington with us wherever we go! (Although I’m hearing it’s been sunny and warm back home – don’t tell any of the delegates that! I need them to stay focused!) And like every trade mission – this trip’s schedule has been equally jam-packed. Thought I’d share a few pictures from Ireland.

The first is a picture of me with Senator Katherine Zappone – what an impressive woman! I shouldn’t be surprised though – she was raised in Washington! Born in Spokane – went to elementary and high school in Seattle. After attending college in Ireland – she stayed, and was recently appointed Senator. She’s now a tireless advocate for equal rights. You’ll also find a picture of me with the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny. The group shot is following a successful meeting with executives at Bombardier – our delegates made a fantastic impression! I’m confident that business meeting will lead to new growth and expansion in Washington state. The last shot is from our tour at OpenHydro. Wow – that was amazing. This is the company selected by the Snohomish Co. PUD to build and install 2 marine turbines at a tidal energy pilot plant in Admiralty Inlet, west of Whidbey Island. Talk about Washington state leading the future!

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A Day of Titanic Proportions

Written by: Rogers Weed, Director, Department of Commerce

Turned off my alarm on my first full day here in Ireland and promptly went back to sleep for an hour causing me to miss half of our delegation breakfast – jet lag is literally and figuratively a drag!

Fortunately, though, I got to breakfast just in time to hear Senator Katherine Zappone – Irish member of Parliament and Spokane native – wax eloquently on the state of things in this country and opportunities for future collaboration. In addition to being the only other place in the Northern Hemisphere besides Seattle that is cloudy/rainy and cool at this time of year, Ireland boasts substantial aerospace and software activity.

While the Governor went off to morning meetings with Irish officials, the bulk of our delegation traveled by bus to Belfast to meet with Bombardier, tour their factory and talk about doing business with them. The Belfast plant began life as the Short Brothers company and had the first ever contract (with the Wright Brothers!) to build a commercial airplane back in the early part of the 20th century. Today this operation builds fuselages and a number of other parts for several Bombardier airplanes.

Procurement here directly spends over $500 million per year on goods and services and influences the roughly $5 billion of worldwide procurement that Bombardier Aerospace does each year. The message from Stephen Cowan (General Manager – Supply Chain/Aircraft Assembly) was “I don’t need to be convinced that Washington State is a good place to do business.” He was very complimentary of our suppliers, said he benchmarks himself against much of what goes on in our state and yet he said that he knows very few of the companies that operate in our state personally and “that is not right.” Needless to say, business cards were exchanged!

Following that, we toured their machining and assembly operations and then made our way around the airport to a brand new building built to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the launch of the Titanic, which was manufactured right here in Belfast. We had lunch, toured the museum (which is *very* well done) and then had a two hour networking event where each of our delegation members met with local Belfast companies around potential business opportunities. We finished with a group picture on an exact replica of the staircase in the ballroom aboard the Titanic.

From here, it’s on to Chester, England and a tour of the Airbus factory in Broughton, England tomorrow!

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On my way!

Written by: Alex Pietsch, director of Governor’s Office of Aerospace

It has been three months now since I began my role as the Director of the Governor’s Office of Aerospace and Executive Director of the Washington Aerospace Partnership. I really can’t believe how fast the time has flown by. I also can’t believe that tomorrow, I’ll join Governor Gregoire at a delegation of some 45 economic developers and industry professional in the United Kingdom to share the exciting story of Washington, the Global Aerospace Leader.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about the caliber of the itinerary that we have developed for this trade mission. We are meeting with the premiere aerospace firms around the globe and we’ll be making the case for these companies to do business with Washington-based suppliers and to expand and/or locate new operations in our state. With more than 700 aerospace related firms and 92,000 workers in the aerospace industry, Washington is home to the largest and most robust aerospace supply chain and workforce in the world. I am certain that we’ll be able to convince these companies that if they’re not already a part of it, either doing business with Washington companies or with a physical presence here themselves, they are missing out on a tremendous opportunity.

Like the Governor, I look forward to sharing my observations (both in writing and in photographs) and exciting announcements from along the road both here and in social media via twitter and facebook over the next two weeks. For those of you on Twitter, I’ll be using the hashtag #WAAero and the official hashtag of the Airshow, #FIA12.  

Finally, I’ll leave you with a video that was produced by the Department of Commerce and will be displayed on Jumbotron screens located in and around the Farnborough International Airshow site. Washington truly is the Global Aerospace Leader. Throughout this trade mission, we’re going to make sure the rest of the world knows it!

To view the video, click here.

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