Governor seeks aerospace chief to lead industry policy for state

By Michelle Dunlop herald Writer

Wanted: an aerospace guru to chart industry policy for the state of Washington.

Gov. Chris Gregoire is seeking a director to organize and manage the newly created Governor’s Aerospace Office.

The state aerospace director will coordinate with government agencies, chair the governor’s aerospace council and support the state’s 650 aerospace companies.

The listing for the new position was posted last week. Applications are due Feb. 26.

Says the job posting: “The director will be a key member of the governor’s economic development team, working directly with the governor and collaborating with the governor’s senior staff, policy and budget teams, agency directors, legislators and high-level industry representatives on a range of issues.”

A governor’s spokeswoman did not know what the salary range would be.

Last November, Gregoire outlined an initiative to convince Boeing to keep 737 work in Washington after the launch of the new 737 MAX model. Along with allocating $7.5 million to accommodate more engineering students at state universities, the governor said she wanted to create the position of aerospace director.

A few weeks after Gregoire announced that plan, Boeing announced it would indeed keep 737 assembly anchored in Renton. The company’s decision involved a landmark agreement with the Machinists union.

But state officials, including the governor, say it’s important for state government to continually support and develop the aerospace industry.

Previously, the governor had an aerospace adviser, who was on loan from the Puget Sound Regional Council. Her first adviser, Bill McSherry, took a position with Boeing’s government relations team. Gregoire has been without an aerospace adviser since late summer.

The idea of having a permanent specialist in state government dedicated to aerospace has been around since 2003, when the state was competing to land the 787 line for Everett. But the position was never created.

For more information on the director position, view the listing online at tinyurl.com/77y54b9.

Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454; mdunlop@heraldnet.com.