Though not often mentioned among aerospace centers of excellence, Rockford, Illinois, home to five major tier 1 aerospace suppliers, deserves a top spot on the list, according to the Rockford Area Aerospace Network (RAAN). The organization is making that case here at the Farnborough Airshow and points out that virtually every commercial and military plane in the sky has a part from Rockford, according to RAAN (Hall 2 Stand 23).
One of the leading aerospace employment centers in the U.S., the Rockford area has more than 200 diverse suppliers at all levels of the logistics chain, including assembly, inspection, testing, repair and software. More than 80 percent of Illinois’ aerospace workforce is found in Rockford’s area, and it has twice the U.S. average of manufacturing workers.
The city was on Boeing’s short list of sites under consideration for building its new 777X, while more recently Woodward, which provides products and services to the aerospace and energy sectors, broke ground on a $300 million second campus in the area for its aircraft turbine systems business, adding 1,400 jobs to the Rockford region’s economy.
Here at the airshow, RAAN and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity are eager to meet Farnborough attendees and explain the opportunities and capabilities the Rockford region offers.