Spokane-Coeur d’Alene Chosen as Regional Technology Hub by the U.S. Department of Commerce from nearly 400 Applicants Nationwide 

47 Member Consortium Grows as Inland Northwest Consortium Prepares for Phase 2 Competition  

The Spokane-Coeur d’Alene region has officially been designated as a Regional Technology Hub by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).  The American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center (AAMMC) is now one of 31 Hubs nationwide eligible to compete for Phase 2 of the CHIPS Regional Innovation Hub grants of $50-$75 million.  

Phase one of the competition designated tech hubs in regions across the country based on consortium proposals that bring together industry, higher education institutions, state and local governments, economic development organizations, and labor and workforce partners to supercharge ecosystems of innovation for technologies that are essential to our economic and national security.  

“Lakeside is incredibly proud to be a part of this plan to boost American leadership and national security in the aerospace and defense sectors by reversing the trend toward foreign suppliers and accelerating the growth of our domestic supply base and American manufacturing jobs in the Inland Northwest,” said John J. Hemmingson, CEO of Lakeside Companies. “The I-90 aerospace corridor is home to some of the fastest growing areas in the region: Spokane, West Plains, Spokane Valley, Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene. We have the talent, the resources, and the right partnership to take this plan to the next step in creating a world class test bed for production, commercialization and entrepreneurship.”  

Hemmingson continued, “We are laser-focused on enabling creation of new domestic supply chains able to meet the urgent demands of high-rate production of commercial and defense markets of advanced composite aero structures.”  

This partnership includes Boeing, Blue Origin, Lockheed, and global OEMs and American manufacturers such as Electroimpact, Unitech, Continuous Composites Inc. (CCI), and Advanced Thermoplastic Composites (ATC), working with academics at Gonzaga University, the University of Washington, and the University of Idaho. Many other economic, community, and civic organizations are involved including: AVISTA Energy, local unions, and tribal nations as well as the Departments of Commerce from Washington and Idaho, and dozens more economic and workforce organizations from across the Inland Northwest.

“The consortium is a dynamic partnership of entities from across the Inland Northwest, representing industry, research, education, government, and workforce, all collaborating to achieve high-rate production goals for the next generation of aerospace manufacturing,” said Thayne McCulloh, president of Gonzaga University. “The organizational, educational, civic, business and cultural resources of this area are unmatched,” he continued. “This incredible group of partners and innovators is perfectly poised to create the future, and it begins right here in the Inland Northwest.”

The focus of this testbed facility will be the development of high-rate manufacturing techniques using advanced materials such as thermoplastic composite (TPC) for aerospace structures such as ribs, beams, doors, bulkheads, and stiffened skins.  The hub will advance these methods through TRL levels six through nine to help them become commercially and widely available much sooner. Due to strong industry backing, the AAMMC hub is expected to achieve financial self-sufficiency within three years and global competitiveness within ten, meeting the standards of the EDA Tech Hub designation.  

In the next several weeks, the Department of Commerce will launch phase 2 of the competition, for applicants designated as a Tech Hub to apply for implementation funding. 

“In Phase 2, we will invest in regions that have strong potential to lead globally across a wide array of critical and emerging technologies and the people and places that make and deliver these products and services, “ said Eric Smith, the Tech Hubs Program Director at the  U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) in a recent interview.  “In most successful Hubs, we’re going to see these regions—and the industries within them—build and gain market share in particular industries.  

We also expect to see markers of increased innovation, increased business creation and expansion, and increased investment in these places. We’re looking for market potential—where are there viable commercialization paths for these critical technologies? What regions are building effective interfaces between their engines of innovation and industry that will make them globally competitive and that will result in new, good jobs? We’ll ask these Hubs and ourselves these questions repeatedly as the Hubs put together their Phase 2 project proposals and as we evaluate them.” 

Tech Hub Consortium Members: American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center  

Aerospace & Industry Leaders

  • Boeing 
  • Unitech Composites Inc. 
  • Electroimpact 
  • Advanced Thermoplastics Composites (ATC) Manufacturing 
  • Northwest I-90 Manufacturing Alliance 
  • StanCraft 
  • Avista 
  • Continuous Composites Incorporated (CCI) 
  • Blue Origin 
  • Raytheon/Collins 
  • Lockheed Martin 
  • The Composites Consortium (TCC)

Higher & Secondary Education

  • Gonzaga University 
  • University of Idaho 
  • University of Washington 
  • Eastern Washington University 
  • Community Colleges of Spokane 
  • North Idaho College 
  • Spokane Public Schools 
  • Coeur d’Alene Public Schools 
  • Elevate Academy North
  • Washington State University 

Venture Development

  • Washington Trust Bank 
  • Lakeside Companies 
  • Mountain West Bank

Workforce Development & Labor

  • Spokane Workforce Council 
  • International Association of Machinists District 751 
  • Machinists Institute 
  • Idaho Workers Development Council 
  • Coeur d’Alene Economic Development Corporation  

Government, Tribes, and Economic Development

  • Washington State Department of Commerce 
  • Idaho State Department of Commerce 
  • Spokane Tribe of Indians 
  • Kalispel Tribe of Indians 
  • City of Post Falls 
  • City of Coeur d’Alene 
  • Spokane County 
  • Greater Spokane Inc. 
  • S3R3 Solutions 
  • Spokane International Airport 
  • Coeur d’Alene Regional Chamber 
  • West Plains Chamber of Commerce 
  • Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce 
  • City of Spokane 
  • Coeur d’Alene Tribe 

In Coordination With:

  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 
  • NASA 
  • Additional Defense OEMs