A state economic development specialist says southeastern Idaho could enjoy spinoffs from northern Utah's success in attracting aerospace companies.
"We feel that with our lower costs and our proximity to northern Utah, we have opportunities to have these companies locate here in southeast Idaho and still serve that northern Utah market," said Jim Borchers, economic development specialist with the Idaho Department of Commerce.Borchers, Pocatello Airport Manager Len Nelson and representatives from Boise, Twin Falls, Caldwell and Sandpoint attended an international air show in San Diego last month. More than 500 aerospace and aviation corporations from throughout the world were represented.
Eight to 10-companies expressed a solid interest in Idaho as a potential site of operations or indicated they were expanding or diversifying, Borchers said.> General Dynamics, Martin Marietta, NASA and Teledyne were among the aerospace giants at the show at Brown Field.
"We felt the show was very much worthwhile and will prove in the future to be one of those more successful endeavors undertaken so far in our economic development campaign," Borchers said.
Proposals will be sent to the corporations contacted during Air and Space America '88, but he said the companies probably won't make their decisions for another year.
"As a state, we feel the airport facility in Pocatello is an extremely valuable asset to Bannock County, Power County and the entire southeast region," Borchers said, citing its long, wide runways, Idaho State University schools and available land as strong selling points.
The local airport also would be ideal for plastic injection molding firms, small parts manufacturers and other businesses "we could integrate into Idaho quickly," Nelson said, estimating it easily could accommodate firms with 40 employees.
"One of the things interesting was that Southern California and San Diego were particularly surprised to see us there as a state," Borchers said. "They thought it was quite novel that Idaho would be in the aerospace recruitment business."
"We found many companies in Southern California are suffering from overregulation and extremely high costs of living," he said. "They're interested in learning more about Idaho and southeast Idaho, and comparing the cost of doing business."