With aerospace technology ever-changing, Rockford will be at the center of taking it to the next generation.

Recently Collins Aerospace's CEO Kelly Ortberg spoke at an event where he announced that they plan on making a HUGE investment in our city, to the tune of $50 million to build their new lab.

Ortberg thinks this will not only be a great thing for Rockford but also to Collins Aerospace and the overall aerospace industry.

Nate Boelkins, Collins Aerospace VP of Electric Power Systems said:

It's going to be the most advanced electric power lab in the world. And, we're going to use it to develop products for the future of electric flight,"


This new innovation center is being called "The Grid" by Collins Aerospace.

Collins Aerospace is just adding to their already long established history here in the community going back to when their building bared the name Sundstrand. This new 25,000 square foot lab project is just continuing that legacy in Electric Power Systems.

This new facility will create at least 50 more jobs to the already close to 2,000 Collins currently employs.  Making them one of the largest employers in the region.

These new 50 positions will be for folks like engineers, program managers, and other technical positions.

These researchers will be working on electric and hybrid propulsion systems for airplanes: commercial, business, military, and unmanned vehicles (drones).

Boelkins said because of the improvements in the field of aerospace they'll be working on, it'll be great for the environment while forging the next generation of flight.

Mayor Tom McNamara said this about the power lab coming to Rockford:

That all is just wonderful in itself, but understanding aeronautics, and understanding the cycle of their buisiness, this is truly an investment that we will see reverberations for the next 30 to 50 years, right here, in our local economy,"

Incentives, such as tax breaks, a training grant, and a tax credit which will also be used for training, were granted to Collins for building The Grid in Rockford by the City of Rockford, Winnebago County, and the State of Illinois.

More From 96.7 The Eagle