Woodward provides info on adding jobs in Fort Collins

FORT COLLINS — The 300 jobs Woodward Inc. will add to its Fort Collins workforce will include key managers, engineers and product managers from its plant in Duarte, Calif., the company said in a statement issued Tuesday.

The plant in Duarte manufactures thrust reverser actuation systems and is part of Woodward’s Airframe Systems business group. Woodward (Nasdaq: WWD) designs and manufactures components for the aerospace and industrial markets.

The statement said the move is “a strategic cost-decision in light of Colorado’s broadening appeal as a more cost-efficient and labor-proficient place to operate a business.” The relocation will be to Woodward’s renovated 250,000-square-foot former headquarters and manufacturing facility at Drake Road and Lemay Avenue in Fort Collins.

“A substantial commitment to build operations in Northern Colorado was made for our new headquarters and manufacturing plant in 2016,” said Tom Gendron, CEO of Woodward, Inc. “Upon analysis of our former facility and evaluation of overall operations, it made sense to move our Duarte, California aerospace operation here. Considering almost every process, the Northern Colorado site is more efficient. We also have an outstanding partnership with AIMS Community College, allowing Woodward to hire and train a workforce with the degree of agility we need to meet production demands.”

The statement said the Duarte facility is unable to support the significant amount of new business recently awarded, including a major TRAS contract with Airbus. The state of Colorado also provided incentives for Woodward to add 300 jobs to Colorado in 2016.

“Colorado is a strong hub for the aerospace industry and we love seeing it spread to all parts of the state,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said in the statement. “We welcome Woodward’s new jobs and transfers as this decision strengthens Northern Colorado’s economy and supports its drive for innovation and discovery in what is now one of the state’s leading industries.”

Andy Montgomery, chief executive of the Northern Colorado Economic Alliance, helped Woodward evaluate the move.

“When we walked through the analysis with Woodward, we evaluated labor and real estate costs, taxation, workforce housing and energy costs in Northern Colorado, and concluded that the former is a great alternative,” Montgomery said in the statement. “I think this equation becomes even more compelling with the passage of the 2018 tax-reform bill and California’s very high personal-income tax, which is no longer deductible on federal returns.”

Woodward Inc. will work closely with the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, to start the transition process, estimated to begin in August of this year and span 24 to 36 months.