Boeing Co. spent more than $350 million with South Carolina aerospace suppliers in 2015, helping to fuel an industry that generates more than $17 billion in annual economic impact statewide.
“Boeing’s experience in the Palmetto State is an example of what is possible when business leaders, their workers, and the public and nonprofit sector collaborate for the common benefit,” Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, said Tuesday during a keynote speech at the Greenville Chamber of Commerce.
Wyse told chamber members that workers at Boeing’s campus in North Charleston — which makes the 787 Dreamliner commercial plane — contributed more than $7 million to charitable organizations in 2015, citing strong ties between the company, its employees and the community.
“Together with our suppliers, neighboring communities, business partners, state and local leaders, and countless others we have accomplished extraordinary things together in a relatively short period of time,” Wyse said.
In addition to its economic impact, the state’s aerospace industry employs 100,000 people and pays $500 million each year in taxes, according to a 2014 study by the University of South Carolina.
During the speech, Wyse outlined the opportunities and challenges of operating in a global market. The North Charleston campus, which delivered its 100th Dreamliner to American Airlines last week, builds the wide-body plane for airlines worldwide.
“Boeing is one of the few American companies that employs large numbers of people in this country to build things sold in large numbers outside this country,” she said. “At Boeing we never gave up — and never will give up — on American manufacturing. Even at the depths of the last recession, Boeing actually added thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs — most notably in South Carolina. But the investment that Boeing and other aerospace companies are making here and around the country can only be sustained if we can continue to sell our products effectively — and fairly — in a highly competitive global market.”
For example, Boeing Chairman Jim McNerney, who is retiring at the end of the month, helped lead efforts last year to reauthorize the federal Export-Import Bank, which foreign countries use to finance Boeing commercial planes and other goods. Business leaders see the bank as critical for competing with other countries that offer such financing.
In addition to the Dreamliner facility, Boeing South Carolina operates an interiors factory, a propulsion center and a research and technology center in North Charleston. Boeing employs about 7,500 people in the Charleston region.
Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550.