Cirrus Aircraft Announces New Customer Experience Center in Innovation Valley

Aviation Company to Create 170 Jobs, Invest $15 Million

May 6, 2015

Innovation Valley is excited to announce Cirrus Aircraft, a recognized leader in general aviation, is expanding operations with its new Customer Experience Center, called the ‘Vision Center,’ to be located at Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport. The company will invest $15 million and create 170 high-wage technical jobs for Innovation Valley.

“Cirrus Aircraft will feel right at home here as a company that sets the standard for innovation in its industry, and we want to thank Cirrus for bringing its new customer experience facility to East Tennessee,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. “Tennessee has incredible resources such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Arnold Engineering Development Complex that can help attract aerospace companies, and today’s announcement is another significant step toward our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

The Vision Center will become the flagship location for all Cirrus Aircraft pilot, owner and customer activities including sales, delivery, training, maintenance, support, personalization, fixed base operations and more for all Cirrus airplanes including the Vision SF50 single-engine personal jet, scheduled for certification in late 2015.

“The Vision Center is the next step in our goal to reimagine general aviation and the flying experience at Cirrus Aircraft,” said Dale Klapmeier, Cirrus Aircraft Co-Founder and CEO. “We call that aviation experience ‘The Cirrus Life’ and with the Vision Center in Knoxville, we are bringing together transformational new airplanes with a reinvented customer and ownership experience, all led by the forward thinking leadership team that is unique to Cirrus Aircraft.”

Innovation Valley’s process to recruit Cirrus Aircraft was a true regional initiative, which included the Blount Partnership, Knoxville Chamber, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, and Tennessee Valley Authority.

“ORNL joins Governor Haslam in welcoming Cirrus Aircraft to Tennessee and the Innovation Valley,” said Thom Mason, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Innovation Valley’s board of director’s chairman. “We have met with company officials several times over the past year to discuss ways ORNL can support Cirrus’s growth and have committed funding from Tennessee’s RevV! program to provide research and development assistance.”

“I am excited to welcome Cirrus Aircraft to Innovation Valley,” said Rhonda Rice, Innovation Valley’s executive administrator. “This announcement is a great testament of why we formed Innovation Valley and how a regional approach to economic development offers the most advantages for our community and its continued progression.”

Cirrus Aircraft manufactures and sells personal aircraft. Cirrus markets several versions of its three certified models, with a fourth model, the Cirrus Vision SF50, currently under development. The company also produces an all-composite line of personal aircraft. Advanced technology and manufacturing with a concentration in carbon fiber and composites is a target recruitment cluster of Innovation Valley.

The selection of the Innovation Valley region for the home of the Vision Center was the result of a detailed site evaluation process that initially included more than 15 states and 30 on-airport locations. McGhee Tyson Airport rose to the top with its combination of convenient location to the installed Cirrus owner base in North America, unique airport and area amenities, favorable weather and a welcoming community for Cirrus Aircraft employees and their families. Todd Simmons, Cirrus Aircraft Chief Customer Officer, will lead the Cirrus aircraft team at the new home for all Cirrus Aircraft customer activities and operations.

“I am thrilled to welcome Cirrus to East Tennessee!” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. “This is great news for Knoxville, for our airport and our entire region. This demonstrates again that this is a great, friendly place to do business. I look forward to working with Cirrus to provide the best possible experience for the company and their customers.”

More information is available at


About Cirrus Aircraft

Cirrus Aircraft is a recognized leader in general aviation. Its all-composite line of personal aircraft - the SR20, SR22 and the turbocharged SR22T - incorporate innovative and advanced performance, electronic and safety technologies, including Cirrus Perspective™ by Garmin® avionics and the unique Cirrus Airframe Parachute System™ (CAPS). Cirrus has delivered more than 6,000 certified airplanes since 1999 and total time on the worldwide Cirrus Aircraft SR-series fleet surpassed seven million flight hours with 105 lives saved as a direct result of CAPS being a standard safety feature on all Cirrus aircraft. The Cirrus Vision SF50, with over 550 production positions reserved, will provide a new personal and regional business transportation solution: the personal jet. All Cirrus aircraft are made in the U.S. with a direct sales force in North America and authorized sales centers covering export markets in 60 countries around the world. Cirrus Aircraft is wholly owned by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., Ltd (CAIGA). For additional information on Cirrus and its products please visit

About Innovation Valley

Innovation Valley is east Tennessee’s regional economic development initiative that is managed by the Knoxville Chamber and includes eight partner agencies. With its heritage of innovative science and technology breakthroughs and solid, business-friendly values, the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley region is a prime business location in the United States. Innovation Valley is currently implementing Innovation Valley Blueprint 2.0, its second five-year strategic plan for business growth in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge region. Find us on the web Follow us on Twitter: @KnoxOakRidgeIV. Like us on Facebook: