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First in Flight
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Rockford region offers second-to-none environment for aerospace development

Midwesterners seldom brag, but the Rockford region has been called the single best aerospace community in mid-America. Our secret? We can offer world class support without big city hassles.

World class partners form an instant supply chain

Rockford is home to 11 tier one aerospace suppliers, including B/E Aerospace, Esterline, GE Aviation, UTC Aerospace Systems and Woodward. In fact, these major players are expanding: B/E recently opened a new 38,000 sq. ft. facility for its Ecosystems division and Woodward is adding a $300 million facility including a 440,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility.

Yet these are just the biggest pieces in the puzzle. The Rockford metropolitan area is home to 90 aerospace manufacturers (including expert composite fabricators), with 250+ within a 150 mile radius. Many have a global presence; all can partner with you to make high quality products.

A world class airport

Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) is the best of both worlds, offering room for expansion and uncongested airspace with the amenities an aerospace manufacturer needs to get projects off the ground. RFD has 200 airside acres available for development and is independent from the airspace of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. RFD also features a 10,000 foot runway, CAT II and III instrumentation, ample corporate hanger space and other major airport amenities.

A world class workforce

The Rockford region's manufacturing workforce seems almost custom-made for the aerospace manufacturer. Manufacturing employment is twice the national average, with employment in sectors crucial to aerospace (such as machinery manufacturing and R&D) at several times the national average. Nearly 3 million working age adults live within 60 minutes of Rockford. The engineering talent you need is here as well: Over 56, 000 engineers live within a 90 minute drive and over 50,000 students are enrolled in engineering programs in a 500 mile radius.

A charming global community

To attract and retain a strong workforce, you need a high quality of life. Rockford possesses the comfort, charm and low cost of living of the typical small Midwestern city paired with urban amenities of its own and easy access to Chicago. Speaking of Chicago, if you need quick air access to world markets, you can reach O'Hare in one hour. With RFD and O'Hare, you can easily touch the world by air; with the robust transportation infrastructure of the Rockford-Chicago region, you can easily move goods and services anywhere on the globe.Small town costs and lifestyle combined with ready aerospace partners and big city support—this “best of both worlds” combination makes us second to none for aerospace.

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