In 2001, Boeing moved its corporate HQ to Chicago.

Aerospace giant Boeing is restructuring its Research & Technology Unit, shifting between 800 to 1,200 jobs from Washington state to new R&D locations in Huntsville, Ala.; Southern California; St. Louis and North Charleston, S.C.

“We are reorganizing and realigning our research-and-technology operations to better meet the needs of our Commercial Airplanes and Defense, Space & Security business units, as well as our government R&D customers,” said Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager of Boeing Research & Technology, in a press release. “Our customers have a common need for new technology that can be integrated quickly and efficiently into current products and production lines, as well as enable new market-leading products and services. With these changes, we are enhancing our ability to provide effective, efficient and innovative technology solutions.”

The R&D centers will operate independently, working on research to benefit the environment, aviation safety, air traffic management and other areas. The company already operates technology centers in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Spain and Russia.

The new centers in Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina are expected to employ 300 to 400 people, while technology centers in California and Washington will lose jobs as a result. California plans to lose between 200 to 300 jobs at its technology center.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued this response about Boeing’s decision:

“I am disappointed to hear Boeing’s plans to move research and technology jobs out of Washington state and establish research centers around the country. For nearly a century, Washington has been the place where new discoveries in aerospace have been made and I am certain that will continue. Today’s news continues Boeing’s strategy of diversifying its workforce. This demonstrates why we are working so hard to ensure the 777X and its carbon fiber wing are designed and built in our state. We will continue to do all that we can to convince the company that Washington continues to be the best place in the world to not only build commercial airplanes, but design them and dream up new ideas that will make human flight—in all its forms—safer, faster, and more efficient.”

Here are the plans and core research activities for each of the centers.

Huntsville, Ala.: Simulation and Decision Analytics; Metals and Chemical Technology

Southern California: Flight Sciences; Electronics and Networked Systems; Structures

St. Louis: Systems Technology; Digital Aviation and Support Technology; Metallics and Fabrication Development

North Charleston, S.C.: Manufacturing Technology

Seattle: Manufacturing Technology Integration.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Han Seoul-Oh

    I can’t recall anything as of lately Boeing has brought to the table.

    • HeyNow

      Remote teams just means more finger pointing when it comes to troubleshooting a problem. The “conquer and divide” with teams everywhere subcontracting method is what got us the Obama care web site technical problems. No one talked to that peer down the hall. They just stuck to their own siloed function and created a mess. Later, the finger pointing and coverups by remote management teams who never had to socialize together or risk seeing one another in town. Meanwhile the labor is treated like it’s unvalued and why should they give a damn about speaking up about anything to improve quality?

  • FreddieMerc

    There is less and less reason to consider Boeing a competitive American company. Companies like Apple know that to get people from different divisions together to work on innovation in the same place is key to competitive innovation. To move things apart widely means they are just planning to compete on commodity and lowest labor costs and moving to a pre-1980 auto manufacturer scheme of a desire to break up employee power and social mixing as a primary goal, not competitive innovation and true research and development. We can watch while French and German designers begin to eat their lunch by having campuses where people collaborate and Boeing begs for more government welfare.

    • That Guy

      You mean like Microsoft’s campus?

  • Brian Myers

    @HeyNow: Your approach assumes that there is no engineering talent anywhere but Seattle, or that Seattle engineers are clearly superior to any other in the world. And that Seattle has enough engineering talent to supply a company the size of Boeing. Perhaps you need to rethink your premises.

    Consider Deere. It has major engineering centers in the US, Germany, Brazil, China and India. A majority of its advanced product research engineers are outside the US. Its stock is up 400% in the last decade. Not bad for a 100 year old rust belt manufacturing company, wouldn’t you say? Boeing and Microsoft wish they had those results.

    Getting those widespread engineers to cooperate and share workflow is a skill just as much as the engineering itself. Show a little respect to those with the talent.

  • Tom Sharples

    So long as California and WA state governments insist on pushing an anti-business regulatory and pro big-labor agenda, this sort of thing will be the inevitable result. You keep electing empty-suit liberals like Insley, and you get what you vote for.

Job Listings on GeekWork