ROCKFORD – The Rockford Area Aerospace Network is teaming up with the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity at the 50th International Paris Air Show. The event, which will be held from June 17-23, is the world’s largest and most prestigious trade show focused on aerospace and aviation.
The Paris Air Show is held every other year. In 2011, it drew more than 2,000 exhibiting companies, 290 official delegations and 151,000 professional visitors from throughout the world.
The state of Illinois and RAAN will have a co-branded booth, providing Illinois companies an exhibit space while showcasing the region’s expertise in aerospace manufacturing.
“We are excited for the opportunity to showcase the Rockford region’s aerospace capabilities to the world’s largest aerospace companies,” said Janyce Fadden, president of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council. “Our goal is to seize new business opportunities and forge technology partnerships. Our continued participation in the Paris Air Show solidifies the Rockford region’s globally-recognized brand as a leading, international aerospace cluster. We appreciate the state of Illinois’ continued support of this important event.”
The participation of Illinois companies at the Paris Air Show also will help further Gov. Pat Quinn’s goal of doubling Illinois exports by 2014. “The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is thrilled to be working with RAAN to develop export opportunities for Rockford-area aerospace companies,” said Adam Pollet, acting director of DCEO. Company participation in the Paris Air Show is largely supported by funding from the State Trade and Export Promotion Program, managed by the DCEO Office of Trade and Investment.
The RAEDC formed RAAN in 2010 to gain more high-paying aerospace jobs and increase business opportunities for aerospace suppliers in the region. More than 200 aerospace suppliers operate in the greater Rockford region, which stretches east toward Chicago and north into southern Wisconsin.
Five major tier-one aerospace suppliers are in the Rockford region: B/E Aerospace, GE Aviation, Esterline, UTC Aerospace Systems, and Woodward. More than 80 percent of Illinois’ aerospace workforce is employed in the Rockford MSA. The network’s companies serve industry leaders like Boeing and Airbus, which benefit from being able to visit multiple suppliers during one visit to Rockford.
RAAN and Illinois companies will share what Rockford has to offer as one of the largest epicenters of aerospace activity in the country. The goal is to gain the attention of international companies.
“Our long-term strategy is to increase foreign direct investment in our region – it grows our aerospace cluster, creates new business opportunities for existing companies and increases job opportunities,” said Eric Voyles, vice president for National Business Development at the RAEDC. “The Paris Air Show is the ideal outlet to source partnership opportunities and build relationships.”