Aerospace: What You Need To Fly High

Aerospace sales growth broke records for the fourth year in a row. Here’s where to go to plan for your next expansion.

For the fourth year in a row, U.S. aerospace sales increased in 2007 in virtually every industry sector. The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) expects that 2008 will extend this trend.

“In 1964, total sales in our industry were about $20 billion,” says Marion Blakey, president and CEO of AIA. “In 2007, [we reached] almost $199 billion in sales.” 2008 is forecasted to punch through the $200 billion mark by approximately $11 billion, she adds.

There has been steady growth in the space, missiles and related products categories. The increase is more substantial for military aircraft: 10% to reach $54.8 billion. Civil aircraft saw a remarkable jump to $53 billion, a 16% increase.

“We are also on pace to see unprecedented levels in aircraft shipments, at $185 billion; orders, at $261 billion and backlog, remarkably, at $360 billion. This suggests an extremely solid footing for our industry for at least the next two or three years,” Blakey says.

“One of the most important statistical categories we track is foreign trade balance,” she says. “Exports should total $93 billion and imports $36 billion. Another year with such strength in the global marketplace underscores our strong international track record. It also shows our importance to the American economy, as $57 billion [balance of trade] represents the largest single positive trade balance of any U.S. manufacturing sector.”

Looking beyond 2008, the current backlog of commercial aircraft orders gives the AIA confidence that the civil aircraft sector will continue on an upward trajectory for at least an additional three or four years.

So there’s little question that you’ll be expanding your aerospace facilities; the only question left to answer is where you’ll be doing that expansion. Here are the locations that have the skilled workforce and economic incentives you need.

Aerospace in Mississippi Reaches for the Stars

Mississippi likes to remind the world that before a space shuttle or rocket heads toward the stars, it makes a stop in Mississippi first. That’s because Mississippi’s Stennis Space Center is the rocket propulsion testing ground for NASA. In 2007, the Stennis Space Center had an estimated direct global economic impact of $931 million. Impressive indeed, but the Hospitality State is also known for a strong competitive edge across the full spectrum of both the aerospace and defense industries.

Every commercial airliner in the world has at least one hydraulic component that was designed and manufactured by a Mississippi company-Eaton Corporation. Eaton’s aerospace facility in Jackson, part of the company’s Fluid Power Group, employs approximately 550 people who manufacture hydraulic products for aerospace, marine and defense industries.

Last summer, General Electric Aviation broke ground in Batesville, MS for its new jet engine component factory, a 200,000 square-foot facility specializing in advanced composite engine components. The plant is expected to become operational by early 2009.

Northrop Grumman, the only U.S. industrial designer, builder and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and one of only two companies that design and build nuclear-powered submarines, has enjoyed a long, profitable track record in Mississippi. The company is one of the nation’s leading providers and supporters of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, international navies and commercial vessels. Its shipbuilding operation has been located in Pascagoula, MS since 1938. Today the company has expanded its defense-related capabilities in Mississippi to include technologically advanced aviation systems. In 2004, the company opened a state-of-the-art facility to produce unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for the U.S. Navy. The UAV facility represents the fourth Northrop Grumman organization to operate in Jackson County.

Northrop Grumman officials speak highly of this latest expansion: “This site provides an opportunity for Northrop Grumman to be closer to its U.S. Army and Navy UAV customers, to take advantage of the local, well-trained workforce that has long supported the corporation and its Navy programs, and to operate a cost-competitive manufacturing center that can expand to accommodate future growth in the company’s unmanned systems business,” said Marty Dandridge, then executive vice president of Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, at the expansion announcement.

Columbus, MS is home to another world leader in the defense industry-American Eurocopter, a subsidiary of EADS North America. This facility produces light utility helicopters for the U.S. Army, which extends the company’s 20-year history as a supplier of helicopters to law enforcement agencies across the U.S.

Marc Paganini, president and CEO of American Eurocopter, said during the 2003 announcement, “American Eurocopter is pleased that it has found an ideal location for expanding its activities in the United States in Mississippi’s Golden Triangle. This new plant will play a vital role in the manufacturing and assembly of the world’s most modern helicopter product line, serving both the commercial and homeland security markets.”

Northrop Grumman and American Eurocopter are just two of the numerous aerospace and defense related companies that call Mississippi home. Rolls-Royce, Lockheed Martin, L-3 Vertex Aerospace, Raytheon Aerospace and Airborne Systems, ATK Alliant Tech Systems and others have found the workforce, research institutions, pro-business climate and can-do attitude in the state to be among the best to propel their companies into a successful future. Additionally, a flexible, yet aggressive approach to business recruitment allows Mississippi to customize incentives and financing programs to meet the needs of each individual project.

For more information about bringing the Mississippi advantage to your aerospace or defense-related business, visit

North Carolina: Energy Cooperatives Power the Industry

North Carolina Touchstone Energy cooperatives deliver reliable power to more than 2.5 million members in 93 of the state’s 100 counties. As private, independent entities, the 26 cooperatives provide energy at cost to businesses and homes from the mountains to the coast.

In addition to residential usage, the cooperatives specialize in helping businesses relocate to North Carolina with a complete portfolio of economic development services. They have played a key role in bringing more than 14,600 jobs and $2.2 billion of economic development to the state. And with a supportive infrastructure already in place, the cooperatives give companies a powerful edge before and after they open their doors for business.

The cooperatives’ economic development team is comprised of a host of local professionals specially trained to put the resources companies need at their fingertips. These services include market research and demographic analysis from people who know North Carolina best. North Carolina Touchstone Energy cooperatives also have an inventory of business-ready industrial sites and buildings and they can assist decision makers in finding the property best suited for their operations.

Businesses also have access to tools for profitable, energy-saving performance. These range from energy audit services and rate flexibility to power quality services. And, thanks to the many powerful connections of the cooperatives, assistance with financing also readily available.

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives work closely with a number of resourceful organizations. These associations include the North Carolina Department of Commerce, regional department of commerce partnerships, the North Carolina Community College System, and USDA Rural Development.

The cooperatives also maintain a partnership with SmallBizU. This online academy was created exclusively for small businesses and entrepreneurs. It features one of the largest collections of entrepreneurial training resources available online.

All of these benefits reflect North Carolina Touchstone Energy cooperatives’ commitment to maintaining a high standard of service. With the pro-business environment the cooperatives have helped create, companies have a stronger chance of growing and prospering in North Carolina. Plus, when businesses become members of a cooperative, they also become owners.

Learn more at

Laurens County: A Center for Manufacturing Excellence

Laurens County is proud of its place in upstate South Carolina as a center for excellence in manufacturing. Large international companies in the county include Caterpillar, Avery Dennison, DuPont, Wal-Mart Distribution, and Michelin.

With a wide array of advanced manufacturing and high-tech industry sectors, and some of the world’s largest companies calling it home, Laurens County has become a powerhouse in cutting-edge manufacturing.

ACI Industries, an affiliate of Applied Ceramics Inc., chose Laurens County for their newest manufacturing facility. The company is investing approximately $10 million over a five year period and hiring 100 employees. The company develops high-end ceramic technology for electronics and environmental industries.