Woodward's Loves Park expansion gets even bigger - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Woodward's Loves Park expansion gets even bigger

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Tom Gendron, Woodward, chief executive officer and president. Tom Gendron, Woodward, chief executive officer and president.
Woodward off N. Second Street in Loves Park. Woodward off N. Second Street in Loves Park.
Drawing of new Rock Cut Campus Drawing of new Rock Cut Campus
Drawing of new Rock Cut Campus Drawing of new Rock Cut Campus
LOVES PARK (WREX) -

As Woodward starts construction on it's newest facility leaders announce even more jobs will come to the area. That's because part of it's new Rock Cut Campus will double in size.

 

That means besides a thousand new Woodward workers there will also be 800 construction jobs that will start right now.

 

"This is the future of Woodward you're seeing starting from the ground up," says Tom Gendron, Woodward, chief executive officer and president.

 

Woodward announced in August 2012 that it would add a more than 70 acre facility in Loves Park called the Rock Cut Campus. But leaders didn't know business would grow so much they would have to double the size of it's manufacturing facility before construction even began.

 

"That's going to be producing aircraft turbine fuel systems components and we think it's going to be the most modern facility for that type equipment in the world," says Gendron.

 

Woodward will add 1000 employees to its workforce over the next decade. Exciting news for a one time Woodward intern turned engineering manager.

 

"You kind of feel like you are on the winning team every time, every program that we've really persuade we've won," says Ben Hunter.

 

The company is not forgetting about it's original Loves Park location on North Second. It will also modernize that facility and use both to work on it's biggest project reducing the amount of fuel aircraft and all of us use.

 

"It will be really challenging work, it will be satisfying work because all our products will reduce the fuel consumption in the world," says Sagar Patel, Woodward, aircraft turbine system president.

 

Woodward hopes to have the Rock Cut Campus near Harlem and Forest Hills Roads open by fall of 2014. Patel says after that the company will then start to hire the addition 1000 worker over the next 10 years.

 

$70,000 a year. That's what those new Woodward employees will make on average. There's plenty of excitement surrounding this 50-year commitment Woodward's making in Loves Park. It means an increase in employment from the ground up.

"Starting with the construction jobs, moving into more manufacturing jobs and the jobs here at Woodward are above-average pay so that one job at Woodward spawns another job in the community." -says Rockford Area Economic Development Council President Janyce Fadden.

People starting new careers in the Rockford area bring positive perks.

"You almost can't do the math on it because people are obviously going to need to buy homes, their children will go to school it'll help the school taxes. When you get people in that kind of quantity, they live here, they work here, they play here, they buy things here so that helps the tax structure all the way around." -says Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg.

Employee Geoff Anderson practically grew up at Woodward. He got a job there right out of high school.

"I started on the shop floor and then went into manufacturing and engineering and went back to school at that point so Woodward has now paid for my education and got me where I am." -Anderson says.

Anderson's not originally from the Rockford area, but now contributes to the local economy.

"I didn't know what I wanted to do truthfully, I just liked doing things with my hands which manufacturing allowed me to do so it was fun and I really really enjoy it now."

Loves Park community leaders want local hires to fill positions. They're encouraging interested area college students to apply after graduation.

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