Lockheed Martin Chooses St. Paul for a Business Expansion
Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin Chooses St. Paul for a Business Expansion

More than 100 people will be hired to work in a new microelectronics subsidiary.

High-paying jobs will be created in St. Paul this year when Lockheed Martin Corp. opens a facility to serve commercial, defense, and security customers.

The aerospace company established a subsidiary, ForwardEdge ASIC, to launch its microelectronics design startup that makes integrated circuits.

“Lockheed Martin considered multiple U.S. sites for this project, but ultimately chose to expand in St. Paul,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a Tuesday news release. “The company’s decision is a testament to Minnesota’s world-class talent and access to business support and infrastructure.”

The governor’s office broke the news about Maryland-based Lockheed Martin’s decision to locate a facility in Minnesota. The announcement came just one day after the Minnesota Legislature adjourned. Some business leaders have criticized the DFL governor and the DFL-controlled Legislature for substantially raising spending for the next two-year budget cycle. They’ve raised concerns about the cost of doing business in Minnesota.

Walz, on Tuesday, emphasized that Lockheed Martin will be investing $60 million in the state. “This expansion will tap into Minnesota’s skilled workforce and diversify and strengthen our economy,” Walz said. “This investment is good news for Minnesota.”

Financial incentives are being provided to Lockheed Martin. The ForwardEdge ASIC subsidiary will get an $800,000 forgivable loan from Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). There is a condition attached to the financial assistance. “ForwardEdge must create and maintain at least 113 jobs over the next two years, with pay ranging from $40 to $70 per hour,” according to the governor’s news release.

An additional $500,000 has been allocated to ForwardEdge from the state’s Job Creation Fund. DEED spokesman Devin Henry said that money will take the form of a grant if the new company meets a 100-employee job threshold and invests $60 million in Minnesota.

At the time of the announcement, Lockheed Martin didn’t disclose the precise location of the planned facility. However, that information is expected in the coming days.

“There are currently hiring rounds being conducted in the St. Paul area,” said Lockheed Martin spokesman Richard Sant. Engineers will be in high demand for the available jobs, and the new company has included a jobs portal on its website.

Brian Sutterfield, former systems engineering director of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas, is CEO of the new subsidiary coming to St. Paul.

The full name of the company is ForwardEdge ASIC. The acronym stands for application specific integrated circuits. The mission of the ASIC design center will be “delivering relevant, innovative, and affordable microelectronics solutions.”

Several years ago, Lockheed Martin had a major Minnesota presence in Eagan. However, in late 2010 the company announced it would close its Eagan facility. About 1,000 workers were affected by layoffs or company transfers. The majority of Eagan employees worked on communications systems used by the military.

In Tuesday’s announcement release, Jay Malave, Lockheed Martin CFO, noted the company’s decision to invest in Minnesota’s defense industrial base by locating ForwardEdge ASIC in the state. “St. Paul’s high-skilled labor force will lead our industry with secure, customer-focused microelectronics that meet or exceed mission expectations,” Malave said.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter welcomed the economic benefits of a new company in his city. “This investment supports our local and statewide vision of being a technology hub attractive to our 21st century workforce,” Carter said in a written statement.