Farnborough Airshow

This year’s Farnborough International Airshow was a huge success for Greater Seattle and Washington-based aerospace companies. As our research illustrates, the UK is an invaluable trade and investment partner for our region, and to be there for the return of Farnborough after a 4-year hiatus marked the revival of the aerospace industry after the prolonged negative impacts of Covid-19.

Boeing inked a number of high profile deals, including Delta Air Lines’ purchase of 100 of its 737 MAX 10 jetliners, a $13.5B deal that is in addition to another $12B for the 737 Max 8, 737 Max 10 and 777x.

“We saw a little bit of that trickle of optimism in Dubai and it’s just so strong here in Farnborough,” Robert Payne, vice president of marketing and communications for economic development group Greater Seattle Partners, told the Business Journal in a call from the event, referencing the Dubai Airshow in November.

The activity, Payne said, is “proof that we’re getting back to pre-Covid times with better planes, better technology and better processes in place to ensure that the aerospace industry is safe and innovative.”

While Boeing’s 777x delighted spectators with incredible aerial displays and informative on-the-ground tours if its new, more fuel efficient technologies out on the tarmac, a host of Washington aerospace companies were inside the tradeshow showcasing their products and solutions from cybersecurity and artificial intelligence to advanced manufacturing and new forms of electric and hydrogen propulsion.

In another article detailing Boeing’s plans to expand its supply of sustainable aviation fuel, we gave readers a sense of what other local companies were there to evolve the aerospace industry.

The event has also provided a platform for Washington state to showcase its role in the development of sustainable technologies, said Robert Payne, marketing and communications lead for economic development group Greater Seattle Partners. He pointed to exhibits by companies like Everett-based electric propulsion startup MagniX and ZeroAvia, which has a research division for its hydrogen retrofit technology at Snohomish County’s Paine Field airport.

In addition to connecting with our friends in commercial aircraft and defense, we met with a number of companies in the eVTOL and space sectors, as well as other local hometown brands such as Blue Origin and Microsoft.

Boeing Site Tour in Sheffield

Towards the latter end of the show, a number of us took a side trip to Sheffield where we had a very interesting visit to Boeing’s advanced manufacturing facility to see how rock star engineers are achieving greater efficiency in production through new technologies and innovative processes for producing wing flap actuators. They’ve also reimagined their supply chain to be more resilient and sustainable.

We also toured the adjacent Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) to learn how it is supporting talent development with novel approaches for workforce training. The place is filled with robots, researchers and methods for capturing and analyzing data that will blow your mind. They’re really setting the bar for empowering top talent to produce the next innovation in aerospace.

Washington, D.C.

I was recently in the other Washington to promote the Greater Seattle region at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, which is the highest-profile event dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. The Investment Summit plays a vital role in attracting and facilitating business investment and job creation by raising awareness about the wide range of investment opportunities in the United States and enabling necessary direct connections between investors and U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs).

The United States is still the largest recipient of FDI in the world. 

FDI activity into and out of Greater Seattle and Washington State is as follows:

Greater SeattleWA State
InboundOutboundInboundOutbound
CapEx$2.88B$71.21B$4.17B$71.98B
Jobs8,011289,4449,654295,361
Projects1129801321,003

The unique aspect of Washington State is that we are home to leading brands such as Amazon, Boeing, Costco, Microsoft, Paccar and Starbucks, which generate significant international economic activity in terms of capex, jobs, and total projects. Over the past 5 years, in fact, Amazon leads the nation in outbound FDI by capex, jobs, and projects created with Microsoft coming in at the #5 spot for total number of projects. The number of outbound jobs Amazon has generated globally is double the size of the #2 spot. For this five-year period, Washington State ranks #2 in the nation for total capex, and #3 for total jobs and projects created with Greater Seattle generating 98% of the state’s outbound projects.

I provide more detail here.

It was an honor to meet the Ambassador of Japan at his residence, Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, Executive Director of SelectUSA, Jasjit Singh, and many other businesses and colleagues in the economic development community.

Scotland

It was a rich and moving experience returning to the U.K. for the World Economic Forum for Foreign Direct Investment hosted by Conway Data and Scottish Development International. I’ve worked with Conway and their editorial and advertising staff at Site Selection for more than 10 years, so it was fantastic to see several old friends in person.

Scotland has shaped the global economy with innovations such as the refrigerator, flushing toilets, tires, telephone and penicillin just to name a few. More recently, Scotland has given us the world’s first floating wind farm and the tidal energy array. Home to legendary authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who’s books I read from cover to cover as a child from my father’s hardback collection, followed me through the old stone alleyways. I didn’t don a kilt, but there is even a Payne tartan.

Shortly after arrival, I participated in the Energy Tour that departed from Edinburgh and visited Dundee, St. Andrews and the Michelin Innovation Parc where we learned more about Scotland’s commitment to a clean and diversified energy portfolio. Between conference sessions, a welcome reception aboard the Royal Brittania, and the Gala Reception at the National Museum of Scotland, I engaged site selectors, companies, international investment promotion agencies, and others influencing the global conversation.

Seattle’s economic ties with Scotland and the U.K. run deep. Of the top 10 foreign-owned firms in Greater Seattle, the U.K. ranks #3 with 320+ privately owned companies; and 530 across Washington State. The U.K ranks #1 in total FDI projects across the state in the past 5 years with 15 new locates representing more than $450M in CapEx. It is also a strong trading partner ranking #6 with $1.82B worth of exports of Washington commodities, the majority of which come from Greater Seattle.

