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Here’s why space engineers come to Seattle … and why some of them leave

12 Jul 2018, 02:10 UTC
Here’s why space engineers come to Seattle … and why some of them leave
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Engineers work on New Shepard’s crew capsule at Blue Origin’s Kent factory. (Credit: Blue Origin)
A new employment study indicates that roughly 3,000 people are directly employed by Washington state’s space industry, and roughly half of them are at Blue Origin, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ space venture.
Most of Blue Origin’s 1,500 employees work at the company’s headquarters and production facility in Kent, Wash. So Erika Wagner, Blue Origin’s payload sales director, has a good grasp on what draw space-savvy engineers to the Seattle area.
“When we ask our new employees why they’re coming … I’m going to guess that about half of them tell us that Seattle is part of the reason they say yes,” Wagner said today at a luncheon forum presented by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “They have other options on the table, but they’d like to live here. They want to go hiking, or they want to go boating, or they want to have access to the symphony or the opera here.”
Seattle’s blend of the great outdoors and a vibrant cultural scene adds to the region’s legacy in engineering, software and aerospace, fueled by Boeing, Microsoft and more recently Amazon.
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