Sweden-based Saab has named the person who will lead its $37 million aerospace facility in Purdue University’s Discovery Park District. Two-time Purdue graduate Robert Ulibarrí will serve as general manager, leading advanced manufacturing and production for the company’s aerospace systems.
The university says the appointment is the start of a new era for Saab as it advances its U.S.-based advanced manufacturing in collaboration with Purdue’s aerospace engineering program.
Ulibarrí was general manager for industrial automation at Eckhart USA in Columbus and has a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and technology as well as an Executive Master of Business Administration from the Krannert School of Management.
“With Saab building a state-of-the-art facility in West Lafayette and our partnership with Purdue University, we knew we needed to hire an experienced, forward-thinking general manager with a relevant industry 4.0 background and an ingrained understanding of the community. Robert’s background and profile are a perfect match to lead and grow Saab’s Indiana operations,” said Erik Smith, president and chief executive officer of Saab in the U.S.
In the new facility, Saab says it will manufacture the aft section of the advanced pilot trainer aircraft for the United States Air Force in partnership with Boeing.
Saab announced its plans to construct the $37 million facility in 2019.
“I am thrilled to work on this groundbreaking project for Saab in support of Indiana, the U.S. Air Force and future customers,” said Ulibarrí. “It is a unique opportunity to engage with Purdue and work with such talented people to expand the defense industry in Indiana. It’s exciting as well that our product will be American-made all the way.”
Purdue says additional talent recruitment is in progress for certain Saab positions and plans to expand when the new facility officially opens in 2021. When at full capacity by 2027, Saab says it will employ over 300 people.