Charlotte has banking. Raleigh has state government, but for generations, the Triad has distinguished itself as the place where people make things. Honda Aircraft Company will deliver its long awaited corporate jet to its first client this year. And in doing so, it signifies a new emerging industry in the Triad.

Furniture, textiles, and tobacco have been the hallmark of the region's manufacturing industry. But the times have not been kind lately. Cheap imports and new competition have taken their toll. Many of the home-bred companies are gone entirely, along with the jobs they once provided.

It has forced the region to reinvent itself, seeking new industries with more advanced manufacturing methods and higher worker skill levels.

Now aviation is taking center stage.

Mark Sutter, with the Triad Business Journal, says Honda is expected to produce 80 to 100 jets annually, and that could be just the beginning.

“I think one of the things long-term is–if it's a success and there is every reason to believe it will be because there's been some pretty good write-ups and reviews on it in trade magazines–there might even be a potential for them to go and develop other models, bigger planes or bigger configurations in the long run, so it really has a lot of growth potential in the Triad. It's exactly the kind of industry that we want,” says Sutter.

Honda Aircraft currently employs more than 1,300 people at its manufacturing plant at the Piedmont Triad International Airport.

The Business Report on 88.5 WFDD is a partnership with the Triad Business Journal. You'll find Mark Sutter' stories and more breaking business news at

Justin Catanoso is director of the Journalism program at Wake Forest University and a regular contributor to 88.5 WFDD.

Follow Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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