Special Section: Access Arizona LOCAL BUSINESS
From Aerospace & Defense to Agriculture & Dairy:
Casa Grande is a Global Success Story
Submitted by Arizona Commerce Authority
n abundant workforce and strategic geographic location make Casa Grande perfectly suited for global expansion opportunities. Whether it’s aerospace & defense, agriculture or advanced manufacturing, Casa Grande attracts some of the most innovative companies in the world. In fact, two companies in particular boast worldwide distinctions: • The Casa Grande facility of Hexcel Corp. is the world’s largest producer of honeycomb for the commercial aerospace industry. • Casa Grande is also home to the world’s fastest-growing cream cheese company, Franklin Foods, which opened its western dairy-production facility in the city two years ago. While separate and distinct, both companies are examples of sustained business growth and expansion, creating high-quality jobs and helping to keep the region’s economic engine humming.
If you’ve taken a commercial flight on an Airbus or Boeing jet, chances are you’ve come into contact with a Hexcel product. That’s because Hexcel supplies the lightweight materials found in everything from an airplane’s fuselage to its passenger doors,
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window frames and engine components. Hexcel has a global footprint in the aerospace industry, producing these advanced composites, such as carbon fiber and honeycomb, from its 18 manufacturing plants worldwide. Hexcel’s Casa Grande plant is the world’s largest producer of honeycomb for the commercial aerospace industry. Its 321,000-square-foot facility, about an hour’s drive south of the Phoenix metro area, marked its 50th anniversary in the region this year. It’s an example of sustained excellence that is a testament to the company’s innovative product line. Arizona’s strategic geographic location is perfectly suited for advanced manufacturing opportunities in aerospace and defense. Arizona’s position as a national aerospace and defense hub contributes to this success story. The sector contributes billions of dollars to the state’s economy and employs thousands of high-wage workers. The state has a long history of U.S. military partnerships and consistently ranks among the top states in U.S. Department of Defense spending. In Casa Grande, the company has made four major expansions – in 1966, 1973, 1994 and 2012. In the past three years, Hexcel has invested more than $36 million in the plant. Today, the company employs more than 500 people.
To help meet the customer demands of the fastest-growing cream cheese company in the world, Franklin Foods in August 2013 chose dairy-rich Casa Grande for its state-of-theart facility that serves customers across the western U.S. and the world. The 90,000-square-foot facility has a diversified product mix and packaging capabilities that are distributed to industrial, institutional, food service, and private-label retail and supermarket customers. The Casa Grande facility produces up to 1 million pounds of cheese a week. Known for quality infrastructure, workforce and abundant milk supply, Casa Grande is the ideal location for modern dairy facilities. Franklin Foods cited the Casa Grande area’s “talent-rich community” as a reason for its expansion. Casa Grande has a thriving dairy industry built on family owned farms, as well as national and international companies involved in agriculture and dairy operations. In fact, about 25 dairies and nearly half of the state’s 185,000 dairy cows call Casa Grande and Pinal County home. Franklin Foods was joined in October 2013 by Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy, which manufactures yogurt from its 27-acre, 99,000-square-foot Casa Grande facility. Both companies worked with the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), the state’s economic development arm, and Access Arizona, Pinal County’s economic development partner, on the expansion opportunities. Casa Grande is located in Pinal County, the third most populous county in Arizona. Between 2000 and 2010, the county was the second-fastest growing county in the United States. From abundant agricultural-based land to shovel-ready sites outfitted with modern infrastructure, Casa Grande continues to see business growth and is ripe for expansion opportunities.
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