April 25, 2013, ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS – The Rockford Area Aerospace Network (RAAN), a committee of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC), has just returned from successful participation in Aviation Week’s annual MRO Americas Conference and Exhibition. The conference, which took place April 16 – 18 in Atlanta, Ga., is the largest gathering of MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) professionals worldwide.
Participating in the event allowed RAAN and its members to connect with industry professionals and promote the Rockford region’s key assets that specifically support commercial and cargo aircraft maintenance, repair, overhaul operations. Attracting a large MRO facility to the Rockford region would create hundreds of high-paying jobs for skilled workers and would help spur additional economic growth and investment in the Chicago Rockford International Airport’s (RFD) surrounding business parks. A large MRO facility could also help boost the UPS and international cargo activity at RFD, which would result in additional job creation and economic growth.
The main goals for RAAN at the convention were to identify opportunities for Rockford Area companies to grow their business through matchmaking and identify companies that can expand their business into the Rockford area.
MRO Show Outcomes:
- Increased interest and built awareness of Rockford region’s instant supply chain – companies impressed with the volume and breadth of aerospace and MRO companies in the area
- Company with plans to relocate a non-US division showed interest in Rockford Region
- Two companies considering their first Midwest expansion liked what Rockford had to offer
- Training institution that is considering adding new locations visited RAAN booth to explore options
“I am pleased with the outcome of the show. We had several conversations with companies ready to expand in the Midwest and our region is on their radar,” said Eric Voyles, RAEDC Vice President of National Business Development. “People are starting to recognize Rockford as an aerospace hot spot – it’s very exciting.”
Participating in the event also gives RAAN members an opportunity to grow their business and secure new leads. Regional companies that exhibited with RAAN were Ingenium Technologies, Chicago Rockford International Airport and Midwest Aero Support, Inc. Individually, Chem Processing, B/E Aerospace, GE Aviation, Esterline, UTAS, Woodward and Emery Air also participated as exhibitors.
The Rockford Region is one of the largest epicenters of aerospace activity in the country, home to more than 200 suppliers. There are more than 90 aerospace suppliers in the Rockford metropolitan area alone. The region leads the state in aerospace manufacturing employment, with more than 80 percent of Illinois’ aerospace workplace being found in Rockford’s metropolitan areas. This makes the Rockford metropolitan area sixth in the nation in terms of concentration of aerospace production employment and one of the largest in the nation in overall aerospace employment.
ABOUT THE ROCKFORD AREA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
The primary role of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council is to collaboratively enhance wealth creation in the Rockford Region by helping employers retain and create quality jobs while promoting the region. The RAEDC works closely with many partners to learn what existing and new employers need to grow and to serve as a one-stop resource for clients. The RAEDC seeks to improve the competitiveness of the region by taking what it learns from the regions employers engaging the community in the daily work of economic development to improve the competitiveness of the region.
ABOUT THE ROCKFORD AREA AEROSPACE NETWORK
RAAN (Rockford Area Aerospace Network) is a committee of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) and offers a platform for collaboration among local aerospace companies and institutions that serve the industry. RAAN serves as the forum where the Rockford region’s aerospace industry cluster development strategy is refined and advanced on an on-going basis. RAAN is supported by the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge and the Economic Development Administration division of the Department of Commerce. The Challenge leverages existing resources from 16 federal agencies and award funds to regions that demonstrate the existence of high-growth industries that support a wide range of economic and workforce development activities.