Mayor Lisa Brown Takes Action to Attract Business With Tech Hub Designation, EDA Decision Pending.

On Wednesday, April 10th, Spokane Mayor Lisa Brown signed an Executive Order supporting the city’s economic development strategy around the newly designated American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center (AAMMC) Tech Hub.

Mayor Brown introduced the executive order by explaining that the city is doubling down on it’s investment in economic development, and wants to demonstrate that Spokane is ready when industry is ready to invest in both the tech hub and other economic investments.

“Last October, the Biden Harris administration announced the American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center right here in Spokane. Our region competed against regions across the country and got this initial designation. It’s very exciting because it means there is a focus here on what could be potentially more manufacturing jobs, likely more jobs in the aerospace supply chain. It means we are doing research and development on the next generation of materials that will go on aircraft and spacecraft….We are one of only 31 of these in the country. We want to take steps to set ourselves apart from the other hubs in the country, especially as we go to the next levels of competition. That’s why today I am signing an executive order directing a new economic development priority review policy that will take effect immediately,” said Mayor Brown before enacting the order.

The executive order creates a rapid response team at the City of Spokane to fast-track projects working with the city on permitting, public works, planning, and more to establish or expand business footprints in Spokane, explained Steve MacDonald, Spokane’s Director of Community and Economic Development. You can watch the entire announcement from Mayor Lisa Brown here.

The AAMMC Tech Hub is currently competing for $72 million dollars in phase 2 of the Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs Program from the Economic Development Administration. The EDA is expected to distribute $480 million in grants to 5-10 designated Tech Hubs, with awards of approximately $40-$75 million announced this summer. The Spokane-Spokane-Valley-Coeur d’Alene based tech hub is one of 31 Regional Tech Hubs across the country, selected from approximately 400 original EDA Tech Hubs applicants competing for funding in phase 2 of the process.

The phase 2 proposal was submitted by the AAMMC regional team On February 29th, 2024. The five-year budget proposal includes $72 million in federal funding with an additional $8 million in matching funds from industry partners such as Boeing, Collins RTX, Spirit AeroSystems, Synesqo, and Toray America, along with venture capital from Lakeside Companies. There is also substantial financial and policy investment from various entities including Gonzaga University, Washington Trust Bank, Mountain West Bank, The Spokane International Airport, S3R3, The City of Spokane and Mayor Brown, Electroimpact, Accudyne Systems, ATC Manufacturing, and many others.

Senator Maria Cantwell, the Chief Architect of the CHIPS & Science Act which is the basis for the Regional Tech Hubs competition, expressed strong support for the AAMMC application, saying: “I believe this proposal fits exactly within Congressional intent of the Tech Hub program since this Hub would help onshore, upscale, and supercharge manufacturing technologies that are critical to our nation’s international competitiveness, economic growth, and national security. Spokane – the only Tech Hub designated to focus on aerospace – is of particular significance for further developing the advanced aerospace manufacturing ecosystem that will help the United States lead the world in these light, efficient, rapidly produced, and recyclable aerospace materials technologies.”

The AAMMC aims to bolster U.S. economic and national security by enabling advanced technologies and creating new domestic supply chains for high-rate production of advanced thermoplastic composite (TPC) aero-structures in defense and commercial markets. The testbed and training center will accelerate the aerospace domestic supply chain by hardening technologies at initial low production stages of new programs in Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers. High production rates will be fulfilled through new domestic suppliers supported by private investment in the AAMMC Impact Fund, loan guarantees, and regional support in new entrepreneurs and small supplier growth.

The AMMMC will be the only site in the world with the tools and equipment under one roof needed to advance manufacturing technology and accelerate production. Local and global aerospace companies worked together with federal labs at NASA, the Air Force Research Lab, supply chain and other key industry contacts to collaboratively develop a detailed plan for proving advanced composite manufacturing methods and part families through TRL’s 6-9 to bring them to market much faster. American industry has previously proven the reduced cost and weight of TPCs in both commercial and defense applications, but the U.S. has so far lacked the infrastructure to demonstrate scalability, meet domestic demands, and compete globally for high-rate composite fabrication of larger aero-structures.

“After a year of collaboration, the consortium has designed a testbed and training center capable of pioneering the next generation of lightweight aircraft parts with equipment currently unavailable anywhere in the world, integrated with new workforce and technical training programs. Proving the high-rate capabilities of new thermoplastic composite airplane parts before global competitors, enables the U.S. to meet the growing needs for sustainable, lightweight aero-structures across defense and commercial industries. With this global leadership in technology development and skills training, the Inland Northwest will be uniquely positioned to attract new manufacturers and support a new American supply chain,” says John J. Hemmingson, Founder & C.E.O., Lakeside Companies, a venture capital firm supporting the effort.

An intense, region spanning effort went into developing the phase two application. Consortium members formed working groups to address the areas of workforce and technical education; research and higher education; industry and technology maturation; and economic and entrepreneur development.  Working groups from Washington and Idaho – co-led by Greater Spokane Inc. and the Coeur d’Alene Economic Development Council – developed a robust hub and spoke model to recruit, support, and train workforce across the region, attract economic investment, and establishes new hands-on training partnerships between technical education and industry. Gonzaga University lead local Institutions of Higher Education in aligning programs and research opportunities.

Gary Ballew, Vice President of Economic Development for Greater Spokane Inc., said submitting the Phase II application was a huge undertaking and an amazing team effort. “So many different groups chipped in to develop the plans and projects that made a great application. The enthusiasm for the workforce, economic, and technology development plans we have put together fills me with excitement for what’s ahead for Spokane and the greater region.”

Excitement and support for the effort from both Washington and Idaho is clear both in consortium membership and from bipartisan support expressed by Senators from both States:

Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and James E. Risch expressed support saying, “This consortium has the right membership, location, and plan to meet and exceed the goals of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Tech Hub designation. This testbed and training center can bring great rehabilitation to the region by utilizing a former manufacturing center and upskilling workers in next generation skills to advance a market disrupting, advanced composite aerostructures. We look forward to working together to further this exciting opportunity for the Inland Northwest and the nation.”

“The greater Spokane region is already a national leader in advanced aviation materials, including thermoplastic composite materials for the next generation of commercial and military aircraft, and according to the Center, the consortium plans to become a globally competitive leader in less than 10 years with EDA tech hub support,” wrote Senator Cathy McMorris Rodgers in a statement.

The EDA is expected to announce phase 2 winners by early summer.

Current Membership of the AAMMC can be viewed here.


FOR PRESS INQUIRES: Maria Lusardi – [email protected]


The AAMMC is propelling America to the forefront of aerospace innovation by establishing a world-class testbed for advancing high-rate manufacturing techniques for next generation aerospace materials and parts in the Spokane Coeur d’Alene region. Learn more at