Aerospace Leaders, Universities & More Unite for Inland Northwest Tech Hub Application 

Leading aerospace companies and research universities have joined nearly 50 area workforce training, venture capital, economic development, labor, tribal and government groups in the Inland Northwest to support establishing the American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center (AAMMC). If selected, the AAMMC tech hub will establish a world-class testbed for production, commercialization, and entrepreneurship in the Inland…

Tech Hub Will Establish a World-Class Testbed for Production, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship in the Inland Northwest through the CHIPS and Science Act.

SPOKANE, WA – Leading aerospace companies and research universities have joined nearly 50 area workforce training, venture capital, economic development, labor, tribal and government groups in the Inland Northwest to support establishing the American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center (AAMMC) TechHub application.

Under the Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) program, this consortium of members from Washington and Northern Idaho proposes to advance U.S. economic and national security through creation of the American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center. The Center’s advancements will result in new domestic supply chains, able to meet the global high-rate production demands of advanced composite aero structures for both the defense and commercial markets if funded through the CHIPS and Science Act.  

Consortium members are enthusiastic and laser-focused on reversing the trend toward foreign suppliers and eager for consideration by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the Tech Hub designation in Phase 1, followed by an implementation grant selection in Phase 2. The EDA will designate 20 Tech Hubs in the nation in Phase 1. Only those awarded this Tech Hub designation in Phase 1 will compete for Phase 2 grant, each approximately $65 million. 

“The industry goals for proving new production capabilities of thermoplastic composites (TPC) for aerospace at the AAMMC will lead to a new domestic supply chain and begin to reverse U.S. reliance on these foreign made materials. Global demand for advanced aerospace composites is growing exponentially and this industry collaboration with our area education and workforce partners will build those capabilities again, right here in the Inland Northwest.  This center will not only help us catch up to foreign competition but is critical to America regaining our position as the leading supplier of aerospace components in the world,” says John Hemmingson, CEO of Lakeside Companies.   

“Gonzaga is proud to serve as the principal applicant and led consortium member for this exciting new composite materials center,” said Thayne M. McCulloh, president of Gonzaga University. “This represents a dynamic partnership of leaders in industry, research, education and workforce, all collaborating to achieve high-rate production goals for the next-generation of aerospace.” 

The American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center Tech Hub will integrate education and workforce training with small and medium-sized industry partners, alongside global aerospace leaders and advanced research institutions. This collaboration will enhance learning, training, and broaden the knowledge base of advanced composite materials.  

This new Center will accelerate growth of our domestic supply base: 

  • Establish a testbed facility for large thermoplastic composite (TPC) aerospace materials at Technology Readiness Levels six through nine, such as ribs, beams, doors, bulkheads, and stiffened skins. 
  • Advance a market disrupting, high-rate production solutions that maintains the same performance of most advanced composite aero structures flying today at low production rates.  
  • Expedite net-zero carbon emission goals by 2050 for NASA and the aerospace industry. 
  • Upskill our current workforce, coordinate with Tribal nations and workforce leaders, and utilize the best-practices for supporting underrepresented communities, in both Washington and Idaho, to model the next generation of aerospace jobs.  
  • Center the Inland Northwest as a destination for aerospace suppliers and private investment to support new products and companies within the U.S. aerospace supply chain. 

The Center’s application would repurpose a 386,000 sq ft former manufacturing facility on 50 acres adjacent to the Spokane International Airport. This testbed will reflect an inclusive framework designed to expedite the evolution and commercialization of the domestic aerospace supply chain, foster education, attract robust entrepreneurial interest, and drive private sector investments into new companies. 

The two-phase Technology Hubs awards are decided by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) in coordination with the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the U.S. Department of Commerce CHIPS and Science Act. Selection is based on: potential of the region for global competitiveness; participation of industry; equity and inclusion; capacity of workforce; “lab to market” products; and overall impact on American economic and national security. Due to the strong regional collaboration of this consortium, the American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center application excels in each of these categories and looks forward to working together to further this exciting opportunity for the Inland Northwest and the nation. 

Tech Hub Consortium Members: American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center  

Aerospace & Industry Leaders

  • Boeing 
  • Unitech Composites Inc. 
  • Electroimpact 
  • Advanced Thermoplastics Composites (ATC) Manufacturing 
  • Northwest I-90 Manufacturing Alliance 
  • StanCraft 
  • Avista 
  • Continuous Composites Incorporated (CCI) 
  • Blue Origin 
  • Raytheon/Collins 
  • Lockheed Martin 

Higher & Secondary Education

  • Gonzaga University 
  • University of Idaho 
  • University of Washington 
  • Eastern Washington University 
  • Community Colleges of Spokane 
  • North Idaho College 
  • Spokane Public Schools 
  • Coeur d’Alene Public Schools 
  • Elevate North Academy 
  • Washington State University 

Venture Development

  • Washington Trust Bank 
  • Lakeside Companies 

Workforce Development & Labor

  • Spokane Workforce Council 
  • International Association of Machinists District 751 
  • Machinists Institute 
  • Idaho Workers Development Council 
  • Coeur d’Alene Economic Development Corporation  

Government, Tribes, and Economic Development

  • Washington State Department of Commerce 
  • Idaho State Department of Commerce 
  • Spokane Tribe of Indians 
  • Kalispel Tribe of Indians 
  • City of Post Falls 
  • City of Coeur d’Alene 
  • Spokane County 
  • Greater Spokane Inc. 
  • S3R3 Solutions 
  • Spokane International Airport 
  • Coeur d’Alene Regional Chamber 
  • West Plains Chamber of Commerce 
  • Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce 
  • City of Spokane 
  • Coeur d’Alene Tribe 

In Coordination With:

  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 
  • NASA 
  • Additional Defense OEMs