Arizona's 'Can-Do Attitude' Brings Space System Company To Mesa

Published: Monday, June 4, 2018 - 5:00am
Updated: Monday, June 4, 2018 - 4:01pm
Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez/KJZZ
Falcon Field is located on McKellips Road off of Greenfield Road in north Mesa.

It’s not a move Arnaldo Soto, Jr. had planned. He and his partners thought they’d grow AQST Space Systems in Puerto Rico. But after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island’s infrastructure and devastated the economy, they considered five states: Florida, Georgia, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

"Arizona’s can-do attitude, inclusive universities, and overall 'no company is too small' mantra is what attracted us to move AQST Headquarters to Arizona," Soto said during a news conference.

Mesa’s Falcon Field will host the company’s headquarters while Soto looks for space to build small rockets and satellite constellations.

"We plan to create no less than 125 jobs over the next three years with 30 percent of our workforce comprised of veterans," he said.

If the company meets hiring goals, it could be eligible for more than $1 million in state tax credits. A job training grant is also available.

Soto said Chandler-Gilbert Community College’s veterans program combined with the history of space systems work and innovation and Arizona State University and University of Arizona convinced his team that "we had everything we need to make our project successful, help Arizona create jobs and further its aerospace and defense capabilities."

EDITOR'S NOTE: KJZZ is licensed to the Maricopa County Community College District.

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