Connecting Aerospace Interests

John Theisen, Orion Aerospace

PNAA’s Executive of the Year Award is presented to an executive of an aerospace company located within the Pacific Northwest who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the Pacific Norwest Aerospace Industry. PNAA’s Board of Directors awarded John Theisen the 2016 Award for his outstanding leadership of the Auburn-based company Orion Industries.

JohnT1John Theisen, CEO of Auburn based Orion Aerospace, has a knack for strategic planning, building strong management teams, and positioning companies for expansion. He also has a passion for making a difference and has used it to transform the small, non-profit sheet metal fabricator that trained people with disabilities into a world class organization that is now the 10th largest aerospace employer in the state.

“John is a visionary leader that has the ability to create solid roadmaps for growth and success,” said PNAA Chairman Ted Croft. “Prior to working at Orion, he used his expertise at Fortune 500 companies where he helped companies like Seattle’s Best Coffee grow from an $8 million business into a $95 million powerhouse. Today, he’s working that same magic at Orion where his team just finished building a new 100,000 sf facility, merged with Diversified Industries of Mukilteo and increased sales. His leadership style is a model for companies around the country.”

Since joining Orion in 2000, John and his team have conducted a major repositioning of the company, implementing major process improvements and creating a new business division in the Contact Center Services industry. The Orion team has emphasized the importance of robust organizational processes to define and reinforce their unique culture and values. The result has been 20% annual average sales increases for the past 13 years, and recognition twice as a Boeing Global Supplier of the Year, as the Governor’s Aerospace Company of the Year and as a Seattle Business Magazine Manufacturer of the Year.

Orion Industries BuildingSince 1957, Orion has trained people struggling with barriers to employment, helping them land good jobs in the community. Today, Orion’s operations have grown to include sheet metal fabrication, complex machined parts, hydraulic assembly, metal finishing and a wire shop with a broad customer base in commercial aerospace, general aviation and defense. Orion’s new facility in Auburn, the start-up of their new metal finishing line and their acquisition of Diversified Industries in Mukilteo are key examples of their growth and diversification. Orion consistently operates as a silver/gold supplier for quality and delivery to a diverse group of customers including Boeing, Boeing Defense, Northrop Grumman, Hexcel, Zodiac, AMT and Triumph. The Orion team consistently finds innovative ways to partner with their customers and provide cost saving strategies and world class customer service.

Orion’s business model has been recognized as a national model for social enterprise. Orion utilizes their businesses as platforms to conduct job training and subsequent community job placement for hundreds of individuals each year who have significant barriers to employment. Orion has shown that it is possible to achieve business excellence while also providing a significant social benefit to the community.

John has worked with government, education and industry to create a stronger aerospace industry, a more competitive business environment and in particular to create workforce development solutions.