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East Valley Becoming a Magnet for Aviation, Defense, and Aerospace Manufacturing

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) ranks East Valley as Top 1 for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness and Top 2 for largest employment in space and defense manufacturing. Clearly, its reputation has been well built around aviation, defense and aerospace.  

Aerospace and defense industries have a total of 9,300 employment opportunities for companies all over Mesa, Gilbert, and Chandler. Approximately 50 companies surround the East Valley namely Able Aerospace, Boeing, Cessna, KinetX Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Silent Aire, Deloitte, Footprint, Moog, Wiremasters and many more. 

Northrop Grumman, being one of the top companies to build the world’s most advanced aviation products, continues to grow and invest within the region. The company has plans of expanding its satellite and manufacturing facility in Gilbert, which will double production capacity and add around 200 more jobs. Part of the expansion is the the arrival of the company’s Galaxy 30 (G-30) spacecraft, the 633,000 sq. ft. Launch Vahicles Division facility in Chandler and an Armament Systems being operated in Mesa. 

Brigette Peterson, Mayor of Gilbert said, “Northrop Grumman’s large presence in the East Valley provides many benefits to Arizona’s communities and the state, specifically attracting a highly-educated workforce and increasing the median household income — which in Gilbert is $98,963, as of 2020, with an increase in expendable income, the East Valley and Arizona reap the benefits that Northrop Grumman employees continuously inject into the economy.” 

Peterson also added, “A major contributing factor is the highly educated talent pool from higher education institutions and nationally recognized K-12 school districts that support a strong STEM-focused talent pipeline, 44.1 percent of Gilbert residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, which outpaces the national average of 33.1 percent. Gilbert is home to two higher education institutions, Park University and the University of Arizona, and is located close to Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus and Chandler-Gilbert Community College.” 

Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager for Northrop Grumman’s Launch and Missile Defense Systems Space Sector stated, “We currently have more than 100 active, open positions in Arizona,” Lehr says. “From entry-level technicians to engineers and people with financial skills. We also seek dozens of secret and top-secret cleared systems, electrical and software engineers for a variety of programs across the state.” 

Lehr also mentions that Northrop Grumman has more than 3,000 employees across Arizona state.  

Northrop Grumman and other renown aviation and aerospace manufacturing companies will continue to invest, grow and provide various opportunities while East Valley remains as the supplier of the needed talent and skill.  


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