Raytheon, Tucson’s largest and most influential private employer, is set to expand its presence in Southern Arizona following a special dedication ceremony last week. Governor Doug Ducey, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, and other officials were on hand at a special ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of a newly minted block of buildings on Raytheon’s Tucson campus that will house 2,000 new employees.
The project is part of parent company Raytheon Co.’s $550 million effort to modernize and grow its missile-making operations in Tucson. The 559,000-square-foot expansion will house new laboratories, office space, a multi-purpose building, and missile testing in the “Old Pueblo.”
The move will support the nation’s military efforts through development of more tech-driven weapons while impacting Southern Arizona’s economy. Raytheon currently generates an annual statewide economic impact of more than $2.1 billion, according to a study by Arizona State University.
“That number is sure to increase as we hire an additional 2,000 employees. These are high-tech, high-paying jobs,” says company PR Director, John Patterson.
The company and the state boast the new jobs will bring in top-tier engineering talent sourced from the state’s universities to help develop the company’s military weapons and commercial technologies.
“We need more of America’s young people to choose math and science careers,” said Patterson. “At Raytheon, we willingly take on some of the nation’s toughest challenges and solve them.”
The buildings will be finished by the end of the year and a number of new employees will begin work. Testing will take place at the new facility including one building which blocks out all radio frequency to test sensors. Before the company broke ground on the expansive new surroundings, Raytheon took advantage of its immersive design center to create models of the Tucson buildings. By utilizing 3-D modeling, designers got a more accurate blueprint to work off of than traditional techniques.
The project is a flashing testament to the region’s strength in innovation, technology, and a growing engineering workforce. It also strengthens the collaboration between government and the private sector.
Raytheon is riding on the heels of its stronger-than-expected Q1 earnings for the year so far. The recent cut in the federal income tax rate brought lower costs, which helped boost revenue and earnings. The defense contracting company reported $6.3 billion in first-quarter revenue–a 4.5 percent jump year-over-year.
Raytheon has reaped the benefits of major boosts in defense spending. It’s set to offer new employees average annual salaries of more than $100,000 and spend some $400 million on new buildings, like in Tucson. Raytheon considered other locations in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, and Kentucky before settling on Southern Arizona, which supplied a package of city, state, and county tax incentives.