Tom Prete Speaks at Ceremonial Groundbreaking for State-of-the-Art Global Headquarters and Engineering Facility

EAST HARTFORD, Conn., Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pratt & Whitney held a ceremonial groundbreaking here today for its new state-of-the-art 425,000-square-foot building that will serve as the company's global headquarters and world-class engineering facility. Construction work, which is supported in part by the 2014 Connecticut Aerospace Reinvestment Act, will begin later this year and is scheduled to be completed in late 2017.

Today's ceremony was held exactly 86 years to the day that ground was broken for construction of the company's current East Hartford campus, which remains its global headquarters. Tom Prete, vice president, Engineering, was among the featured speakers at the event.

Prete's prepared remarks follow.

Remarks, as prepared for delivery

Thank you. It's a very exciting day for all of us at Pratt & Whitney. All year we've been celebrating our company's 90th anniversary and the many ways we've defined aviation over those nine decades.

On behalf of everyone at Pratt & Whitney, I'm excited you're here to help us celebrate this once-in-a-generation event, as we hold a ceremonial groundbreaking for our new state-of-the-art headquarters and engineering facility – and also make a little history of our own. You'll learn more about that in a few minutes.

Before we begin, I'd like to welcome our employees, distinguished guests and the media.

We have a great lineup of speakers here today – including Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, Congressman John Larson, East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc, University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst, and of course, Pratt & Whitney President Paul Adams.

Also joining us today are:

  • • Dr. Mun Choi, University of Connecticut Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • • Commissioner of the state's Department of Economic and Community Development, Catherine Smith
  • • Members of the East Hartford delegation:
    • - Senator Tim Larson
    • - Representative Jason Rojas
    • - Representative Henry Genga
    • - Representative Jeff Curry
  • • President & CEO of MetroHartford Alliance Oz Griebel
  • • President & CEO of CBIA, Joe Brennan
  • • Middlesex Chamber of Commerce president and Chair of the UConn Board of Trustees Larry McHugh.
  • • Dr. J. Michael McQuade, UTC vice president of Science & Technology
  • • Last but not least, IAM East Hartford Local Lodge 1746 president Nancy Flagg and her IAM leadership team.

Welcome and thank you all for joining us.

86 years ago today in 1929, Frederick Rentschler, his family, our company's founding fathers, along with public and aviation dignitaries, stood not far from where we are now – on what was then 600 acres of open field - and broke ground on what would become the campus you see today.

It was a huge step forward - expanding from our original location across the river on Capital Avenue in Hartford to what would be known then as the largest and most modern aircraft engine plant in the world.

On this day, it was Mrs. Faye Rentschler – Frederick's wife – who took up the very first shovel full of earth to kick-off construction on the new campus.

She did it using this very shovel and as you can see from the photo here, she had a little help from her then three-year-old daughter Helen.

In a few minutes, we'll take a photo very similar to this one, again using Mrs. Rentschler's shovel to break ground on a once-in-a-generation facility - with a few very special guests who've graciously agreed to join us today:

  • • Nathan Patch, Frederick Rentschler's grandson – son of Frederick's daughter Helen – is here with us today.
  • • As is Charles Rentschler, Frederick Rentschler's nephew – the son of Frederick's brother George.

Today, we're here to begin the next chapter of our company's history in East Hartford – and the state of Connecticut – by commemorating the start of construction on our new 425,000-square-foot headquarters and engineering facility.

Our new headquarters and engineering building will be a catalyst to propel Pratt & Whitney into its next 90 years and beyond.

It will house the best and brightest minds that will help ensure we continue to operate on the cutting edge of aviation technology for decades to come.

Not since Frederick Rentschler and his team developed the first air-cooled radial engine – known as the Wasp – has there been a more exciting time to work at Pratt & Whitney. Having proudly spent my entire career at this company, I can attest to that.

Much like the Wasp was a game-changer back then; today we are driving change and setting new standards in the aerospace industry with revolutionary products like the F135 engine for the Joint Strike Fighter and the new PurePower® engine family, which we expect to enter service later this year.

These engines are writing the next chapter of our company's history by delivering products that are more efficient and create more value for our customers than ever before.

Earlier this week on Monday, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that Connecticut exports reached a record $10.5 billion last year on the strength of aerospace exports. The Hartford area is now ranked as the 30th largest export market in the nation.

At Pratt & Whitney, our exports start in engineering. It's where our experts create the products that Pratt & Whitney provides its customers.

We can only build on our company's great success by continuing to offer the best technology and best innovations, which comes from having the best engineers working in the best facilities. With that, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.

Our current engineering building is 53 years old. It was built the same year I was born. I'm not saying I'm old, but as far as buildings go, this one is obsolete.

We need a new engineering and technology center that reflects the next generation products we are working on today, and will work on in the future.

As you might imagine, engineering has changed dramatically in the last 53 years. Digital computers didn't exist. Designers used drafting boards and engineers performed complex calculations with slide rules and log tables.

This new state-of-the-art facility will allow us to continue to define and drive the innovations that have woven such a rich tapestry of success for Pratt & Whitney for 90 years.

It will also help us recruit, develop and retain the most talented and brilliant people dedicated to developing and creating the greatest engines in the world. Pratt & Whitney attracts top engineering talent from around the world. I'm excited that they'll soon be able to work in a world-class facility.

The Connecticut Aerospace Reinvestment Act is helping make all this a reality.

My dad was a pilot in the Air Force, so you can only imagine how passionate I am about this industry and its rich history. As an engineer, who grew up smelling jet fuel and being around aircraft my entire life, I'm excited about this project, and excited to be part of transforming Pratt & Whitney's East Hartford campus, and growing our company's incredible legacy.

On behalf of the great people who build the most dependable engines in the world, thank you Governor Malloy and thank you to all the people who have helped make this project happen - you too are now part Pratt & Whitney's great legacy.

Now it's my pleasure to introduce Pratt & Whitney President Paul Adams, who will help us make a bit more history today.