The following development organizations are recipients of Expansion Solutions Magazine’s 2011 Awards of Excellence in the *** Defense*** industry category. These awards recognize organizations who have demonstrated exceptional progress and potential in the development of their areas -- by successfully recruiting, retaining and growing businesses. The winners below are listed in alphabetical order and are reflective of our top 5 selections.
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Fayetteville - Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce
Fayetteville-Cumberland County, North Carolina is an urban center of nearly 500,000 persons, including the service members at Fort Bragg, the "Home of the 82nd Airborne and Special Operations Forces." And, most recently, the United States Army Forces Command and United States Army Reserve command, have moved their headquarters to Fort Bragg. As a community, Fayetteville has supported the men and women of our armed forces through a number of programs. These programs were a key part of Fayetteville being recognized in 2011 as an All-America City by the National Civic League, the third time the city has won the award. The strong bond between the community and Fort Bragg has served to enhance the relationship with defense and homeland security companies who support the installation’s mission and the United States. Over 6,000 soldiers transition out of the armed forces annually and a large number stay in the area taking jobs in local companies. Highly disciplined and highly skilled, these talented individuals strengthen the existing labor pool.
As a community, Fayetteville-Cumberland County strives to provide the space companies need. They have several military business parks close to Fort Bragg, as mentioned the new home of FORSCOM and USARC. Due to the decisions made as a part of BRAC 2005, the area is going through a growth burst. In fact, Fort Bragg will be second only to the Pentagon in the number of General officers assigned. Recent significant growth has been seen in tech-related companies as well as R&D in numerous other fields. Numerous defense contractors are moving in to the area now that FORSCOM is in place.
Greater Jackson Alliance
In October, 2011, Governor Haley Barbour, officials from Lockheed Martin and state and local officials gathered at the South Pointe Business Park in Clinton, MS, to celebrate the grand opening of Lockheed Martin’s Mission Support Center. The company announced in April of this year it would be locating the operation in Clinton and creating 350 new jobs in the greater Jackson area. The Clinton Mission Support Center establishes the company’s Gulf Coast Technology Hub and will provide diverse technology services for Lockheed Martin’s federal customers.
As Lockheed Martin’s Gulf Coast Technology Hub, the Clinton location will work with the company’s other technology hubs located in Rockville, MD, and Altadena, CA, to offer enhanced technology capabilities to the company’s customers.
“Lockheed Martin is pleased to expand our presence in Mississippi, and we value the opportunity to contribute to the economic development of central Mississippi,” said Linda Gooden, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions business. “We truly appreciate the successful collaboration we have experienced working with federal, state and local officials to ensure we have the professional workforce and facility resources needed to open this world-class mission support operation here. We look forward to this continued partnership.”
Hagerstown - Washington County Economic Development Commission
Washington County and Hagerstown are historical aviation centers. The Hagerstown Regional Airport (HGR) has been a hub of the aviation business since before World War II, so consequently there is an available workforce with a strong background and training in aircraft maintenance and modifications.
HGR is a 400-acre complex within a secured perimeter and even has the second-longest public runway in the State of Maryland. With state-of-the-art navigational aids and unencumbered airspace allowing for flexible test flights, it has an established defense presence and is home to 40 defense and aviation firms with over 700 total employees, including Sierra Nevada Corporation and AgustaWestland North America, Inc.
Washington County is less than 90 minutes from 3 major airports: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI), Dulles International (IAD) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
In 2010, the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics (PIA) located an FAA-approved Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) education program at HGR. With the skills PIA graduates acquire from the program, they can work in many industries including: aviation, mechanical systems, hydro-mechanical systems, and the green technology field. As PIA graduates are extremely versatile employees, Washington County has the workforce to meet the aviation and defense industries' needs.
Hagerstown has an established defense presence and is an ideal place to conduct defense related work because it is outside of Washington, DC's highly-controlled air traffic area, but still within an hour's drive of the Pentagon. Existing infrastructure such as the extended airport runway, aviation workforce, telecommunications, and local shipping powerhouses nearby, help businesses easily succeed at HGR.
Metro Little Rock Alliance
Little Rock, AR
The Metro Little Rock region is home to one of the world's largest jet completion centers, as well as one of the Defense Department’s major aviation contractors and repair/refurbishment centers that serve major airlines. It is noteworthy that the region's aerospace industry weathered the downturn experienced in other segments of the aircraft industry because Metro Little Rock is a competitive location and the region fully supports its aviation employers.
Metro Little Rock is home to Dassault Falcon Jet Corporation and Hawker Beechcraft, two internationally recognized aircraft completion centers. Other national and international aviation/aerospace firms with a presence in the region include Triumph Group and AAR. Encouraged by regional support of entrepreneurial activities, other supply businesses have since opened to supply these and similar businesses within the industry cluster.
Universities, community colleges and other learning centers are expanding their aviation programs to educate and train skilled workers. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) College of Engineering and Information Technology is active in cooperating with aviation firms to develop engineers and engineering programs. The University of Central Arkansas provides a pre-engineering program. The Metro Little Rock region welcomes workers and their families from other areas in and out of state.
An important consideration is that maintenance facilities located in the Metro Little Rock region can attract customers from across a large region due to short flight times to the region.
Skilled and semi-skilled workers are readily available. Universities, community colleges and trade schools are educating and training workers in advanced manufacturing disciplines. In addition, the Little Rock Air Force Base, home of the 314th Airlift Wing, is an important source of expertise and labor from retiring maintenance and support personnel.
Quad Cities First
Davenport, IA / Moline, IL
Rock Island Arsenal is the only full service Army installation in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. The installation comprises a 950-acre island on the Mississippi River, with 336 buildable acres, 25 miles of roads, 6.6 million square feet of floor space and 503,000 square feet of office and warehouse space.
Rock Island Arsenal supports more than 54,000 Active, Reserve Component, retired military, civilian employees and family members within a 150-mile radius. Find out how defense companies benefit from being located in the Quad Cities.
Economic impact on the Quad Cities region:
•Largest employer in region
•Impacts over 14,000 community jobs
•Local economic impact is over $1 billion per year
•FY09 construction program totaled $124.4 million
•Home to over 70 Department of Defense organizations and private companies
•Arsenal Support Program Initiative (ASPI) encourages commercial firms to invest in underutilized space and leverages the installation workforce to support production by commercial firms.
•Currently 34 ASPI tenants with 204 employees
•Generating an economic impact of $80.5 million based upon a Computer Sciences Corporation assessment
•Installation workforce demographics:
•Total population of 8,031, representing an increase of 22% since 2005.
•Includes 6,115 civilians, 1,442 contractors and 474 military personnel.
•98% have high school or higher educational attainment and 47% have bachelors degree or higher