Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced she will be leading a delegation of aerospace, green energy and technology leaders to Ireland and England to grow our state exports, encourage foreign investment, and ultimately create new jobs for Washingtonians.
"Our efforts to boost our state exports are working," Gregoire said. "In fact, just two years after announcing my State Export Initiative, exports of Washington-made goods jumped to a record $64.6 billion in 2011, an increase of more than 20 percent. This isn't the time to rest. This is the time to build on that success -- and continue moving forward with proven strategies, including face-to-face meetings with companies looking to do business in Washington state. Washington state has a great story to tell. And we know from past experience that sharing that story with executives from around the world leads to new job growth."
Gregoire will arrive in Dublin, Ireland on July 4th, where along with delegates from the Snohomish County Public Utilities District, will tour Open Hydro's Greenore tidal energy manufacturing facility. In April 2009, the PUD selected OpenHydro to design, build and install up to three marine turbines at a tidal energy pilot plant in Admiralty Inlet, west of Whidbey Island.
While in Ireland, Gregoire will introduce several of our state's aerospace supply companies to executives at Bombardier at its Belfast office. Gregoire will use the opportunity to encourage the plane manufacturer to hire more Washington aerospace supply companies as it builds new aircraft. Gregoire will conduct a similar meeting with executives at Airbus at the company's Broughton, Wales office.
In Broughton, Gregoire will also join delegates on a tour of Electroimpact's engineering support office. Electroimpact is headquartered in Mukilteo, and develops specialized machinery used by Boeing, Airbus and other major aerospace companies to build their products. Airbus, for example, purchased more than $300 million in equipment from Electroimpact for its A380 wing manufacturing facility in Broughton, a site the governor will also tour. Electroimpact built machines weighing more than 1,300 tons in Mukilteo, then shipped and installed them at the Airbus Broughton facility.
Gregoire and the delegation will then travel to London, where on July 9th, she will help open the Washington State Pavilion at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show, one of the largest global aerospace events of its kind. More than 50 aerospace companies and several aerospace consortiums representing more than 200 Washington aerospace businesses will be exhibiting at the Air Show highlighting Washington state, including our world-class aerospace training programs, its more than 700 aerospace companies, and its more than 92,000 highly-skilled aerospace workers. At the trade show, Gregoire, Governor's Office of Aerospace Director Alex Pietsch and Department of Commerce Director Rogers Weed will also meet with executives with aerospace companies from around the world, explaining the advantages of doing business here.
"We wrapped up the air show in Paris last year with immediate success stories," Gregoire said. "I would expect something similar at this year's event. Aerospace companies need productivity, reliability, quality and training. Washington state offers it all -- that's something that can't be said for other states or regions. That's what gives Washington state its competitive edge, and makes us the premier location for aerospace. This show ensures the rest of the world knows that, and helps our efforts to grow this important industry."
Following her time at the Farnborough Air Show, Gregoire will speak before the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce to discuss Washington state's economic development opportunities. Washington's vibrant and deep technology sector has the highest job growth in the nation in Seattle, drawing giants including Google, Facebook and Twitter along with up-and-coming innovation leaders. Thames Valley is a similarly powerful tech core of the United Kingdom, providing a welcoming environment for Washington companies. Gregoire will also stop by the Transport For London Olympic traffic monitoring center, featuring technology from Seattle-based INRIX and F5 Networks. There, she will see how Washington state technology helps solve transportation issues and reduce the economic, environmental and individual toll of gridlock in the world's most congested cities.
"Governor Gregorie's trade mission is an important catalyst to build new business opportunities and manufacturing partnerships for Washington companies around the world," said Liz Lasater, Chief Executive Officer of Red Arrow Logistics, based in Seattle. "Business outside our borders is vital to job creation and for facilitating trade opportunities, so I find it refreshing and encouraging that during this stagnant economy our governor has stepped up to provide leadership where others are laissez faire. The aerospace industry is vital link to our state's economy, international trade and my company, Red Arrow Logistics. We will have the opportunity to engage with global companies who depend on services that support the high value, time sensitive and regulated needs of their supply chain."
"Without the state and Gov. Gregoire's investment to help Washington companies do business in Paris last year during the Paris Air Show, a major development project for our company in Europe would not have occurred," said Greg Kape, founding partner of Bellevue-based Get It Group.
"As a pioneering business in a dynamic industry, we seek to further elevate ourselves and our community in terms of technology and business maturity," said Mashawn Drew, Chief Operations Officer, Custom Interface, Inc., Bingen, WA. "Joining Gov. Gregoire's delegation to the Farnborough International Air Show is an exciting opportunity to engage with a diverse range of potential customers. This trade mission will allow us identify and connect with new global partners and view industries abroad to help us stay on a strong growth trajectory."
"Accompanying the Governor to meet with top executives gave us a legitimacy that has greatly accelerated the development of our business relationships with the European automobile manufacturers we visited last year," said Vincent Dupray, Enprecis General Manager -Europe.
"I accompanied the governor and other Washington business executives on her trade mission to China to meet companies and find mutual economic interests in our respective markets. I met with Chinese executives who were very interested in my company's energy storage products, and enthusiastic about potential in their domestic renewable energy markets," said Dave Curry, President & CEO, Demand Energy, based in Liberty Lake, WA. "I have subsequently made eight trips to China. Putting together a joint venture with a Chinese company that has resulted in a very strong pipeline of business. I have doubled my full- and part-time employees during the past year, and raised equity. Trade missions clearly are an important economic development strategy for Washington companies capable of selling their products internationally."