Boeing to open R&D Center by the end of the year

Charleston Regional Business Journal
Liz Segrist
September 23, 2014

The Boeing Co. has confirmed its lease agreement for 100,000 square feet of office and lab space for a new research and technology center in North Charleston.

The Boeing Research & Technology – South Carolina center announced in December is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter. It will employ between 300 and 400 research and technology workers to focus on advanced manufacturing technology and composite fuselage manufacturing.

The aerospace giant leased the space in a speculative building in Crosspoint at Palmetto Commerce Park as of July, according to Mike White, Charleston Industrial’s broker in charge of Crosspoint.

The announcement is part of Boeing’s plan to restructure its R&D unit with additional technology research centers in Huntsville, Ala., Southern California, St. Louis and Seattle, as well as R&D job reductions in Washington state and California.

“We’ve been in the process of redesigning our work to better meet the long-term technology needs of our business units and government R&D customers. This includes the placement of work at our technology centers,” Boeing South Carolina spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said in an emailed statement.

Scientists, technologists, technicians and engineers will work at the North Charleston center, according to a news release.

They will lead Boeing’s R&D efforts in automation and assembly, systems installation, chemical technology, nondestructive evaluation, composite fabrication and repair, and electromagnetic effects, modeling and characterization.

Eslinger said Boeing will recruit from across the country and within South Carolina to fill the positions.

“As we develop and staff the new BR&T research centers over the next several years, we’ll use our standard employment and redeployment processes to adjust team sizes at our different locations,” Eslinger said. “As we staff the new BR&T research centers, we do anticipate that there will be some relocation opportunities for existing BR&T employees in addition to new hires.”

Boeing Research & Technology is the aerospace giant’s main R&D division. Its mission is to provide the technology to develop aerospace solutions as well as improve cost, quality and performance of existing Boeing products.

The North Charleston center will also include an autoclave, a paint booth and a clean room lab.

“This research center brings our technology organization and Boeing South Carolina closer together to transition technology from research and development to our commercial airplane and defense products faster and more efficiently,” Lane Ballard, site leader of the research center and vice president of materials and manufacturing technology, said in a news release.

The center will add to Boeing South Carolina’s North Charleston footprint, along with the Interiors Responsibility Center South Carolina and Propulsion South Carolina. Boeing South Carolina currently employs more than 7,500 workers.

The company’s research and technology development is conducted at 11 research centers in Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Russia and the United States, including Alabama, California, Missouri, South Carolina and Washington.

“We’re excited to see our new BR&T center come to fruition in South Carolina,” Jack Jones, Boeing South Carolina vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “The new facility continues to demonstrate our commitment to the state of South Carolina by bringing new technology and capabilities to North Charleston.”

Reach staff writer Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119, [email protected] or @lizsegrist on Twitter.

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