Pease is still a jobs generator

Air Guard’s expansion continues tradeport’s role as an economic engine


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Just as the future of the Air Force’s super remake of the refueling tanker hits Pease, the fruits of private growth and military investment will be creating a perfect economic storm on New Hampshire’s Seacoast.

But, unlike the natural nor’easters that start on our coast, this economic storm will spread good accumulations across the state in the terms of green.

We keep hearing from recent visitors to the Pease International Tradeport that they had no idea the entire Seacoast property offers so much for business and pleasure. We keep being surprised when first-time visitors come for a tour, and they are shocked in a pleasant way. So many people in New Hampshire have no idea all that is happening right now at Pease.

“Why,” we ask ourselves, “is all this good news such a big secret for so many in New Hampshire?”

Today, we are witnessing the perfect convergence of steady private growth with commercial development and business occupancy while Pease is bracing to be home to the future of the U.S. Air Force’s strategic refueling mission for decades to come. This is huge news, at a time when nearly 10,000 people already work at Pease.

One reason we at Pease believe we are witnessing such steady commercial growth is the mix of what we have at the former Air Force base. While Pease has been privatized, we continue a strong and meaningful relationship with the ongoing New Hampshire Air National Guard refueling mission. While many states have seen established military bases close completely, the fact that Pease was able to convert to a vibrant commercial home to companies, hotels and restaurants while at the same time landing the future home of the Air Force’s modern remake of the refueling KC-46A air tanker is incredible.

The Pease Air National Guard in Portsmouth has been chosen at the number one location in the country to base the Air Force’s new jumbo tanker. The KC-46A will replace the venerable but aging KC-135 Stratotanker that is so familiar to many of us living in the area. This is a huge deal.

A role model

Pending some environmental impact studies, Pease will be the first Air National Guard unit in the country to receive the next-generation tanker. The 157th Air Refueling Wing has the infrastructure in place to support the new tanker planes, and obviously the experience to maintain those planes and the refueling mission. Twelve of these super tankers will be here starting in fiscal year 2018.

Reports show that the designation of the KC-46A to the NH Air National Guard means Pease will generate additional jobs and more money for the New Hampshire economy.

When lawmakers in Concord were debating construction jobs for a proposed casino or two this past legislative session, the reality is this news at Pease will mean approximately $45 million in military construction contracts over the next several years. The additional jobs for the Air Guard’s expansion and future home of the KC-46A tanker are on top of new jobs being created every time a company makes it home at Pease commercially.

The Pease International Tradeport is a role model for other parts of the country where large military installations have been shut down. It was not an automatic conclusion that Pease would thrive like it is today. One reason for the success may be the strategic location of Pease, sitting near the seacoast but convenient to access Interstate 95 to Maine or Massachusetts.

Sadly, most people in New Hampshire have not seen the results of this incredible story. Unless you live and work at or near Pease, you’ve missed a lot.

Renee Plummer is vice president of marketing for Two International Group at Pease International Tradeport.

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