Rockford Region and State of Illinois to Partner at Paris Air Show

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Delegation to Highlight Region’s Aerospace Cluster

“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."

The Rockford Area Aerospace Network (RAAN) is teaming up with the State of Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Office of Trade and Investment at the 50th International Paris Air Show. The event, which will be held from June 17 to 23, is the world’s largest and most prestigious tradeshow 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, state-of-the-art booth, providing Illinois companies an exhibit space while showcasing the region’s expertise in aerospace manufacturing. The Illinois and RAAN booth will be located in the USA Pavilion Hall 3 Stand E128.

“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 (RAEDC). “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 will also help further Governor Pat Quinn’s goal of doubling Illinois exports by 2014. “The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is thrilled to be working with RAAN to develop export opportunities for Rockford-area aerospace companies,” said Adam Pollet, the 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. Over 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.”

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 and engaging the community in the daily work of economic development to improve the competitiveness of the region. The organization was recognized by Expansion Solutions magazine with a 2012 “Top Five” award for its exceptional progress and potential for development in the Aerospace/Defense category.

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 advanced on an on-going basis. RAAN is supported by the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge and the Economic Development Administration 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.

Janyce Fadden, RAEDC President                                

Eric Voyles, RAEDC VP National Business Development

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