Chamber hears Boeing exec

SMOKEY POINT — "We're the largest exporter by value," Richard White, manager of state and local government relations for Boeing, told the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce March 10.

Richard White

SMOKEY POINT — “We’re the largest exporter by value,” Richard White, manager of state and local government relations for Boeing, told the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce March 10.

“We’re the single-biggest private employer in the state of Washington, and half of all Boeing jobs are here in Washington.”

After offering a brief history of Boeing, including its military contracts in the first and second World Wars, White cites statistics showing that the average Boeing employee salary is $90,000, as opposed to the average salary of $50,000 for the state as a whole.

He credited a significant part of Boeing’s job growth in the state in the past decade to Washington’s tax incentives. With that growth has come returns to the community, in the form of $53 million in corporate and employee contributions from Boeing in 2013 alone.

White cited early learning as one of Boeing’s primary investments, asserting that 80 percent of what we learn comes from before the age of 5.

“How do we give the right tools to the right teachers?” White said.

White credited the Puget Sound region with supplying “a good percentage” of Boeing’s labor, and acknowledged “limiting factors” in the numbers of incoming commercial pilots.

Boeing has also focused on developing “green diesel” aviation biofuel, conducting the world’s first flight with a blend of green diesel and petroleum jet fuel in December of last year.

Even as the aviation market becomes more global, White cited the number of air traffic control systems that haven’t caught up to digital yet.

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