More than 80 companies are in the aerospace supply chain in Pierce County, creating a local industry that observers say is changing rapidly to meet increased global demand for commercial air travel and a competitive marketplace. That’s the backdrop for the Pierce County Aerospace Summit on July 27 at the University of Washington-Tacoma. The host is Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County.
During the roughly half-day conference, the first of its kind in Pierce County, business owners and managers already involved in the aerospace industry or trying to expand into it will hear from experts in workforce training, taxes, business financing and defense contracting.
The keynote speaker will be Drew Magill, Boeing’s marketing director for commercial airplanes. He’s expected to present Boeing’s market outlook, including projections for global demand for commercial aircraft over the next several years.
Boeing’s influence in Pierce County made news last December with a new contract between Boeing and its union machinists that is expected to keep the final assembly of the company’s 737 airliner in Renton. Parts for the 737 are built at Boeing’s plant in Frederickson, and the county is home to nearly 100 Boeing suppliers and thousands of people who work at the Renton and Frederickson facilities. County Executive Pat McCarthy, a member of the Economic Development Board, said the county “has a strong aerospace cluster that employs thousands of workers, whether that’s directly with Boeing at its Frederickson plant or with suppliers who work in metal fabrication, plastics, composites, tool manufacturing or software development.”
She noted that “every direct job created in the aerospace industry” generates about three jobs “across all sectors of the local economy. Growing our aerospace employment is good for everyone in Pierce County.” The Aerospace Summit is “an opportunity for aerospace suppliers to learn more about available services and resources in the region,” said Bruce Kendall, president of the Economic Development Board. The summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at William Philip Hall on the UW-Tacoma campus. Organizers said space will be limited. Participants can register to attend at www.edbtacomapierce.org.
Before Magill became the head of marketing for Boeing’s commercial airplane business, he held other marketing and director positions for the company, including regional director for Boeing’s United Kingdom/Ireland market. He also has served the company as a financial analyst and an engineer.