Lockheed Martin Supplier Symposium Reaches 38 Companies in the Rockford Region


Lockheed Martin Supplier Symposium Reaches 38 Companies in the Rockford Region

August 25, 2014

Congressman Kinzinger Hosts Event to Reach Out to Suppliers in Area

ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS – The Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC), Rockford Area Aerospace Network (RAAN) and Congressman Adam Kinzinger welcomed Lockheed Martin to Rockford for a supplier symposium on August 13, 2014. Thirty-eight regional companies participated and had interviews with the Lockheed Martin team to gain insight on becoming a supplier for the global company.

Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company focusing on intelligence, homeland security, government information, technology, defense and space. The company employs approximately 113,000 worldwide and has more than 300 alliances in 70 countries. The Rockford region is an aerospace hotbed with more than 200 aerospace companies operating in the region. The purpose of the symposium was to connect Lockheed Martin with these companies and realize the benefits of the region’s instant supply chain.

“For some of the companies, this was a starting point and for others it was building and expanding an already existing relationship with Lockheed Martin,” said Mark Podemski, Vice President for Development, Rockford Area Economic Development Council. “Overall, becoming a supplier to an international company such as Lockheed Martin is a process similar to a journey – it takes time to reach that destination. We are proud that Lockheed Martin recognizes the Rockford Region and its companies as a place to explore business opportunities. Rockford’s unique strength is the presence of diverse companies at all levels of the supply chain, including assembly, inspection, testing, repair and software.”

One such company based in Rockford is Clinkenbeard. Clinkenbeard is a worldwide leader in the rapid production of complex metal castings and machined parts (metal and plastic). The company said the symposium offers an opportunity to make connections and tout their services to an industry leader.

“It’s very hard for companies to get into these large companies and meet the right people. Now we have some people that we can contact,” said Steve Helfer, General Manager, Clickenbeard.

Emily Mann, Supplier Diversity Program Manager and presenter with Lockheed Martin, was pleased with the number of businesses who participated in the symposium. “Rockford has great businesses and the critical mass of suppliers we’re looking for,” said Mann. “We are impressed with the caliber of companies we met with at the symposium and their level of experience. We believe we may have found some good candidates for working with Lockheed Martin.”

The Lockheed Martin Supplier Symposium was the second aerospace supplier symposium the RAEDC has coordinated on behalf of Congressman Kinzinger in 2014. A symposium with Boeing was held on March 10th.

The primary role of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council is to collaboratively enhance wealth creation in the Rockford Region by helping employers retain and create quality jobs while promoting the region. The RAEDC works closely with many partners to learn what existing and new employers need to grow and to serve as a one-stop resource for clients. The RAEDC seeks to improve the competitiveness of the region by taking what it learns from the region’s employers and engaging the community in the daily work of economic development to improve the competitiveness of the region. The organization was recognized by Expansion Solutions magazine with a 2012 “Top Five” award for its exceptional progress and potential for development in the Aerospace/Defense category.

RAAN (Rockford Area Aerospace Network) is a committee of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) and offers a platform for collaboration among local aerospace companies and institutions that serve the industry. RAAN serves as the forum where the Rockford Region’s aerospace industry cluster development strategy is advanced on an on-going basis. RAAN is supported by the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge and the Economic Development Administration of the Department of Commerce. The Challenge leverages existing resources from 16 federal agencies and award funds to regions that demonstrate the existence of high-growth industries that support a wide range of economic and workforce development activities.


Mark Podemski, Vice President for Development – Rockford Area Economic Development Council

Nancee Long, PR Etc.

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