Boeings Expansion Boost Oklahomas Aerospace Sector

Boeing’s Expansion Boosts Oklahoma’s Aerospace Sector

Aug. 4, 2015
“We see a bright horizon for the aircraft sustainment business because of the highly trained and motivated workforce we have in Oklahoma City,” said Leanne Caret, president of Global Services & Support, Boeing. 

As Boeing broke ground on its new 290,000-square-foot facility in Oklahoma City, Okla. on July 29, the company shared further good news for the state.

Leanne Caret, president of Global Services & Support, announced that headquarters for its Aircraft Modernization and Sustainment division would move to Oklahoma City in the months ahead.

This division provides support and modernization services for U.S. and coalition lift, executive transport, airborne refueling, airborne command and control, and global strike capabilities. This includes commercial derivative aircraft, airborne early warning and control platforms, C-17 Globemaster III maintenance, tanker maintenance and support, and bomber/weapons modernization and logistics.  It is a part of Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security unit, which is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.

“We see a bright horizon for the aircraft sustainment business because of the highly trained and motivated workforce we have in Oklahoma City,” said Caret. “Expanding our presence and bringing AM&S headquarters here continues a trend of combining Oklahoma’s home-grown talent with the best of the enterprise to support some of our customers’ most critical missions.” This decision transfers approximately a dozen senior management positions to Oklahoma City and reflects the site’s importance to the company, the company said.

The new facility, which is the third in Boeing’s existing campus, will open in summer 2016 and house 800 employees working in engineering, research and development laboratories.

Gov. Mary Fallin credits tax breaks for helping with the expansion of Boeing to Oklahoma City, as reported by KFOR. “One of the factors that Boeing told me was important to move employees from other states to Oklahoma is our aerospace engineers’ tax credit,” Fallin said. “That families find that attractive and we’re one of very few states that have a tax credit.”

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Boeing already has 1,850 employees in Oklahoma, most of whom are in Oklahoma City and the remainder at Altus AFB and Vance AFB.  Of those employees about 900 came to the state last year as part of a relocation which moved employees from Washington, Missouri and Florida.

Boeing also has 145 Oklahoma-based suppliers.

The state has a legacy of aerospace innovation and success dating back more than 100 years, with pioneers like Wiley Post, who launched his career of exploring the limits of high-altitude, long-distance flight in the state.

Today the state has the largest defense air depot in the country, the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base.  And more than 120,000 people are employed by the aerospace and defense industry.

With regard to specific facilities Oklahoma is one of the seven centers in the world for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul. And the Oklahoma Spaceport is one of only six in the U.S. with an FAA Launch Site Operator License, and with a 13,500-foot main runway, it has one of the longest runways in North America.The FAA Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center is the central support and training facility in the U.S. for the FAA and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The center trains more than 20,000 students a year. The American Airlines Maintenance and Engineering Center in Tulsa is one of the largest MRO facilities in the world.

Aerospace companies that call the state home include: Lockheed Martin, GE, Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, Spirit Areosystems and Lufthansa Technik.  

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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