Tag Archives: defense industry


Luke Air Force Base Gets F-35 Mission

Glendale officials say the Department of Defense has chosen Luke Air Force Base for the new training center for F-35 fighter jets.

“The goal of our statewide initiative was to send a clear message to the decision makers in Washington D.C. that Arizona strongly supports Luke Air Force Base continuing to serve as our nation’s premier fighter pilot training facility,” said Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, co-chair of the Luke Forward campaign.

The 71-year-old base in west Glendale was competing with bases in Tucson, New Mexico and Idaho for the F-35 mission.

“Arizona’s military industry is one of the largest industries in our state, and Luke serves as the anchor,” Scruggs said. “This new F-35 training mission will bring with it decades of tremendous military value to our national security and sustainable economic benefits to our region and state. I want to thank and recognize all the elected officials and citizens of the West Valley cities and Maricopa County for standing firm in their unwavering support of Luke Air Force Base all the way through to the end of the F-35 basing process.”

The Luke Forward campaign was developed by the West Valley Partners and Fighter Country Partnership to generate awareness and support of the positive impacts the Air Force’s next generation strike fighter will bring to the state. The partners include the cities of Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Gila Bend, Glendale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Peoria, Phoenix, Surprise, Tolleson, Wickenburg and Youngtown, as well as Maricopa County.

Fighter Country Partnership Chairman Charley Freericks, who co-chaired the campaign with Scruggs, believes the widespread community support garnered for the F-35 by Luke Forward elevated Arizona from states in other parts of the country where the Air Force was considering placing the F-35.

“Through Luke Forward, we were able to engage nearly 10,000 residents to attend public hearings, send emails or phone Air Force representatives in support of Luke and to get 21,000 citizens from throughout the state to register their support of the F-35 at LukeForward.com,” said Freericks. “This tremendous support, from state and local officials, business partners, homeowners associations, residents, retirees and others, really made us stand out among the competition.”

The Air Force will initially place three squadrons, totaling 72 F-35s, at Luke AFB starting as early as next year to replace two of Luke’s F-16 squadrons allocated for Air Force training – keeping Luke’s ramps full, along with the 26 F-16s at Luke dedicated for foreign military training. The new F-35s will most likely arrive at Luke AFB in phases over the next couple years.

The decision ensures Luke’s 56th Fighter Wing will now be the Air Force’s F-35 pilot training  site, or “school house,” as well as continuing F-16 training for fighter pilots in the foreseeable future. The Air Force may station up to six F-35 squadrons totaling 144 aircraft at the Glendale base as F-16s are retired.

In addition to ensuring the long-term viability of Luke AFB, the F-35 training mission will also serve as an economic stimulus for the Valley’s beleaguered construction industry as the new fighter will require construction projects, facility improvements, infrastructure upgrades and other maintenance and repairs.

As a result, Luke can anticipate receiving an infusion of $100-$125 million within months from the federal government to pay for these construction-related projects. Much of this federal investment will positively impact the regional and state economies with local labor and suppliers of construction material. Nearly 3,000 construction jobs are estimated to be created in preparation of the F-35’s arrival.


Manufacturer Of The Year Awards 2012

The Arizona Manufacturers Council and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry recognized the achievements and contributions of four exceptional manufacturing companies at the 2012 Manufacturer of the Year Awards on May 11 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Phoenix.

Manufacturer of the Year:
Suntron Corporation

Suntron CorporationPhoenix-based Suntron’s largest market segment is the defense industry. Given the importance of the defense and aerospace industry in Arizona, Suntron enhances the state’s current efforts to develop this industry and helps position Arizona as a strong candidate to be designated by the FAA as a testing site for unmanned aircraft systems. Suntron led efforts — and continues to lead efforts — in re-shoring. Suntron educates other companies about benefits of manufacturing in the U.S. and risks and costs associated with offshore manufacturing. Suntron’s renewable energy manufacturing and assembly experience includes electronics for hybrid and electric cars, smart grid power reduction equipment, and green initiative lighting fixtures, as well as solar-powered GPS rotation control systems and field measurement devices for the nuclear industry.

“Our competitive strengths allow Suntron’s renewable energy customers to enjoy the benefits of leveraging our integrated model to improve their time to market,” says Michael Seltzer, vice president of sales and marketing for Suntron. “We can enhance manufacturing flexibility, reduce inventory liability, remove redundant and non-value add processes, and simplify customers’ supply chain.”

Outstanding Small/Medium Manufacturer:
CMC Steel Arizona

CMC Steel Arizona LogoCommercial Metals Company’s Mesa facility is the nation’s first micro-steel mill. The facility is the most cost effective producer of rebar in the world due to the technology employed by the plant. The facility was built according to the latest environmental standards. CMC employs environmentally conscious designs for manufacturing steel and reinforcing bar. The company plans to add nearly 200 manufacturing jobs at the facility by the end of this month. CMC will boost the Gateway area’s plan to become a major economic center due to the plant’s proximity to Mesa Gateway Airport and the surrounding local businesses, as well as ASU’s Polytech campus. CMC chose its Mesa location due to the positive business environment of the Gateway area. Commissioned in August 2009, CMC Arizona quickly ramped up to full capacity within the fi rst year of operation. The mill’s compact, effi cient footprint is designed to economically serve the Southwest and surrounding markets. CMC Steel Arizona leveraged the engineering and steelmaking knowledge of its most talented employees and strives to continue to improve its efficiencies to benefit both customers and shareholders. This cutting-edge technology helps CMC deliver high quality products on time, every time.

