Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Boeing opens St. Louis tech site with 700 jobs

Boeing on Tuesday opened a new engineering research center in St. Louis, where more than 700 engineers, technicians and staff will develop advanced technologies for commercial airplanes and military systems.

“We’re building a deeply talented workforce here that will make important contributions to future products,” said site leader Nancy Pendleton in a statement.

New facilities at the Boeing Research and Technology site include labs focused on non-destructive testing of parts, human systems integration, polymer synthesis, and collaborative autonomous systems.

Boeing announced a major restructuring in 2013 to shift engineering work out of the Puget Sound area and southern California and to move it to new technology research centers established in St. Louis, Huntsville, Ala., and Charleston, S.C.

According to internal company documents reviewed by The Seattle Times last year, Boeing projected saving more than $100 million a year by transferring 1,100 research engineering jobs from here and an additional 200 from the greater Los Angeles area.

The documents cited a cost comparison of $212,000 per head annually in pay and benefits in this region, versus $152,000 at the newer engineering centers.

They also showed that only about 110 local engineers were to be offered relocation expenses and incentives to move to one of the new engineering centers.

The restructuring of the Research & Technology unit was just one piece of Boeing’s broader push since the spring of 2013 to shift engineering units away from the Puget Sound region. Altogether more than 6,000 local engineering jobs in the commercial and defense units were earmarked for transfer to other Boeing sites.

In an interview in May, Boeing Commercial Airplanes boss Ray Conner expressed regret over how the shift of the research unit work was handled, with engineers left hanging for many months not knowing if their jobs were going.

Conner said he tried to find other Boeing jobs within the commercial airplanes unit for as many of the displaced engineers as possible.

- Source:  http://www.seattletimes.com

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