Rockford Region Cultivates Opportunities at Paris Air Show

More than a dozen aerospace organizations and companies promoted the strength of the Rockford Region’s aerospace supply chain and pursued opportunities to expand their scope world-wide June 19 – 22 at the 52nd International Paris Air Show. The four-day show hosts more than 142,000 professionals and more than 2,300 exhibitors from 48 countries.

Pair Air Show
State of Illinois’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Booth at the 2017 Paris Air Show

In addition to the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC), seven companies attended as part of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) pavilion:

  • American Precision Assemblers*
  • American Standard Circuits*
  • Bertsche
  • IMT Forge Group
  • Ingenium Aerospace*
  • Midwest Aero Support*
  • MicroLink Devices, Inc.

Of the seven companies who exhibited within the Illinois Pavilion, four (*) are Rockford Area Aerospace Network (RAAN) members. RAAN is a consortium of companies working to increase the competitiveness of the Rockford Region for aerospace expansion and attraction. These types of shows provide opportunities to increase the international awareness of the Rockford Region and create opportunities to help businesses grow locally by connecting globally.

This year, in addition to traditional meetings the Illinois Pavilion hosted a reception welcoming over one hundred people from several countries. This provided exhibitors and businesses the opportunity to network in a social setting while learning more about the Rockford Region and RAAN.

The RAEDC met with multiple economic development and trade organizations representing both municipalities and companies from France, Italy, Poland, Germany, and the United Kingdom with services ranging from logistics companies to research and development facilities. “These relationships can lead to primary job growth by generating contacts with businesses in our region to global partners enabling them to provide additional services and products internationally. As with previous international trade shows, it is also a long-term opportunity for more global regions to grow their U.S. presence, more specifically in the Rockford Region by connecting with the RAEDC and RAAN members” shares Jimsi Kuborn, vice president of investor relations.

The theme of conversations during the International Paris Air Show revolved around additive manufacturing and the process to gain Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for the 3-D printing of aircraft components. The future of the aerospace industry is revolving around innovation and disruptive technology. The Rockford Region is readily equipped to continue to be a leader through research and development by incorporating new metals, new processes, and new testing methodologies.

Participation in the International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget is vital to the economic development of the Rockford Region, home to four tier-one companies and more than 250 suppliers in a 90-minute radius. This critical mass is strengthened by the region’s strong advanced manufacturing skills, engineering expertise, and a nimble education-to-workforce pipeline. This year the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity was the recipient of a federal grant which allowed the State of Illinois, the seven companies within the booth and the Rockford Region the ability to attend.

“Working with the State of Illinois’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity provides the opportunity for many businesses to meet with different types of companies during a short timeframe and learn about the highly skilled workforce, advanced manufacturing and aerospace supply chains, and the logistics that make the Rockford Region, their Opportunity Region,” states Gerald Sagona, director of national business development for the RAEDC.

“This is our second time attending this show and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed it both times. Besides the exhibition itself, there are always a number of talks and conferences going on throughout the four days on a variety of aerospace-related topics. Attending the Paris Air Show has helped us tremendously when it comes to not only increasing our Aerospace business in Europe but globally as well. The Paris Air show is a great investment of both time and money. We look forward to coming back in 2019,” states Anaya Vardya, president & CEO of American Standard Circuits in West Chicago, IL and RAAN member.

The Paris Air Show alternates annually with the Farnborough International Airshow (England) as one of the world’s premier aerospace trade exhibitions.

The following companies represented the region in their own exhibition space: AAR Corp., Esterline, GE Aviation, Honeywell, UTC Aerospace Systems, and Woodward, Inc.


The Paris Air Show is the biggest show dedicated to the aerospace industry worldwide. A true force for the development of this industry and catalyst to many international cooperation operations, it is the meeting place favored by many actors of the industry who exhibit, sell and buy the latest innovations. Thanks to the enthusiasm of the aerospace community and the public, the Show offers business, visibility and contacts opportunities like nowhere-else. Created in 1909, the Paris Air Show is a must-attend organized by SIAE, 100% owned by the GIFAS. More information about Paris Air Show :


The role of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) is to collaborate with regional stakeholders to cultivate opportunities for primary job growth that increase the economic well-being of our region. The RAEDC markets the region to attract new capital investment, while assisting existing business with resources for sustainable growth. The RAEDC works closely with many partners 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. As the economic development organization for the region, the RAEDC also serves as the area’s data collection agency on all new capital investment, retained and created quality jobs, and renovated commercial/industrial space.

Visit our Facebook page for photos from the exhibition booth or from the reception during the Paris Air Show.