Advanced aerospace manufacturer and longtime Gilbert employer Orbital ATK officially opened after the ribbon cutting ceremony on its new satellite engineering building in Northwest Gilbert.

The 60,000-square-foot facility is located on the site of Orbital’s existing satellite manufacturing plant and will provide a basis for the company’s employment growth plans moving forward.

The expansion is part of a five-year plan that will see Orbital ATK hire 155 additional workers, mostly engineering scientists, through 2020, said Rick Kettner, Orbital ATK Gilbert site manager.

The company will primarily be adding high-wage jobs with an average salary over $100,000, Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels said.

Orbital has a presence in 18 states across the country, and Arizona contains one of the company’s largest single state footprints with over 1,950 employees spread across locations in Gilbert, Chandler and Mesa.

The company chose to expand in Gilbert due, in part, to its longstanding business relationship with the town. The company’s Gilbert manufacturing facility came out of the ground in 2001 and has played a large role in Gilbert’s economic development since that time.

“Gilbert is business friendly and very proactive,” Kettner said. He added that the town is family friendly, which is an important consideration for much of the company’s workforce.

Safety and quality-of-life concerns were also taken into account as the new facility will cut down on commute times for engineers who will no longer have to travel between two sites, said Frank Culbertson, Orbital ATK Space Systems Group president.

Currently, the company has several programs in production at the Gilbert manufacturing facility for public and private entities.

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