OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s foreign direct investment team has formally announced the state’s participation at the upcoming Farnborough International Airshow taking place outside of London, UK, July 14-18, 2014. The delegation will be led by Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce, Larry Parman and Secretary of Science and Technology, Dr. Stephen McKeever.
“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase Oklahoma’s value proposition and the many business factors that make Oklahoma a top destination for the global aerospace industry,” said McKeever. “When companies considering expansion into North America evaluate the market options, they’ll find Oklahoma’s proposition and the differentiators that make our market unique extremely compelling.”
McKeever said Oklahoma has the infrastructure and policies in place that make the state a global center of excellence in aerospace.
Aerospace and Defense is one of Oklahoma’s five major ecosystems directly employing more than 120,000 workers with a strong emphasis on Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Components Manufacturing.
Oklahoma is home to the largest military MRO center at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, which is today the Sustainment Center HQ for the U.S. Air Force, employing over 26,000 people. Tulsa, Oklahoma is home to American Airlines’ MRO center, the largest commercial MRO operation in the world, employing over 6000 aerospace workers. Counted together Oklahoma becomes one of the seven main centers in the world for MRO.
Oklahoma has also become a major center in the United States for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), both for commercial and military applications. Oklahoma holds the only site dedicated solely to the application of UAS for public safety. The state also has the first university graduate program in UAS engineering at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater and provides support for UAS operations for Department of Defense programs in restricted airspace. Expertise in all segments of UAS can be found in Oklahoma: air vehicles; sensors; payloads; avionics/electronics; advanced materials; ground stations for command, control and communications; etc.
“We’re targeting European and other global aerospace commercial and military companies because our industry assets and the incentives we offer make Oklahoma an extremely competitive investment destination,” said Secretary Parman. “When looking at what sets Oklahoma apart from other investment destinations, the differentiators are our state government’s willingness to work closely with the companies looking to invest and industry related R&D activity.”
By renewing tax incentives targeted towards aerospace professionals and companies such as The Aerospace Engineering Tax Credit, state officials hope to capture a large share of this growth. This credit provides a $5,000 per year tax credit to engineers hired into the aerospace industry as well as gives the companies that hire them a 10 percent credit for hiring in-state graduates and a five percent credit for hiring from other states. Already, Oklahoma is reaping the benefits of its economic development strategy. In 2011 Boeing announced that it was going to relocate 550 jobs to Oklahoma City from Long Beach, CA and in 2012 they announced that an additional 1000 jobs will be created to support the new U.S. Air Force Tanker aircraft. Also Umicore, a Belgian aerospace company opened in 2011 a new manufacturing facility in Quapaw, OK which created over 100 jobs and announced plans in 2012 to consolidate their global wafer manufacturing operations at the OK facility. Finally in 2013 Rolls Royce established an MRO center in Oklahoma City, which created 137 new jobs.
Oklahoma companies that will be part of the delegation this year include:
- Choctaw Defense (www.choctawdefense.com)
- Enviro Systems Inc. (www.enviro-ok.com)
- Janeway Machine Inc. (www.janewaymachine.com)
- M&M Manufacturing, Inc. (www.mm-mfg.com)
- Vertical Aerospace (www.goverticalaero.com)