Northrop Grumman Supplier Symposium Reaches 36 Companies in Rockford Region

northrop grumman logo

ROCKFORD, May 27 — The Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC), the Rockford Area Aerospace Network (RAAN) and Congressman Adam Kinzinger welcomed Northrop Grumman to Rockford today to foster connections with 36 northern Illinois companies at a supplier symposium.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global provider of products and services — especially the defense industry — including aerospace, electronic systems, information systems and technical services.

The Rockford Region is the largest center of aerospace production employment in Illinois and sixth in the United States. It has five tier-one companies in Winnebago County alone and 90+ supporting suppliers in the region, with 250+ in the wider two-state cluster that includes Wisconsin.

The purpose of the symposium was to shed light on the opportunities at Northrop Grumman and the process of becoming a supplier. In addition to a 45-minute presentation, the morning included 10-minute one-on-one meetings for businesses with Northrop Grumman representatives (think “speed dating”) as well as roundtable discussions on international business, government contract procurement and workforce resources.

“We are grateful to welcome Northrop Grumman to the Rockford Region and to introduce them to our impressive manufacturing and service resources,” said Michael Nicholas, president of the RAEDC. Today’s event was an excellent opportunity for both our suppliers and Northrop Grumman, with the potential for mutually beneficial results, Nicholas said.

“Suppliers, including small, disadvantaged, minority and veteran-owned companies, are critical to our success,” said Gloria Pualani, corporate director, Global Supplier Diversity Programs/Government Relations, Northrop Grumman Corporation. “That’s why we do events like these in Rockford and other locations around the country. So we can reach out and connect with a broad and diverse base of potential suppliers. As a leading global security company, maintaining a diverse supplier base helps us to provide increasingly more innovative and affordable solutions and products to our customers.”

Clayton Balmes of Spartacus Group, a specialty lubricants manufacturer in Rockford, said he appreciates the opportunities, resources and connections at events like this because they provide a path to success. “People at this event are good-hearted, transparent and here to help.”

Jessica Dishman of Safety Socket, a fastener supplier in Gilberts, found value in the exposure provided by the symposium as well as the regional networking. “It’s such a small world that you never know when that one person you meet will be the person you need.”

In 2014, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council coordinated with Congressman Kinzinger’s office on similar supplier symposiums in Rockford that connected 25 companies with Boeing and 38 with Lockheed Martin.
“Manufacturing is making a comeback in the United States, Illinois and the Rockford Area, and we are really seeing the benefits of that,” Kinzinger said.

RAAN Chairman Jeff Kaney emphasized that this is a time for our region to shine.

“Rockford is the aerospace capital of Illinois. We are a very strong cluster that is gaining attention,” said Kaney, CEO of Kaney Aerospace in Rockford.

Media coverage
RAEDC photos of the day on Facebook


northrop grumman supplier symposium crowd









northrop grumman supplier symposium carrie anaya










 northrop grumman beach shelow kinzinger









northrop grumman tizoc loza










The Rockford Area Aerospace Network was formed by the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, which works with partners to improve the economic strength of the Rockford Region by helping employers retain and create quality jobs.
RAAN members focus on six initiatives that address the aerospace industry’s greatest needs:
• Enhancing the global brand of Rockford as “Mid-America’s best international aerospace community.”
• Fostering innovation through industry and cross-industry synergies.
• Encouraging supplier development through growing awareness of requirements and continuous improvement.
• Expand business development opportunities through B2B matchmaking and sales missions.
• Increasing the focus on workforce development that feeds the pipeline at all levels and disciplines for industry growth.
• Growing the size and diversity of our cluster by attracting new companies to establish operations in the Rockford Region.
Companies have reported more than $7 million in direct sales as a result of participation in RAAN activities.

The primary role of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) is to collaboratively improve the economic strength of the Rockford Region by helping employers retain and create quality jobs. 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.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. The company’s mission is to be at the forefront of technology and innovation, delivering superior capability in tandem with maximized cost efficiencies. The security solutions it provides help secure freedoms for our nation as well as those of our allies.

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger is the Representative for the 16th Congressional District of Illinois. Congressman Kinzinger was first elected to Congress in 2010 and has represented the Rockford Region since 2013. He serves on the House Energy & Commerce Committee with seats on three subcommittees, including the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. Kinzinger is committed to supporting policies that promote manufacturing and workforce development to ensure that the Rockford Region remains a key supplier to the U.S. military, especially in the aerospace sector. As a member of the U.S Air Force and Air National Guard, Kinzinger has flown the KC-135 Stratotanker and the RC-26 surveillance aircraft. He was born in Kankakee, grew up in Bloomington and now resides in Channahon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *