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Aerospace Production

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Aerospace Manufacturing in the Rockford Region (3:08)

B/E Aerospace, Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of aircraft cabin interior products and the world’s leading distributor of aerospace fasteners and consumables has opened the doors to its new 38,000 s.f. Ecosystems assembly facility in Rockford.

The new facility that will house the administrative, research and production operations for B/E Aerospace Inc.’s Ecosystems business, which was established in Rockford in 2007. The product line includes waste and water systems, and components such as vacuum toilets, waste tanks and vacuum generators for the commercial aircraft and business jet markets.

The Rockford Region of Illinois is mid-America’s best international aerospace community.

For a summary of this cluster in our region, click here.

The Rockford Region offers an instant supply chain, with over 250 aerospace and aviation companies, including 11 major tier-one suppliers. With sustained population growth, proximity to colleges/universities, and industry training programs, the Rockford Region ensures a robust supply of high-skilled manufacturing labor to support this growing industry. 

Rockford is at the center of a major economic region with assets vital to the aerospace industry:


  • Technical talent and manufacturing excellence – There are 2.8 million working-age adults within 60 miles and more than 56,000 engineers within 90 miles; as well as 50,000 students enrolled in engineering programs within 500 miles. Several training programs include:

1)      JiET-A

2)      EIGERlab TechWorks

3)      Golden Eagles Manufacturing (GEM) Program


  • Instant supply chain – More than 200 aerospace and aviation firms within 150 miles, including 6 OEMs and 11 tier-one suppliers with a global presence and a wider variety of other supplier and support companies.  


  • Unparalleled global access –Rockford is part of the Chicago region, and is the world’s third-largest multi-modal port system, with international airports, major interstate connections, ocean and river ports and rail services, guaranteeing easy and cost-effective movement of employees, customers and products.

    • Rockford is at the center of one of the largest trading areas in the world: the east-west nexus joining the markets of Europe and Asia and the north-south nexus of NAFTA

    • Rockford’s location is in the central time zone and non-stop passenger service, via O’Hare International Airport, means you can fly to nearly any U.S. city and return on the same business day

    • Less than 10 hours from the major European business centers

    • A non-stop global gateway to all major business center in the world, including daily non-stops to Europe, Asia, S. America, Africa and the Middle East

    • Only U.S. gateway where all six Class-One railroads interchange traffic

    • Nearly 150 intermodal facilities across the Chicago region (more than half of area real estate is devoted to warehouse/distribution)

    • Leading advanced telecommunications infrastructure supports interconnected regional, national and international networks


  • Business-friendly community – A proven track record of helping major corporate brands expand while meeting budgets and schedules.

    • Illinois has the 5th-lowest effective tax rate on new investment (4.6%), according to an April 2011 report by Ernst & Young. Illinois has no separate property tax on equipment and machinery, nor an inventory tax; and has generous sales tax exemptions for business-to-business sales.

    • Workforce training funds are available from local, state and federal sources. For more information:

    • Programs are in place that allows companies to avoid state of Illinois workforce employment taxes. For more information:

    • The Rockford Region has existing buildings to accommodate your needs.  As well, if new construction is preferred, there are excellent options with access to required infrastructure.   We can discuss your site needs in more detail on a conference call.


RAAN (Rockford Area Aerospace Network) is the Rockford region’s Aerospace Industry Cluster Development Strategy. RAAN is a committee of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) and offers a platform for collaboration among local aerospace companies.

All companies located in the Rockford area that supply products or services to aerospace companies are inherently part of our regional aerospace cluster. Companies in a cluster may be competitors yet are interdependent because of common needs, services or supplies; bonded by the region's position of dominance in the industry. In addition, a cluster includes educational institutions, nonprofits, professional businesses and governments that directly support the cluster.

Operating within an industry cluster can increase innovation, efficiency, productivity and competitiveness by providing access to a larger pool of: suppliers; business development opportunities; skilled workers; networking opportunities; shared information on common issues; and specialized support services, such as: workforce recruitment, support infrastructure, and research and training programs.

Driven by private industry, RAAN meets regularly to discuss collaboration opportunities related to business climate, innovation & technology, and workforce development. Additionally, the committee participates as a group, sharing costs, at trade shows & conferences, internationally and domestically, to promote their companies, the local supply chain and the Rockford region. RAAN has jointly hosted supplier fairs with Congressman Manzullo, bringing international OEMs to meet our regional supply chain. Sharing best practices and working as a team to advance our local aerospace cluster has provided great value to members of RAAN. The first step to become a member of RAAN is to meet with Mary Cacioppi, Director of Investor Relations of the RAEDC to discuss membership in the RAEDC.


  • Good access to aerospace engineering and other technical talent
  • Presence of other aerospace R&D operations in the region
  • Training and higher education access
  • High quality of life and culture
  • Access to an airport sites/buildings for testing and prototyping
  • Available commercial air service (O'Hare International Airport, Chicago)