By Indiana Economic Development Corporation
Often referred to as the “Crossroads of America,” Indiana sits at the center of commerce, transportation and trade. Hoosiers carry that tradition forward with an eye toward innovation, collaboration and maintaining an unparalleled environment for corporate growth. When you get away from the coasts to the heart of the nation you’ll discover that Indiana is a state with impressive accomplishments. The state has some of the best-qualified manufacturing workers in the nation — with one in five Hoosiers employed in manufacturing and logistics — and ranks number 13 nationally in science and engineering doctorates awarded. Behind these solid statistics are impressive post-secondary educational resources, including Purdue University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and the University of Notre Dame, among others. All of this, combined with the Hoosier state’s AAA bond rating and common-sense regulatory environment, results in success for the state’s aerospace partners. In 2015 alone, over $2 billion was invested in global aeronautics and advanced manufacturing in Indiana.
True innovation knows no boundaries, and Indiana understands and embraces partnerships that enhance the aerospace industry. The Institute for Advanced Composite Manufacturing (IACMI) is a perfect example of what happens when creators, academics and government join forces. The IACMI is a multi-state, $259 million public-private partnership that brings together industry, universities, national laboratories and government to advance commercial deployment of advanced composites. Purdue University Research Park in Lafayette is home to one of the five national IACMI composite research centers, utilizing the knowledge of the university’s engineers and graduate students to develop new production processes and 3-D composite printing. Clearly, the Purdue educational experience is producing outstanding aerospace professionals: three Purdue students were named to the “20 Twenties” list of outstanding student aerospace leaders by Aviation Week and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Of course, Lafayette is home to more than Purdue University – it also boasts a 225,000-square-foot GE Aviation plant that will assemble the LEAP engine from CFM International. Total orders and commitments for more than 6,000 LEAP engines have been received to date. The LEAP engine will power the Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and COMAC (China) C919 for airlines worldwide. The $100 million assembly facility demonstrates the state’s ability to provide the resources that nurture both engineering excellence and a welcoming environment for the world’s largest jet engine manufacturer.
In South Bend, the University of Notre Dame has taken part in a unique strategic collaboration with General Electric, resulting in an investment of $25.2 million to establish the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Facility at Ignition Park. With 25,000 feet of the 43,000-square-foot facility occupied by Notre Dame, the Turbomachinery Facility houses five test facilities, a machine shop and a supercomputing center. This substantial investment allows for performance testing of gas turbine technology used by the aircraft and energy industries. With so much hands-on experience, the Notre Dame graduates involved in this initiative bring both impressive academic credentials and applied experience to their aerospace careers.
Adding to the geographic diversity of Indiana’s educational assets, Terre Haute’s Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology was named the top institution for engineering programs, chemical programs and civil engineering by US News & World Report. These highly-skilled graduates can be found in prestigious post-doctoral programs and research positions — not just in Indiana, but around the country.
With world-class universities and highly-skilled engineers, Indiana isn’t just attracting attention in the U.S. International aviation leaders have also taken note of the state’s Midwestern ingenuity. Rolls-Royce has had a presence in the U.S. for over a century, and Indiana proudly claims the largest manufacturing site for Rolls-Royce civil aero engines outside of the company’s U.K. headquarters. With a $42 million advanced manufacturing facility producing the next generation of jet engine components, Rolls-Royce understands the tangible benefits of doing business in Indiana. While Hoosier engineering expertise makes large-scale aerospace operations possible, Governor Holcomb and state leaders’ commitment to keep taxes low and regulations sensible creates an environment built for continued growth and investment. The fact that the state is second in the nation for skilled labor and also for its regulatory environment is further proof that Indiana is a place where aerospace business can thrive.
With Indiana’s founding as a state two hundred years ago, Hoosiers were known for rugged individualism and a steadfast commitment to building.
Settling a new frontier quickly led to agricultural dominance, with manufacturing activity not far behind in the bustling Northwest corner of the state. Today, Indiana complements its storied past as builders with contributions for the next frontier: aerospace. No stranger to the steel industry, LaPorte is home to Alcoa’s new $100 million nickel-based superalloy jet engine facility, which opened in 2015. A few months later, Alcoa opened the world’s largest aluminum-lithium plant in Lafayette. The aerospace company took full advantage of the state’s skilled workforce, employing approximately 3,200 Hoosiers across our state. In fact, Indiana claims more Alcoa aerospace employees than any other state in the country.
Indiana brings together superior educational assets and a workforce that is prepared to help companies excel on all levels. It is a state that works for the aerospace industry, with a solid commitment to moving innovation and business forward. It all starts with knowledge, a competitive workforce, and an environment that nurtures innovation. It starts in Indiana.
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