Inslee to speak at aerospace event

By Dan Catchpole Herald Writer

LYNNWOOD — Gov. Jay Inslee will deliver the keynote address at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance’s 13th Annual Aerospace Conference here.

This year’s event, Feb. 5 and 6, will focus on understanding the forces driving changes in the aerospace industry, a major economic sector in Washington and especially Snohomish County.

“With a large portion of our workforce ready to retire in five years, we need to know that the governor is working to keep our industry healthy and strong,” J.C. Hall, the alliance’s chairman, said in a news release. “Washington state must be prepared tackle transportation, workforce training and education issues. We need to make our industry more resilient and make additional aerospace relationships.”

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to questions about what he plans to discuss at the conference.

As the state’s top executive, Inslee’s interest in the industry has, of course, been in expanding Washington’s aerospace sector.

During his State of the State Address on Tuesday, he highlighted the state’s campaign to get the Boeing Co. to build the new 777X airplane in Washington.

“We have lost too much aerospace work to other states and other countries,” Inslee said. “Today the wing for the 787 comes from Japan. Now we have reversed that trend of outsourcing.”

While Inslee and the Legislature passed an incentive package worth an estimated $8.7 billion over 16 years, Boeing only decided to make the plane in Washington after the Machinists union narrowly accepted a new contract that cuts benefits.

The Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference will delve into what factors are pushing industry suppliers to cut costs. In addition to Inslee, speakers are to include executives from Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer, Rolls Royce, GE, Pratt &Whitney, and industry experts.

The conference is the largest of its kind on the West Coast and last year drew 434 people representing 270 businesses from Europe, Asia and the Americas, according to the non-profit PNAA. It will be held at the Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th Street SW.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com.