Construction begins on Korry Electronics’ plant

  • By John Wolcott SCBJ Editor
  • Thursday, August 28, 2008 4:36pm

Heavy equipment began clearing land last month for Korry Electronics’ new home at Paine Field, due to open in late 2009.

At a mid-August event at the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour facility, a caravan of buses arrived with more than 600 employees who will be heading to work soon in Snohomish County rather than the company’s present headquarters at Seattle’s Lake Union site.

Pouring into the aviation center, they swarmed over displays of modern airliners and avionic systems that represent Korry’s primary market, including its contracts for Boeing, Airbus and other aerospace firms. Then the company’s president and CEO, Dan McFeeley, welcomed the group on their excursion to see the site of their new facility, less than a mile from the Future of Flight location at the north end of Paine Field.

The choice earlier this year between Everett and Renton site finalists was decided not just by the factor of the proximity that Korry Electronics would have to the Boeing aircraft facility but also by the enthusiasm McFeeley found when he looked at a location in Snohomish County.

“The permitting process by the county was fast and they were good to work with. That made a really good impression,” he said. The Economic Development Council of Snohomish County was also a major player in the effort to attract Korry to the area.

A division of Esterline Technologies in Bellevue, Korry Electronics has been in the Puget Sound area for more than 70 years. Founded in 1937, its work with Boeing began on the company’s 307 Stratoliner, a four-engine airliner that first flew in 1938. Over several decades the company has provided cockpit and avionics systems for a variety of Boeing planes. Its latest contract is for building cockpit panels for the 787 Dreamliner.

The 14-acre Paine Field site, previously occupied by aging housing units for the past 55 years, will provide a 250,000-square-foot facility, significantly larger than Korry’s present 175,000-square-foot building.

McFeeley said he expects most of the present 650 employees will move to the new Everett plant and that the area’s skilled workforce will fill any vacancies left after the move from Seattle.

For Snohomish County, the presence of Korry Electronics adds a significant corporate entity to the county’s increasingly important aerospace segment of the local economy. Korry’s parent company, Esterline, is an international firm that makes aerospace and defense products in the United States, Canada, France and the United Kingdom, with annual sales of more than $1 billion.

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