By Rachel Pritchett
BREMERTON NATIONAL AIRPORT — Kitsap County very much was
included in Washington Aerospace Partnership’s study that landed
the Boeing 737 MAX in Renton and formed the basis for Gov.
Christine Gregoire’s recommendations to boost engineering in
That came to light Thursday when WAP Co-chair Tayloe Washburn
made his third visit to Kitsap County, where he revealed further
detail of the study not yet made public to 20 top local
Now that the 737 MAX is secured in Washington, there’s a great
tendency to “crawl back to our silos,” he said. “For you guys, that
would be a mistake.”
Kitsap’s best bet in going after the 737 MAX supplier business
would be to advertise the local workforce and land availability, he
and one of the study’s authors, Craig Gottlieb said.
Target suppliers that are going to have to expand and let them
know that Kitsap County’s workforce has a parallel industry in
shipbuilding that is transferrable to aerospace, Gottlieb said.
Washington has about 650 aerospace companies, and 550 of them
are Boeing suppliers. Of those, 100 are Boeing 737 suppliers.
The Port of Bremerton should let Boeing know it’s willing to
lease space to subcontractors in the South Kitsap Industrial Area.
Leasing would be cheaper than building new space, Gottlieb
Kitsap County competitors Moses Lake, with its dirt-cheap
energy, and Spokane with its tight aerospace cluster also were in
the study. And also prominently discussed was Texas, probably
Renton’s toughest competitor. Texas might have been less costly for
Boeing, but also might not have had the workforce productivity that
Renton had. Because of the high anticipated demand for the MAX,
Boeing has to deliver on time.
Washburn urged the group to pressure Gov. Christine Gregoire not
to cut education further. The system needs to churn out a lot more
engineers very quickly if Washington is to stay competitive, he
The mood among the local leaders that have met for half a year
now was much more serious than in the past. Nearly all local cities
mayors, economic-development chiefs, county Commissioner Josh Brown
and representatives of Safe Boats International and U.S. Rep. Norm
Dicks, D-Belfair, seemed eager to do everything they could to grab
a piece of the 737 MAX action for Kitsap. The re-engined 737 MAX
project is the biggest manufacturing opportunity to come to
Washington in perhaps decades.
The group, calling itself the KitsapAerospace and Defense
Alliance, on Thursday had in hand a consultant’s analysis about
local attributes on which new promotional materials will be based
Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppolacq said, “I think we really need
to brand ourselves.” The Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention
Bureau’s brand of “the natural side of Puget Sound” doesn’t work
for business, Coppola said.
Leaders agreed they’d try to have as big a presence as possible
at the Aerospace & Defense Supplier Summit coming to Seattle in
mid-March. It is the first time ever the global convention has been
held in the United States.
Port CEO Cary Bozeman predicted “hard work” and “boots on the
street” is next in the MAX chase.
The public version of the WAP study can be read on its website
Kitsap County governments and businesses pledged $45,000 to help
fund the study and be a part of it, but has not yet paid that