INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence met with top Raytheon Co. executives Tuesday as part of his foreign trade mission to England.
He is visiting the Farnborough Air Show in an effort to build on the growing aerospace industry in Indiana. The state had a booth at the show for the first time, and he was one of a handful of governors to attend.
“This trip is really about building relationships with companies already invested in Indiana so they know the priority we are placing on aerospace,” Pence said. “And we are seeing if we can extend out and begin a relationship with companies around the world.”
He said Raytheon Chairman Bill Swanson spoke with enthusiasm about Indiana and its facilities in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis. And they also talked about the importance of making career and vocational education a priority in high schools.
Pence said executives at GE Aviation encouraged him to attend the air show. GE recently announced plans to build a new engine factory in Lafayette.
He said more than 1,500 companies in the aerospace industry from all over the world attend the show.
During a roundtable hosted by the Aerospace Industries Association on Tuesday, Pence discussed Indiana's development as an aerospace leader and what actions the state has taken to make locating there a business advantage. He also recognized the global aerospace companies already choosing to operate in Indiana, from Alcoa and BAE Systems to Rolls-Royce and GE Aviation.
“It is striking, the number of CEOs here, and they are interested in having the opportunity to sit down with us,” he said. “It's been a very, very busy few days.”
Indiana also hosted a meet-and-greet on Monday that was attended by 50 companies. “We had dozens of good conversations, some with companies that already have a strong presence in Indiana and others looking for a place to grow,” Pence said.
“It was encouraging to me we had business leaders from neighboring states coming up and lamenting the fact that their states didn't have a booth.”
In meetings, Pence shares Indiana's pro-business tax environment, strong state financial balance sheet and excellent higher education system.
The 22-person delegation on the trip includes business leaders, economic development officials and university representatives.
First lady Karen Pence and two of their children also attended. The governor personally paid for the trip expenses of his children.
The cost of the state delegation is being covered through private donations to the Indiana Economic Development Foundation.