Excellence in Innovation:
Larson Camouflage Dunn-Edwards Corporation

Larson CamouflageLarson — which has grown its business more than 200 percent in the past five years — has a history of coming up with increasingly creative and unusual ways to camouflage antennas for wireless network developers. Utility concealment components made by Larson include saguaros for Arizona customers, broad-leafed trees, palm trees and various conifers, complete with epoxy bark and realistic needles supplied by artificial Christmas tree manufacturers, and flagpoles. Larson works with site developers to ensure each project is being accurately designed, coordinated, fabricated and installed. Larson places the same emphasis on the appearance and integrity of its sites that each carrier places on the functionality of their network.

Among Larson’s more notable clients is Pebble Beach Golf Links. Larson was hired to build four snags, which were designed to look like trees that have been struck by lighting, because that’s what blends with the landscape there. In addition, Larson created a fake chimney to hide antennae at the historic clubhouse.

Excellence in Sustainability:
Dunn-Edwards Corporation

Dunn LogoDunn-Edwards chose Phoenix in 2009 to construct the most automated and eco-efficient manufacturing and distributing paint facility in the world. As a result, the company brought 150 manufacturing jobs to the area in the fields of engineering, process control, instrument technician, research and development, information technology and machine operation. The 336,000-square-foot plant manufacturing facility is the world’s first LEED Gold-certified manufacturing facility. The company was awarded the coveted LEED Gold-certification in June of 2011. LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Recycled materials were used to build the facility. The operations design incorporates innovative technology for the reuse of manufacturing by-products. Products manufactured at the Phoenix facility use the latest and greatest green technology made from renewable resources.

Manufacturers of the Year honored

Arizona Manufacturers CouncilThe Arizona Manufacturers Council recognized winners at the 2012 Manufacturer of the Year Summit and Awards Luncheon on Friday, May 11, at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Phoenix, 122 N. 2nd St.

For more information on the Manufacturer of the Year Summit and Awards Luncheon, visit Arizona Chambers’ website at azchamber.com/events.


Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

Aerospace and defense industry - AZ Business Magazine March/April 2012

Aerospace And Defense Industry – Critical To Expanding Economy

Aerospace and defense industry is critical to expanding economy

When I’m asked to name one sector of Arizona’s technology community that is critical to expanding the strength of the economic recovery, I always sum it up in two letters: A&D  — the aerospace and defense industry. It’s a cornerstone industry for Arizona, as our state has seen groundbreaking innovation in this arena for decades.

Boeing, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northup Grumman and Orbital Sciences are just a handful of the state’s major industry players contributing to Arizona’s impressive resume. An Arizona economic impact study conducted in 2010 reported that compensation per employee in the Arizona aerospace and defense industry is approximately $109,000. This is 2.3 times the statewide average for all employed individuals. The study also reported when accounting for multiplier effects, the Arizona A&D industry in 2009 can account for a total of 93,800 jobs, labor income of $6.9 billion, and gross state product of $8.8 billion.

But keeping Arizona’s aerospace and defense industry healthy and at pace with the ever-changing knowledge-based economy requires competitive business policies and a coordinated effort among state and federal leaders. Recognizing the critical importance of this imperative, there has been a resurgent statewide support for A&D over the last few years.

A big step was taken when Gov. Jan Brewer created the Arizona A&D Commission. Its active members develop industry goals, offer technical support, recommend legislation and provide overall direction. Another milestone occurred when the Arizona Commerce Authority formed and designated the aerospace and defense industry as one of its foundational pillars. Through the efforts of these two organizations, a request for proposal was issued for the first ever Aerospace, Aviation & Defense Requirements Conference in Arizona. Hosted by the Arizona Technology Council in late January, this successful historic event offered a major opportunity for the A&D community to connect with potential new partners. Attendees also heard a multitude of informative speakers, including a gripping keynote address delivered by Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, the Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force.

A new chapter in the state’s expanding role in A&D research also recently began when the Arizona A&D Research Collaboratory was formed. The organization brings leaders from Arizona’s A&D industries together with researchers from the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to work together to gain insight into future technological needs for A&D.

Although these initiatives and programs indicate that there’s a resurgence of attention on A&D in Arizona, there are several key elements upon which the industry leaders within the state must still focus. The industry can’t do it alone. We need a unified congressional delegation employing strategies focused on promoting the desirable, high-wage jobs that A&D bring to their constituents.

We also need states leaders to take the lead in advocating for federal A&D projects that are critical to the existence of the state’s industrial base. These efforts not only reap benefits to the large manufacturers but they are hugely significant to building a robust small business supplier base in the state.

Indeed there are great needs still to be met for achieving newly conceived and exciting goals for manned space flight, homeland security and connecting the world with ever-evolving modern communications technologies. With the proper support, Arizona’s aerospace and defense industry can be critical to meeting those needs.

Steven G. Zylstra is president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Technology Council.

Arizona Business Magazine March/April 2012