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Charlotte leaders inaugurate UTC Aerospace HQ

Politicians and business leaders touted growth Friday at UTC Aerospace Systems, the new incarnation of the former Charlotte-based Goodrich Corp., which United Technologies Corp. acquired last year.

Lured in part by state and local incentives, the company combined many of its business operations in Charlotte after its $18.4 billion acquisition of Goodrich. UTC moved dozens of high-ranking employees from Connecticut to Charlotte.

As a result, company officials said payroll at its Charlotte division headquarters has increased from 160 to 250, with plans to increase to more than 300 in the coming years. The company also went from using three floors of its office building to all six.

Sweating in the summer heat, officials spoke outside company’s West Tyvola Road offices at a ceremony to formally inaugurate the new business division.

“You could have gone right across the border. I know that,” said Gov. Pat McCrory, pointing towards South Carolina. “We have to have these kinds of companies, that build things, that design things, that make things.”

UTC Aerospace Systems makes components for aircraft and spacecraft throughout the world. The company’s components go into jets made by Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, helicopters for the U.S. Marines and the International Space Station, among others.

After UTC acquired Goodrich, formerly one of the Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Charlotte, the company moved about 75 of its Hamilton Sundstrand employees to Charlotte from Connecticut to form UTC Aerospace Systems.

The Hartford Courant reported that, with an average compensation of $290,000, the managers represented nearly $22 million worth of annual payroll.

Economic development officials said UTC also considered locating the division headquarters in South Carolina, Florida and Virginia. Incentives helped UTC make its decision. Former Gov. Bev Perdue was in office at the time.

The company received a $2.5 million grant from the state, $2.5 million in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County grants, and up to $16.5 million worth of additional state grants over the next 12 years, contingent on meeting job creation and investment targets.

The company pledged to employ a total of 325 people and invest $4 million in the UTC Aerospace Systems headquarters.

On Friday, speakers praised McCrory’s “business-friendly” policies.

“Pat McCrory is a business-friendly politician,” said former Goodrich chief executive Marshall Larsen, who now serves on UTC’s board of directors. “He was as mayor; he is as governor.”

Portillo: 704-358-5041 On Twitter @ESPortillo
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