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Commissioner Brown added to Paris Air Show attendees

Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown will join Port of Bremerton and Kitsap Economic Development officials at the Paris Air Show in mid June.

Brown said he sees it as an opportunity to help Kitsap County develop its aerospace employment base and to fill another hat he wears as former president of the Puget Sound Regional Council.

“I was asked by the Puget Sound Regional Council to go before, and then John Powers asked that I go, too,” Brown said.

Brown will represent both the Puget Sound Regional Council and Kitsap County at the 50th annual International Paris Air Show, he said. Already on board to attend are Tim Thomson, CEO for the Port of Bremerton and John Powers, director of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance (KEDA), who announced in March that they would be attending the show.

Brown said his way will be paid for by the Puget Sound Regional Council.

“I see this as an opportunity to continue the great efforts that are being made to promote Kitsap County as a location that is prime for expansion of aerospace jobs,” he said.

Brown said as president of the Puget Sound Regional Council, he was involved in the efforts to keep the 737 Max airplane being built in Renton when Boeing was considering other locations. In that work he said he became familiar with the possibilities of expanding airplane supply and manufacturing subcontracting in this area.

“We have a lot of great things going for us in this area,” he said. “We have a great base of employment with the Navy shipyards here and we need to diversify and bring in some private sector employers with high paying jobs. The two are not that far apart and if by getting our name out there we can attract these employers to come and look at what we have to offer, then making this trip is worth it.”

The show is the largest air show in the world with more than 2,000 exhibitors from 45 countries. This is the first time a contingent from Kitsap County will attend.

Interest in attracting aerospace suppliers began about two years ago when the Kitsap Aviation and Defense Alliance (KADA) was formed.

Initially, Thomson said he didn’t think he should attend the show because of budget concerns at the port. But port commissioners said they thought it was important for him to go and set aside a $5,000 budget for the trip.

Powers’ trip is being paid for by KADA. A portion of Browns’ trip also will be paid by KADA.

Thomson said he plans to network and build relationships on the trip.

In all, there will be about 60 business and government leaders who will attend, organized by the Washington State Department of Commerce. Another 50 people from the Seattle Chamber of Commerce will attend. Business leaders from Snohomish and Pierce counties and from Boeing also will attend as will Gov. Jay Inslee.

Brown said he is relying on Powers to set up the agenda for the trip, including meetings with potential aerospace suppliers interested in relocating to Kitsap County.

“John is leading the Kitsap effort and the clear direction is that we want to let people know what we have to offer here in Kitsap County,” he said.

The trio is expected to be gone from June 14 to 22. Brown said he will be accessible by email so that he can complete any necessary county business.

“I’ve learned on trips like this work doesn’t get too far away from me,” he said.

 

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