Midwest’s Rockford, Illinois: A Shining Star In The Aerospace Industry
The Rockford, Illinois region is located in the middle of North America, equidistant between Milwaukee and Chicago and part of the third largest economic corridor in the U.S. According to the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, “The region offers abundant land for development at a low cost per acre, much of it within Foreign Trade Zone #176. This strategic location provides excellent direct access to markets via four interstates (I-90, I-88, I-39 and I-43); Global III, Union Pacific Railroad’s intermodal hub; and Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD), the 18th largest air cargo airport in the United States and home to the second largest UPS hub in the nation (parcel and heavy freight).”
The Greater Rockford Area is also a hub for the U.S. aerospace industry, hosting over 170 aerospace suppliers and employing over 6,000 people. The Rockford region is home to five major tier one aerospace supply companies: Hamilton Sundstrand, Woodward, B/E Aerospace, Mag Aerospace Industries, Inc. and Supplycore. Additionally, local universities strive to bring science to the area. Rockford’s nearby Northern Illinois University (NIU) awards over 400 engineering degrees each year and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University – a world leader in aviation and aerospace education – which established a campus at the Chicago/Rockford International Airport in 2008 and offers a number of aeronautical degrees, including masters in aeronautical science.
Jeff Kaney, an entrepreneur who has founded two aerospace companies in Rockford, and who is chairman of RAAN (The Rockford Area Aerospace Network) says companies in the Rockford cluster constitute all elements of the aerospace supply chain, including assembly, inspection, testing, repair and software.
Kerry Frank, president of Comply 365 Solutions, a software firm that develops software for the Kindle Fire, iPads and other portable devices used by pilots and flight attendants, says the cluster has brought a great awareness regarding aerospace to the Midwest.
Local news reported that the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) reported a strong start to 2012 with a 14 percent increase in first quarter passenger traffic year-over-year. Each month in the quarter saw strong passenger growth with March being the busiest month in RFD’s history. During its record-breaking month of March, 32,473 passengers came through RFD. March also had the largest increase in year-over-year traffic for the quarter, posting a nearly 18 percent jump. The previous busiest month at RFD was in March 2008 with 29,361 passengers. Punta Cana and Denver destinations have really helped drive passenger growth with their strong bookings,” said Mike Dunn, RFD Director of Economic Development and Government Relations.
Precision Plus is a proud supplier to the aerospace industry, supplying mission-crucial components that are used from single-engine aircraft to the Space Shuttle.