ROCKFORD, Aug. 18 — AAR Corp., the largest aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) operator in the United States, met with the leaders of 26 regional businesses today at an event coordinated by the Rockford Area Economic Development Council and sponsored by Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD).
The AAR Corp. Supplier Event, conducted at the airport, was designed to introduce the Rockford Region’s robust supply chain to AAR, which is partnering with RFD to build a $40 million, 24/7 facility at the airport to service next-generation, wide-body aircraft. The 201,000-square-foot location is expected to hire up to 500 people and open in 2016.
Fostering connections not only helps AAR find potential partnership for its composite material repair, ground support equipment and aircraft welding needs but also opens doors for local companies to connect with AAR and fellow attendees.
“Today’s event was an excellent opportunity for both our suppliers and AAR Corp., with the potential for mutually beneficial results,” said Michael Nicholas, President of the RAEDC.
“As a global company headquartered in Illinois, we are excited to create more jobs in our home state, not just at the maintenance facility itself but also in terms of local suppliers,” said Danny Martinez, Vice President of Technical Services Development for AAR Corp.
“It’s certainly evident how perfectly AAR fits into this region’s future. Their enthusiasm is contagious,” said Mike Dunn, Executive Director of Chicago Rockford International Airport.
Advanced Heat Treating of Loves Park was impressed with the “openness” of conversations and the “efficient” process with AAR Corp., said Nicole Smith, business development manager.
“It’s definitely the initial contact, but here I have someone’s name, contact information and a timeline to follow up,” Smith said.
Ultrasonic Power Corp. of Freeport, which provides eco-friendly industrial cleaning systems, saw possible alignment with AAR Corp. because they serve many of the same customers.
“When we heard AAR was coming, it was natural for us to get in touch and let them know that we could supply them with all of their cleaning needs,” said Steve Myers, Vice President of Engineering.
Willie Smith, director of operations for Ardekin Precision, a veteran-owned precision manufacturing company in Rockford, said this kind of event is important for one reason: “Growth.” Not just for his company but for the “sustainability of the Rockford area.”
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