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King County Executive News

King County Executive News
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Oct. 19, 2011

Executive launches King County Aerospace Alliance to promote regional economic recovery and jobs

Competitiveness study proposed for completion in 90 days to strengthen local aerospace industry and position county for retention of Boeing 737 MAX

exec_aero_alliance_editKing County Executive Dow Constantine today joined with leaders in business, labor, education, and local government to launch a new regional effort to strengthen the local aerospace industry and position King County as the premier location to build the re-engined Boeing 737 MAX.

"The factories are here. The workforce is here. The ability to move goods is here. Now we must act to secure our future as the leader in this vital and still-growing sector," said Executive Constantine, at a news conference adjacent to Renton Municipal Airfield. "I am committed to working shoulder-to-shoulder with this group to build aerospace and keep aerospace in King County."

In naming the 16 members of the new King County Aerospace Alliance, the Executive announced his proposal to the King County Council for $100,000 to fund a competitiveness study that will assess the current state of the aerospace industry in King County, and report back within 90 days on actions members of the Alliance can take to support and grow the local aerospace industry. He also proposed $30,000 as King County's share of support for the state's aerospace partnership, the Pegasus Project.

The members of the King County Aerospace Alliance announced today are:

  • King County
  • City of Renton
  • City of Auburn
  • City of Tukwila
  • City of Bellevue
  • Seattle Port Commission
  • Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Kent Chamber of Commerce
  • Renton Chamber of Commerce
  • enterpriseSeattle
  • Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County
  • M.L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • Aerospace Machinists District Lodge 751
  • Renton Technical College
  • Shoreline Community College

"Renton has been proud to support aviation innovation and excellence as the home of The Boeing Company for 70 years," said Renton Mayor Denis Law. "The impact of this plant stretches throughout King County and beyond. We must work together to support Boeing, its suppliers and the aerospace industry as a whole, and continue to demonstrate that this is the best place in the world to build the 737 MAX."

"The success of this initiative will directly impact King County and our budget," said Metropolitan King County Councilmember Julia Patterson, chair of the Council's Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. "By creating more aerospace jobs, sales tax revenues from those employees will help support the County's ability to fund services that protect our safety and keep our community safe. I am committed to working with the County Council to get the funding in place to support the initiative and make King County and the State of Washington the most competitive place for the 737 MAX."

The Executive cited a strong foundation for King County's competitiveness:

  • Close to half of the 870 companies in the state that support commercial and defense aerospace are located in King County.
  • Roughly 40,000 engineers, machinists and other aerospace workers are in King County - more than half of all aerospace workers in the state - with the accumulated knowledge and experience of generations of workers who have built Boeing planes that is unmatched anywhere else.
  • King County owns Boeing Field, formally known as King County International Airport, in a partnership with Boeing that has lasted for more than 83 years.
  • Nowhere in the region do the air, land and sea transportation facilities tie together as they do in the Duwamish /Boeing Field area. Where other parts of the country have scaled back or eliminated new investments in transportation, the region is directing billions of dollars into major investments around Boeing Field and the Duwamish to move people and freight - the Alaskan Way tunnel, the South Park Bridge, Link light rail, and improved commuter bus service.

"Great companies need great workers with the right skills," said Marléna Sessions, CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. "The workforce development system in King County is capable and competitive, but we must step up to expand capacity and increase the number of skilled workers ready to go to work now, and train the next generation of aviation workers for the future."

"Our employees and their families hope that with the success of the King County Aerospace Alliance efforts we will be able to continue to be a reliable local supplier to the 737 line and future Boeing lines right here in King County," said Mike Moran, general manager of Cascade Gasket & Mfg. Co in Kent, since 1946 a Boeing supplier of silicone seals and rubber gaskets. The firm supports 125 family-wage jobs.

"Labor supports the coalition work that will keep aerospace work in Washington and King County," said Dave Freiboth, executive secretary of the M.L. King County Labor Council. "We have a strong working relationship with our coalition partners from business, education and government, and will work hard in support of collaborative efforts to keep middle-class jobs in our community."

The Metropolitan King County Council is set to consider the proposed supplemental appropriations at its next Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, Oct. 24.

For photographs of today's event visit www.kingcounty.gov/exec

View photos of the event on the County's Flickr website.