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Kitsap aerospace ... more progress – more lift – more to come

This past year marked a milestone in Kitsap’s efforts to participate in our region’s ever-expanding aerospace manufacturing sector, both commercial and military aircraft.

Last June a contingent of Kitsap Aerospace & Defense Alliance (KADA) leaders joined the Washington State Department of Commerce’s delegation to the 2013 Paris Airshow. Last July Kitsap welcomed its first full-fledged tier one aerospace manufacturer – Omohundro Co. Today, Omohundro employs dozens of skilled workers at its Port Orchard plant, manufacturing sophisticated composite structures for a variety of aerospace companies around the globe. By year end, Boeing solidified the future of aerospace in our region when it announced that it would build the new 777X in Washington — our region’s aerospace sector has been ramping up ever since.

Last month KADA again joined forces with our partners at the Washington Department of Commerce and participated in The Farnborough International Airshow, represented by an enthusiastic contingent comprised of Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido and KADA co-chairs Tim Thomson, Captain USN (ret.), and yours truly. 

Over five days, our contingent conducted client service and business development meetings with senior leaders from numerous aerospace and defense firms, many already engaged in Kitsap. We met with numerous firms who were previously unaware of Kitsap and informed them of the many competitive assets and attributes our community has to offer the industry as we laid the groundwork for future engagement. Our message was clear: Kitsap boasts a multi-generational legacy of sophisticated manufacturing and complex industrial operations; a highly skilled workforce; access to a robust supply chain; excellent infrastructure and proximity to the I-5 corridor; competitive cost of living and doing business; and, the most balanced and quite arguably best quality of life in the Greater Seattle Market. 

Our steadfast commitment to promoting Kitsap as a great place to pursue advanced manufacturing opportunities, whether it be in the defense or aerospace sector, has, and will continue to, yield measurable results. Today there are four Kitsap-based manufacturing firms supplying products and parts to our region’s robust aerospace supply chain. While that might not seem like a lot in light of the hundreds and hundreds of aerospace suppliers found in the Central Puget Sound Region, that’s four more than just two years ago. Moreover, it means an awful lot to the hundreds of skilled engineers, machinists and production workers that make a good living in Kitsap providing goods and services to the aerospace industry. 

Kitsap — a leader in the defense industry, an emerging player in aerospace — a great place to do business, to work, live and play.

 • John Powers is executive director of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance.


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