With more than 32,000 employees, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base dominates the economy in the Greater Dayton Miami Valley region. It is also the largest single site employer in the state.
According to a statewide economic impact analysis, which evaluated Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), the Dayton Veteran Affairs Medical Center and the Springfield-Beckley Air National Gard Base in the 12 counties that make up JobsOhio’s Western region, federal and military installations generate $19.4 billion in total economic activity and support more than 103,000 jobs. That accounts for 17.2% of the region’s economy.
“Those results build on decades of hard work by hundreds of local economic development professionals,” says Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition (DDC). “Since the DDC began in 1994 as the Miami Valley Economic Development Coalition, our region fought back from a major recession, Wright-Patt has nearly doubled in size and our regional economy has strengthened and diversified.”
Earlier this year, the DDC released a report entitled “Wright-Patt 2030” outlining the region’s strategic efforts to grow and retain missions while encouraging and growing community partnerships and industries that support the base. Calling it the engine of the regional economy, the report found that by itself, the base generates more than 80,000 jobs and $16 billion in economic activity, a substantial portion of the regional jobs and economic activity created by military and federal institutions in the region
“Dayton’s future economic viability is inextricably linked to the success of the military, federal and defense industry and WPAFB’s role as the region’s stabilizing economic force,” adds Hoagland. “To secure our economic future, the community must protect Wright-Patt.”
The Wright-Patt 2030 strategy focuses on four pillars: advocacy, outreach, partnerships and industry. It also found that the entire Dayton region benefits from a community-based strategy focused on protecting Wright-Patt. Targeted efforts will ultimately increase the military value of the installation and position Dayton to retain existing WPAFB operations and gain additional missions.
“While there are no immediate plans for a congressionally mandated Base Realignment & Closure (BRAC) round, the threat of mission movement never goes away,” says Elaine Bryant, the DDC’s executive vice president of Aerospace and Defense. “Wright-Patt 2030 takes that a step further to ensure the region’s long-term strategy aligns with national defense priorities to attract new capability and mission sets into the region through demonstrated community partnerships and deliberate community investment.”
- Terry Troy