The 80,000-square-foot, $30 million expansion at the UTC Aerospace Systems facility in Foley is expected to bring an additional 260 jobs and roughly $50 million in annual payroll to Baldwin County, according to officials at a May 3 groundbreaking.
UTC Aerospace Systems is one of the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and defense products and currently employs 800 people at its facility near the Foley Airport.
The new expansion, slated for completion in the second quarter of 2017, will house the assembly of nacelle components and propulsion system integration. It will also make UTC Aerospace Systems the third largest aerospace manufacturer in Alabama, based on its number of employees.
“This is one of the larger announcements in the state to date,” Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance President Lee Lawson said. “It will bring 260 or more high-paying jobs to this area, which is just really great for us. These are jobs that pay $60,000. This is a new project that I think everybody wanted. They looked all over their footprint for a place to put this, and they came here.”
Lawson revealed that the expansion has been in the works for almost two years to the day, adding that negotiations began in a meeting between himself and UTC Vice President of Operations Michael Grondalski in San Diego back in May of 2014.
“We chose Foley to expand because of its proven track record of performance, our desire to be near a key customer and the tremendous cooperation we’ve had from the state, county and the city,” UTC Aerospace Systems Aerostructures division President Mark Duvall said.
The expanded facility will help UTC support multiple aircraft platforms including the Airbus A320, the Bombardier CSeries, the Embraer E2 and Mitsubishi Regional Jet. Its primary mission will be to service the Airbus final assembly line in Mobile.
The facility will expand west of its current location, and Lawson said UTC will have the ability to double its footprint in the future if further expansion is necessary.
“This expansion is a significant event for Foley that will provide additional high-quality jobs and put us on the radar within the aerospace community,” Mayor John Koniar said. “UTC has been a pleasure to work with, and we look forward to their continued growth in Foley.”
According to Baldwin County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey, UTC’s expansion will make an impact throughout Baldwin County as well as Gulf Coast region.
“The annual payroll will be north of $50 million, and that’s $50 million coming here from around the world in payroll for jobs in Baldwin County,” Dorsey said. “That will filter through our entire community. That’s big news for us.”
In a statement released to media, Gov. Robert Bentley celebrated the Foley facility as one of UTC’s most innovative and productive operations.
“Creating new jobs remains my top priority, especially in the aerospace industry which we identified as strategic in our Accelerate Alabama growth plan,” Bentley said. “I commend the leaders at UTC Aerospace Systems for their investment in our state and confidence in the Alabama workforce.”
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