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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Welcome to my travel journal!

As we make our final arrangements for our upcoming trade mission to Ireland and England, I hope you’ll follow along and visit this travel journal frequently as we promote our products overseas to create jobs here at home.

Along with approximately 40 leaders from Washington state — representing our aerospace, green-energy and technology sectors, I will be spending a week in Europe talking about Washington state – growing our businesses here at home, and attracting new ones to our state.

As you’ll hear from those I’m traveling with, there is no alternative to face-to-face introductions to launch new business relationships.

We know these trade missions pay off. Last June, my trade mission to Spain, France and Germany resulted in immediate new contracts. Here are a couple of the success stories shared with participants of the last trip:

ORION Aerospace

Federal Way, WA

As a result of the trade mssion, ORION developed several key relationships that the company was unable to develop before.

“One of those relations has resulted in two major contracts worth more than $4 million over five years. The contracts will increase employment at our Federal Way plant by about 14 people.”

Tom Brosius

ORION General Manager



Seattle, WA

After meeting with three automotive manufacturers during the European trade mission, Enprecis plans to hire 5 new employees to meet the demands of new contracts that resulted from the trip.

“We’re finalizing a deal with an auto manufacturer for up to $500,000 per year – with another multi-million dollar deal in the works.”

 Richard Counihan

Enprecis CEO


TLG Aerospace

Seattle, WA

Within months, TLG Aerospace is already seeing the benefits of their time spent at the Paris Air Show. The company is already in the process of solidifying several new contracts, and continues to work with other domestic and international clients met during the trip to secure even more. 

“The governor’s presence at the Paris Air Show opened doors and allowed high level meetings for local businesses that would not have been possible without her attendance. We’re currently working active proposals with four new domestic and international clients worth approximately $3 million.”

Steve Muenzberg

TLG Aerospace President and Chief Engineer


Absolute Aviation

Spokane, WA

 Absolute Aviation attended the trade mission with several goals in mind, and returned from the trip meeting them all. As a result of the trade mission, Absolute expects the company’s international sales will double in the next two years.  

“Absolute Aviation had multiple goals including establishing relationships with new European airline customers. That goal was met, with work already coming from Air France.”

 Randall Julen

Absolute Aviation General Manager

I know we’ll hear more stories of success during and following this trip. Follow along with us as we showcase Washington abroad. I’ve asked participants to join me in updating this travel journal – and we’ll share pictures along the way.


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