Report: Michigan soars to top of Midwest aerospace industry

Jeff Simek

Pratt & Whitney. Eaton Corporation. The University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering School.

Jeff Simek

According to Jeff Simek, general manager at RCO Aerospace and RCO Engineering, those are but a few of the big names in the aerospace industry who do business in Michigan.

So, as Simek tells it, there shouldn’t be any wonder that a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report on “Aerospace Manufacturing Attractiveness,” released earlier this month, ranks Michigan as the best state in the Midwest for Aerospace manufacturing attractiveness, and lifts the state from eighth in the nation in 2018 to fourth in the 2019 report.

“We have some of the largest global companies in tooling in the state, that are in the top three globally,” said Simek, who sits on the board of the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan. “Michigan’s aerospace industry really is our best kept secret.”

Attracting capital investment
According to PWC, Michigan is home to more than 800 already-existing aerospace companies and has attracted nearly $750 million in additional aerospace capital investments in the past 18 months.

In addition, Simek points out, the global aerospace industry has a forecast demand for 40,000 commercial aircraft valued at nearly $7 trillion over the next 20 years, which is apparent in the current eight-year backlog on aircraft orders, with 65% spent in the supply chain. “This is a significant opportunity for Michigan,” Simek said.

PwC’s feature write-up of Michigan touts its favorable corporate tax structure and a healthy economy as strong contributors to the reason for the ranking advancement and heralds Michigan’s focus of “targeting space-related ventures, ranging from advanced research to space port site analysis for launching low-earth orbit satellites.”

Tony Vernaci

“These rankings are a significant achievement as PwC recognizes and acknowledges Michigan’s history in aerospace, its sustainability, and the growth of the industry now and in the future,” said Tony Vernaci, President of the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan. “Aerospace manufacturers are seeing what Michigan has to offer and are excited about the future of the industry in the state. Being the number one state in the country for tax policy, and third in the nation for its economy, we are confident that we will continue to attract aerospace companies to Michigan.”

Collaboration is working
PwC also acknowledges the work of AIAM, which has taken the reigns for collaborating with partners across the state and around the globe to continue to grow the industry and enhance aerospace educational and career opportunities.

Simek said AIAM has “worked diligently with industry partners around the globe to showcase Michigan’s growth, depth and opportunity for the future in aerospace.”

“We will continue to work with our industry partners to ensure Michigan continues to rise in the rankings by maintaining a pro-business and pro-aerospace environment here in Michigan,” Simek said.

The Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan is a nonprofit, member-driven industry organization. It is a platform for aerospace leaders in the state to work together on a common set of priorities to strengthen and support the continued growth in the industry through talent attraction and new investment in Michigan. Learn more about AIAM by visiting their website: