Aerospace Industry: Strength in Numbers

The aviation and aerospace industry in Denver South is out of this world, literally.

  • 4,110 employees work for more than 20 aviation and aerospace companies
  • 21% of all aerospace employment in the nine-county Denver Metro Region is in Denver South
  • The average salary for aerospace workers in the nine-county region is $128,120, 24% more than the national average, attracting a highly-qualified workforce

Take your business to new heights:
Reasons to locate in Denver South

  • Of Colorado’s adult population, more than 38 percent has completed a bachelor’s or higher-level degree, making Colorado the second-most highly educated state in the nation behind Massachusetts.
  • In Denver South, 61 percent of the adult population has a bachelor’s degree and 21 percent hold graduate or higher level degrees
  • Colorado ranked fifth for the number of scientists and engineers as a share of all occupations in 2014.
  • Denver ranked as the third-best city for college graduates, with millennials (ages 20-34) representing 26 percent of the total population.
  • Lone Tree ranked among the 10 best places in Colorado for millennial job seekers and eight of the 10 cities are within commuting distance to Denver.
  • The Denver-Aurora-Broomfield metropolitan statistical area ranked first overall for economic development and job growth in the “Leading Locations for 2015” list. Areas recognized in the study have strong pro-business environments and a highly skilled workforce.
  • Metro Denver ranked as the fourth-best metro area for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals in 2015. Metro Denver ranked fourth for the projected number of STEM jobs needed in 2018 and seventh for openings per capita for STEM graduates.

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  • Four of Metro Denver’s eight prime contractors have significant operations in the Denver South region: The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and United Launch Alliance.
  • Metro Denver is home to Buckley Air Force Base, a major military operation which is home to the 460th Space Wing and supports more than 83 tenant organizations that represent all branches of the military. The base also hosts the Colorado Air National Guard 120th Fighter Squadron and its F-16C fighters.
  • Colorado ranked second nationwide in National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) prime contract awards—more than $1.8 billion—in 2014, or 14 percent of the nation’s total. The University of Colorado (seventh) and Colorado State University (52nd) ranked among the top-100 public educational institutions for NASA research awards in 2014.
  • Maj. Gen. Jay Lindell was appointed in 2013 by Gov. Hickenlooper as Colorado’s Aerospace and Defense Industry Champion, to oversee implementation of the state’s aerospace strategic plan and assist aerospace businesses, defense installations, and research institutions.
  • Aerospace Day at the Colorado Capitol occurs annually to recognize the industry’s importance to the state’s economic growth. In 2015, the Colorado Legislature formed a bipartisan Aerospace and Defense Caucus to further support the continued expansion of aerospace and defense within the state.
  • The Advanced Industries (AI) Accelerator Programs include four types of grants and a global business support program to promote growth and sustainability in Colorado’s advanced industries, including advanced manufacturing, aerospace, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering, and technology and information. These industries account for nearly 30 percent of the state’s wage earnings and nearly 35 percent of the state’s total exports.
  • Personal property used in an orbital space facility, a space propulsion system, satellite, or space station is exempt from sales and use taxes. The exemption encourages capital investment in aerospace manufacturing supplies. (Exemption clarified in Colorado House Bill 14-1178)
  • To further pave the way for Spaceport Colorado, legislation passed in 2012 will help expand the state’s aerospace economy. Senate Bill 35 (2012) limited the liability for public and private entities holding a Federal Aviation Administration license for spaceflight activities. The legislation is important in initiating commercial spaceflight activities in the state.
  • Colorado ranked fifth on Forbes’ 2016 “Best States for Business” list. The state received its highest rankings for labor supply (first overall), economic climate (second overall), growth prospects (third overall), and regulatory environment (ninth overall).
    Metro Denver ranked No. 2 among Forbes’ 2017 “Best Places for Business and Careers” ranking in the top two for the third-straight year.
  • Denver South’s office rental rates averaged $24.51 per square foot in the first quarter of 2017, making the region’s office market highly competitive with other major markets in the U.S.
  • Colorado has one of the nation’s most favorable corporate income tax structures. The state’s corporate income tax rate of 4.63 percent is one of the lowest in the nation and is based on single-factor apportionment, which allows companies to pay taxes based solely on their sales in the state.
  • The Denver-Aurora-Broomfield metropolitan area ranked among the top 10 for economic development and job growth in the “Leading Locations for 2016” list. Areas recognized in the study exhibited economic strength and capacity to support business prosperity.
  • Colorado has the nation’s ninth-best tax climate for entrepreneurship and small business.
    Colorado ranked among the top five “Best States for Small Business Friendliness” in 2016. Denver received an “A-” grade for overall friendliness.
  • Highlands Ranch (sixth) and Centennial (13th) ranked among MONEY Magazine’s 2016 “Best Places to Live” list.
    Centennial ranked among the “Best Cities for Young Families” in 2017. The city ranked No. 49 out of 510 U.S. communities.
    The Denver South region boasts a variety of quality living options from expansive apartment complexes to single-family homes surrounded by open spaces. The area is also known for beautiful neighborhoods, award-winning schools, and popular parks and trail systems.
  • The South Metro Corridor is home to seven state parks, greenways, and a national forest and has preserved over 50,000 acres of natural open space. The High Line Canal, designated as a National Landmark Trail, contributes to the region’s robust trail system.
  • Denver ranked fifth among the “2016’s Best Large Cities to Live In.” Denver scored first for livability and third for local economy and taxes.
  • Metro Denver ranked as the third-fittest metropolitan area in the U.S. in 2016.
    Nearly 30 public and private golf courses are located in the South Metro Corridor and world-class ski resorts are located within 100 miles of the Corridor.

Meet Your Neighbors


United Launch Alliance
Formed in December 2006, United Launch Alliance (ULA) is a 50-50 joint venture owned by Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company, based in Centennial. ULA brings together two of the launch industry’s most experienced and successful teams – Atlas and Delta – to provide reliable, cost-efficient space launch services for the U.S. government. U.S. government launch customers include the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other organizations.

Sierra Nevada Corporation
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), located in Centennial,  provides customer-focused technology solutions in the areas of aerospace, aviation, electronics and systems integration. SNC has been honored as one of “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space,” and as one of America’s fastest growing companies. SNC’s diverse technologies are used in applications including telemedicine, navigation and guidance systems, threat detection and security, commercial aviation, scientific research and infrastructure protection. The company has leased space at Centennial Airport.

UP Aerospace Inc. 
UP Aerospace is a space launch and flight test service provider incorporated in 2004 to offer world class access to space. Located in Highlands Ranch, the company specializes in advanced engineering, launch technology development and state-of-the-art rapid and low cost launch operations.