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Building the Home of Aviation
July 25, 2016 – In early 2013, a joint venture by Winnebago County and the City of Oshkosh began the physical development of an aviation business park adjacent to Wittman Regional Airport with the aim of bringing a variety of aviation businesses to Oshkosh and the surrounding region. Infrastructure has now been installed and the park is open for business.
“The Oshkosh Aviation Business Park is the culmination of over 10 years of effort to establish an area on Wittman Regional Airport that will be attractive to aviation startups or those looking to expand their business,” said Peter Moll, Airport Director.
The acquisition of the 80-acre property as a future aviation business park was consistent with a comprehensive plan developed by the City of Oshkosh in 1973 marking the land east of the airport for future industrial development. Over a 10-year period, the development of the park projects is projected to spur more than $73 million dollars annually in addition economic activity in Winnebago County and supply 250-500 more jobs to the area.
The property is subdivided into two halves; the western portion belonging to the county will be leased and have taxiway accessibility. The eastern half is owned by the city and will be available for purchase.
“Thanks to the brand of EAA and AirVenture, Oshkosh is known around the world. We are the home for general aviation,” said Jason White, CEO of the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation. “That is a solid brand to build upon and show the aviation community that Oshkosh is an aviation town year round, not just one week of the year.”
In the state of Wisconsin, there are more than 140 Boeing suppliers, more than 200 Wisconsin companies that have ties to the state’s aerospace sector, and more than 24,000 people are employed by companies that support the aerospace manufacturing sector. Additionally, Wisconsin has the second highest manufacturing concentration in the United States, furthered by a manufacturing tax rate of 0.4 percent.
Local leaders are confident that the Aviation Business Park identifies as an excellent match for workforce and educational capabilities along the Interstate 41 corridor. The area has strong post-secondary and K-12 aviation curriculum in place, an asset that local stakeholders continue to build upon through aviation workforce development efforts in Oshkosh. “The Oshkosh Area School District believes that strong public schools fuel economic development and economic development fuels strong public schools. The OASD recognizes aviation as a key area of economic development in the Oshkosh community,” said Julie Conrad Mosher, director of curriculum and assessment, Oshkosh Area School District. “Work is in progress on aviation curriculum and pathways aligned to the next generation science standards as well as aviation pathways into post-secondary.”
Post-secondary entities in Oshkosh have strong programs to support aviation business and workforce development. Fox Valley Technical College’s flight, avionics, and maintenance programs are well known and have a first time pass rate of 92 percent, where the FAA requirement is 80 percent. Most recently, FVTC received their Restricted ATP certification, making them the second flight training program to offer this in the state of Wisconsin and assists in bringing well trained pilots into the workforce faster.
Programs at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh are also assisting aviation and aerospace startups bring their products to market. The AeroInnovate program is an eight-week business accelerator program that takes place every summer and culminates at AirVenture.
Additional incentives for businesses also exist in Oshkosh. Two financial programs, the Greater Oshkosh Revolving Loan Fund and Capital Catalyst program, are in place to assist in funding companies at all stages of development.Along with the community, business, educational, and workforce support, as of this month, roads, infrastructure, and utilities are complete and the lots are ready to be developed. Those interested in learning more about the Aviation Business Park should contact Audra Hoy at firstname.lastname@example.org or (920) 230-3321