Boeing technology research center to create 300-400 jobs in Huntsville

A Boeing employee stands in front of an inert ground-based interceptor used for training in Huntsville, Ala. Interceptors, deployed in Alaska and California, defend the United States against long-range ballistic missiles. (Photo courtesy of The Boeing Co.)
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HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -– Following an announcement from Boeing Co. that it will bring one of five research centers to Huntsville, Ala., as part of a restructuring of its Boeing Research & Technology organization, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and north Alabama leaders commended the decision.

The decision means between 300 and 400 high-paying jobs for Huntsville, where the aerospace giant has a robust and long-term presence.

“I am excited by Boeing’s decision to locate a new research center to Huntsville that will create a significant number of jobs for the people in Madison County,” Governor Bentley said. “Innovation and research are key components of our Accelerate Alabama plan for job creation, and Huntsville is the perfect location for this new Boeing research center. Boeing has been in Alabama for over 50 years, and today’s news is a continuation of the great partnership between Boeing and the State of Alabama. I appreciate Boeing’s investment in Huntsville and its confidence in the Alabama workforce.”

Besides Huntsville, Boeing announced today that it will establish technology research centers in Seattle, St. Louis and North Charleston, S.C., as part of the restructuring, which is meant to lay a foundation for increased competitiveness and future growth.

Boeing said the research centers will consolidate technology development of long-term strategic importance to the company, with each one dedicated to advancing technical capability in a specific field. The Huntsville center will specialize in simulation and decision analytics, and metals and chemical technology.

“This represents another new area of technological depth in Huntsville and is further validation of Boeing’s continued investment in our city,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “The program reaffirms our dedication to the STEM disciplines we teach in our schools that will prepare students for the future workforce.”

Boeing expects to invest between $5 million and $6 million in Huntsville in the project, Huntsville officials said.

“This is great news for our county and our entire region,” added Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong. “Boeing has a rich history in our community solving some of the most difficult technical challenges our nation has ever faced. From the space program to protecting our nation from missile attacks their engineers have led the way. This new center will help Boeing continue to support these programs and help design a new future for commercial aviation.”

BOEING’s ALABAMA HUB

Boeing employs 2,600 people in Huntsville, including nearly 600 engineers and other professionals who performed design and development work on the company’s 787 Dreamliner. From its base in Huntsville, Chicago-based Boeing also manages strategic missile defense programs for the government.

Huntsville, home to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, is where the Saturn V rocket was designed and where Boeing and the space agency are currently developing the Space Launch System, a powerful rocket that could one day send man to Mars. Boeing and NASA also have worked in Huntsville on key components of the International Space Station.

“We pursued this project aggressively as a team because it is a great fit for our community and could lead to more good news down the road.” Strong said. “This announcement shows that Boeing understands this is a great place to do business and that we stand ready to support any new program or mission that they choose to locate in our community.”

The technology research center announced today is separate from the company’s 777X passenger jet fabrication and assembly project, which also is being sought for Huntsville, Alabama officials said.

Alabama’s growing aerospace sector is home to more than 400 aerospace companies that employ 83,000 people. The state has attracted the biggest names in global aerospace and aviation, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, GE Aviation and Raytheon. The state’s aerospace sector has an annual payroll of $3 billion.

Alabama officials have set a goal of growing the state’s aerospace and defense industry segment, which has been designated a target sector in Accelerate Alabama, the state’s strategic economic development growth plan. (Read a story on how Alabama’s aerospace sector is poised for growth.)

“We are working hard to create high-skilled, high-paying jobs in Alabama like those announced today by Boeing,” Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said. “This project is perfectly aligned with the goals of the Accelerate Alabama plan, which aims to expand the technology and research sectors that support advanced manufacturing.”

Photo caption: A Boeing employee stands in front of an inert ground-based interceptor used for training in Huntsville, Ala. Interceptors, deployed in Alaska and California, defend the United States against long-range ballistic missiles.