I look forward to welcoming old and new friends to Seattle soon!

Back to Baja

It has been a while since I was in Baja. The last time consisted of a long drive starting from Lake Tahoe and winding all the way down the 800-mile peninsula. That trip ended badly. So it was finally time for a refresh.

An easy flight from Seattle to Cabo San Lucas, and then a 1.5 hour drive north to Cerrito, put me right on a south, southwest swell that pumped all week. It was a good jumping off point to visit Todos Santos, La Paz, and the numerous surf breaks radiating out in all directions.

Because Baja and the Pacific Plate continues to separate from the Mexican mainland like a zipper, this geologic phenomenon will only continue to widen the Sea of Cortez by about 2 inches per year, leaving plenty of room for whales and waves – and you – to travel up and down both sides of its tip.

NEW INTERNATIONAL ARRIVAL FACILITY AT SEATTLE-TACOMA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Officially opening in April 2022, the new $1 billion International Arrivals Facility (IAF) at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport nearly doubles the international gates from 12 to 20, and increases passenger capacity by more than double to 2,600 passengers per hour. Other new customer experience features include:

  • Reuniting passengers with their bags prior to security screening.
  • New technologies for faster passport check clearance.
  • A reduction in passenger connection time from 90 to 75 minutes.

One of the more stunning features of the IAF is the 780-foot-long aerial bridge with a moving walkway that sits 85 feet above the taxiway where jets cross below. Travelers enjoy picturesque views of Mount Rainier on one side, and the Olympics on the other.

Delta Air Lines will offer 45 weekly nonstop flights to Amsterdam, Incheon, London, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo. Alaska Airlines will leverage its membership in the Oneworld alliance to allow mileage members to book flights with international airline partners including British Airways, Japan Airlines and American Airlines.

Since 2020, SEA has welcomed several brand-new international services, including Qatar Airways to Doha, WestJet to Calgary, American Airlines to London, and Alaska Airlines to Belize. Other new destinations coming in 2022 are Air Canada to Montreal in May, Aer Lingus to Dublin in May, Delta Air Lines to London in May, Alaska to Edmonton in April, and Finnair to Helsinki in June.

Reveal Reception

It was an honor to join Governor Inslee, Port of Seattle and SEA staff, Clark Construction Group, construction and trade workers, and everyone who worked to design, build and activate the new IAF facility at the reveal reception.

The art and architecture of the facility evoke the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and it served as an inspiring backdrop for the moving cultural performances that delighted everyone in attendance. Local performers included:

It was especially poignant when Georgia Montero, an Alaska Native and member of the Tlingit Tribe asked for a moment of silence for the people of Ukraine before he permeated the giant hall with timeless and sublime flute music.

On a lighter note, the folks at Port of Seattle have put together some very fun graphics to celebrate the opening of the new IAF and your international travel memories. They are encouraging you to print your favorite SEA international direct destination icon, then take it to your favorite Seattle location.

The IAF is an invaluable new asset for our region that enhances and expands international relations, trade and travel with our global partners, and greatly improves the needs of our diverse communities.

Come experience it yourself! #flySEA #WelcomeIAF

*All photos courtesy of the Port of Seattle.

Industry Collateral

Whether showing up at Mobile World Congress or the Dubai Airshow, I like to give you some real data to sink your teeth into. I’ll go out of my way to give you solid industry data and real case examples. Plus, I just love to learn. Call me old school, but I also still think there is a place for collateral piece. Of course, I’ll always complement it with a web presence as well.

Below are some samples of a recent IoT brochure. The IoT ecosystem in Greater Seattle is pretty incredible.

Charleston Holiday

Hard to believe it had been almost three years since returning home to Charleston. But the holidays eventually pull the sleigh back to your place of birth. The smell of shrimp and grits, surf wax and gunpowder mixed well with the piney aroma of a Christmas tree. Never enough time to soak it all in, but it was a success nonetheless.

Dubai Airshow

On behalf of Greater Seattle Partners, I recently travelled to the Dubai Airshow in the UAE with the Washington State Department of Commerce and a delegation of aerospace companies. It was an action-packed five-day event consisting of key meetings and events with companies from more than 20 countries. It was honor to represent the largest aerospace supply chain in the country, if not the world.

Many other associated events took us around Dubai including, a welcome dinner at the tallest skyscraper in the world, Burj Khalifa; Deira and the old town Al Fahidi District; the AmCham Dubai Airshow kick-off breakfast at the Dubai South headquarters; AIA & U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council Reception in the US Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai; US AIA Industry Reception at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai; and the Dubai Airshow Gala at the Atlantis, The Palm.

I was also able to organize tours of the 777x and the Boeing ecoDemonstrator for our Washington delegates, meet legendary Charlie Duke – the youngest human to walk on the moon, and visit the Chalets of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), Enterprise Ireland and Spirit AeroSystems. Of course, the flying demonstrations on the tarmac and exhibits of new UAVs and defense products were amazing.

It was an exhausting trip with just one day at the end to visit the desert.

Thanksgiving

Always nice to return to Northern California and visit with old friends from Clemson University and Lake Tahoe. Turkey and tubes!

The intersection of work and lifestyle: Seattle, Washington

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