George Roman, Boeing’s St. Louis regional executive, is getting ready to retire after 34 years, and he says Boeing has a strong future in St. Louis no matter where the 777X winds up being built.
Three of the defense unit’s four divisions are based in St. Louis, and the company has invested $470 million in facilities in the area since 2000. Just in the last few months the company has announced it will shift about 400 IT jobs and at least 300 research and development jobs out of Puget Sound and into St. Louis over the next couple of years. And engineering teams here are increasingly contributing work to commercial side projects, helping to stabilize employment at about 15,000 despite belt-tightening on defense work.
Adding commercial work to Boeing St. Louis’ traditional focus on defense will help operations here in the long run, Roman said. “We wouldn’t make those kind of investments if we didn’t think this site was going to continue to prosper,” he said. “It’s headquarters for defense.”