The Incredible Partnership of Long Beach And The Aerospace Industry

Who is Paul Rees and what is his role in Boeing Co.?

He is that one guy responsible for checking out hundreds of tools, gears and other things Boeing employees need to get started. Hundreds of workers on the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III plane have Paul Rees to depend on to perform their daily duties. These include mechanics, inspectors, technicians and other ground workers who find their way in a long queue to the tool storage area. It’s Rees’ working turf, where he checks out all the tools and equipment needed by the employees to get started with their specific work scope.

Overseeing The Boeing Work Place

Paul Rees starts his shift at 6:00 a.m. and claims he has the best view, in the storage area close to the flight ramp. He says he gets to work and watches the entire place come alive with employees tinkering with their tools, gears and gadgets, prepping the humongous aircraft wrapped in ultra-high strength maraging steel, ready for its flight.

Top 25 Employer of Long Beach

Boeing remains one of Long Beach’s top 25 employers. It may no longer have the numbers it used to have, churning out 717s and C-17s from its East Long Beach facility, but it is undoubtedly still a big part of the larger aerospace industry in Long Beach.

Boeing To Cease Operation In 2015

Hence, when Boeing Co. announced in September 2013 that it would shutter production of the C-17 in 2015 due to lack of orders, many considered it an end of an era for a city whose ties with the aviation company dates back to the turn of the 20th century. For the 2,200 Boeing workers based in Long Beach, including 57-year old Rees, uncertainty over their fate looms over their heads. Rees started working at Boeing in 1979.

Employees Checking Their Options Before 2015

Some workers are not wasting any time, as they look for transfer opportunities to other Boeing facilities. Other workers are considering training to prepare for a transition to a different line of work. Paul Rees, on the other hand, supports the C-17 until the end and would like to see it through. Rees said that C-17 is a great plane which has done everything it said it has done. And while no one knows what the future brings, Rees will continue to put the C-17s out.

75 Years of Operation

Over the years, the Long Beach Boeing facility has witnessed thousands of employees in the workforce building and the assembling of thousands of planes, making it instrumental in growing the middle class in all of its close to 75 years of operation.

Aerospace Industry Still Thrives In Long Beach

But Boeing’s production winding down does not wipe out the city’s aerospace industry. Long Beach Airport, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), JetBlue, and Gulfstream Long Beach are still very much present in the city’s aerospace industry.

A Vibrant Force In The Work Sector of Long Beach

To say the least, the aerospace industry has been a vibrant and important force in the city of Long Beach dating as far back as 1941 when the Douglas Aircraft factory opened. Today, total employment from the airport area complex is 43,000 jobs producing an output of $11 billion.

The city definitely will miss Boeing, but the aerospace industry still makes its strong presence felt. Aren’t you going to miss Paul Rees and the Boeing Long Beach facility?