When Boeing machinists voted in favor of a new contract, it meant keeping production of the 777x airliner in Washington, but it also meant a boost in job growth and the economy of the Spokane area.
At present there are more than 100 manufacturing companies in the Inland Northwest that supply airplane parts, with some of them supplying Boeing exclusively. This new contract could potentially double some of their businesses.
ATC Manufacturing crafts brackets. Thermoplastic composite brackets to be exact, and most of them go to Boeing, which help direct wiring and hydraulic lines in airplanes.
Dan Jorgenson, president of ATC Manufacturing, said the production of the 777x line will grow his business by 25 to 50 percent, and he plans to hire 30 to 60 more employees by the end of the decade, which will more than double his staff.
"You're looking at a 30-year airplane program. We do a good job and continue to be right on the cutting edge of materials and processes, we should be able to ride that wave all the way through the life of the airplane," Jorgenson said.
More than 100 companies in the Spokane area will benefit from the 777x line remaining in Washington.
"Everybody was very heavily involved in watching how this rolled out, and what the effects were of both votes," Robin Toth with Greater Spokane Incorporated said.
The proximity to the I-5 corridor helps some of these manufacturers get sub-contracts and spill over work when a new aircraft goes into production. Greater Spokane Incorporated estimates business will jump by 25 percent and jobs by 15 to 20 percent at these companies.
"But that's just a conservative opinion, and it's our opinion. So hopefully they'll blow that out of the water," Toth said.
Jorgenson said he'll now start planning for a new brighter future in the Inland Northwest.
"It's a great community to be in, we have a great labor force here," he said.
The earliest they'll see the effects of the production for the 777x will be in two years, Jorgenson said. That's when he and many other local companies hope to boost their workforce.