June 27, 2013, ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS – The Rockford Area Aerospace Network (RAAN), a committee comprised of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) and the State of Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Office of Trade and Investment, has just returned from a successful trip to the prestigious 50th Annual International Paris Air Show. RAAN and its members were able to attend the show due to a state awarded State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant. The grant funded nine Illinois companies to attend the trade show; six of the companies in attendance were from the Rockford region. The local companies that attended included:
- American Precision Assemblers
- Chicago-Rockford International Airport
- Ingenium Aerospace
- Ingenium Technologies
- Midwest Aero Support
The goal of the show was to seize new business opportunities and forge technology partnerships. RAAN’s continued participation in the Paris Air Show solidifies the Rockford region’s globally-recognized brand as a leading, international aerospace cluster. The participation of Illinois companies at the Paris Air Show also helps further Governor Pat Quinn’s goal of doubling Illinois exports by 2014.
While at the show, RAAN visited with representatives from 37 companies, including France, Germany and Great Britain. Additional outcomes from the show included:
- Increased interest and built awareness of Rockford region’s instant supply chain;
- Successful conversations with three different groups that represent MSA clusters in Europe
- Meeting with the largest state in Germany that represents 10 percent of the population and economic activity in Germany;
- A potential partnership with a group that represents the aerospace cluster in the southeastern portion of France; and,
- An engagement with a German company who is looking to do more aerospace & aviation business in the United States and showed interest in Rockford Region.
“The Paris Air Show was the perfect opportunity to expose Rockford to companies and representatives located all over the world,” said Eric Voyles, Vice President for National Business Development at RAEDC. “We met with several representatives and highlighted the fact that we are one of the largest epicenters of aerospace activity in the United States. The show was great exposure for Rockford and it allowed us to increase foreign direct investment in our region, which ultimately will lead to new business development and more job creation.”
The Paris Air Show is the largest and world’s most prestigious tradeshow focused on bringing together the biggest aviation and aerospace companies to showcase the latest technological innovations. Approximately 2,100 companies exhibit from 45 countries and 151,000 trade visitors attend the show. Since its inception, the show has been at the heart of the development of the aviation and space industry and over the years has become one of the industry’s major networking events.
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 workforce 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.