STILLWATER — “If the state is not making products to ship, to export and to create new jobs, any state will start to sink,” Lamb said.
When asked in February about what direction the city should take to replace manufacturing jobs that were lost in recent years, Mayor John Bartley said the future of Stillwater’s economy should be in high-tech industries. On Monday, Bartley said this acquisition brings not only high-tech manufacturing but establishes Stillwater as a player in the aerospace field.
“The state has taken a very strong position on aerospace, and I feel that Stillwater — with this addition — we have jumped to the top and we are going to be able to lead the way,” he said.
Bartley pointed to Frontier Electronics, which supplies parts to Boeing, and Oklahoma State University’s unmanned aerial systems program and research as examples of why Stillwater should compete to be a leader in the field that is primed for even further growth.
“It’s not going to shock me at all if we have a growth in the aerospace industry (here), not just two or three companies but more than that in our area,” he said.
Additionally, Bartley said expanding aerospace opportunities in Stillwater gives OSU students something city leaders have been hoping to offer for a while: A reason to stay in town after graduation.
“I’m that great example of graduating from OSU, moving away and coming back, and I want to cut that middle step out,” he said. “If you have those types of jobs — the tech-based and intelligence-based jobs — that’s what college graduates are looking for and need.”
Stillwater Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Lisa Navrkal said ASCO looked at Stillwater because of its location near aerospace customers in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Wichita, Kan.