Huntsville/Madison County is home to a diverse economy with several key industry sectors. The area’s strengths include technology development, integration and value-added manufacturing. Primary industry sectors are: aerospace/defense, information technology, advanced manufacturing and bioscience. Building on this success of these primary industry sectors, there are a number of emerging technology areas: electronic communications, modeling & simulation, geospatial, energy, cyber security, robotics and small satellites.



Aerospace & Defense changed Huntsville/Madison County from an agriculture community to a high-tech metro. Redstone Arsenal (RSA) is a 38,000-acre diversified federal campus with 72+ different agencies employing nearly 41,000 people who manage more than $50 billion in federal budgets. RSA is the center for R&D, testing & engineering, and acquisition for Army aviation and missile defense.

Major tenants are the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, the Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency, NASA, the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School and Terrorist Explosive Devices Analytical Center and the ATF National Center for Explosives Training and Research. RSA is headquarters for the four-star Army Materiel Command, the command in charge of all Army procurement and foreign military sales. NASA operates Marshall Space Flight Center, its lead on space propulsion. Marshall designed the rockets that put man on the moon and is currently designing the propulsion system for NASA’s Space Launch System.

Huntsville/Madison County is home to 12 research and industrial parks, including Cummings Research Park (CRP), which is the 2nd largest research park in the U.S. with more than 300 companies employing more than 29,000 people. Nearly every major U.S. aerospace corporation is represented in Cummings Research Park and the community.




The Huntsville/Madison County manufacturing base is a diverse mix of traditional and technology manufacturers comprising approximately one fifth of the overall local area employment. The manufacturing sector has over 220 companies with 32,000 workers, with many workers being highly trained and skilled to perform technology-based precision manufacturing. The area's strong interstate, rail and air cargo infrastructure make for an ideal manufacturing location. The Port of Huntsville's Huntsville International Airport is home to Foreign Trade Zone #83 and the International Intermodal Center, as well as U.S. Customs. There are also over 30 foreign based companies with manufacturing and business operations in Madison County. The majority of local manufacturing operations are located in one of the area's publicly owned industrial parks with sites and infrastructure currently in place for immediate and future growth.

For more information on the Huntsville/Madison County manufacturing sector or opportunities for growth or expansion of your company, please contact: Lucia Cape.



Huntsville is home to a growing cluster of bioscience research, development and manufacturing companies. HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology anchors the 152-acre Cummings Research Park Biotech Campus, fosters over 30 bioscience companies working in a collaborative environment with nonprofit researchers, and employs over 700 people in bioscience-related jobs. HudsonAlpha is a world-class genomics research center developing targeted and more efficient diagnoses and treatments. Among the areas of study by the 16 research labs are projects related to cancers, Parkinson’s, molecular diagnosis and renewable energy. Many of the Principal Investigators and scientists in these labs contributed to the Human Genome Project concluded in 2003, and continue the legacy of that international cooperative work here in Huntsville. Genomic medicine, sometimes grouped with precision medicine, is being practiced on the campus at the Smith Family Clinic powered by Children’s of Alabama, UAB Medicine and HudsonAlpha where families can often receive long-awaited answers to rare disease.

Other bioscience companies in Huntsville include Aviagen, Nektar, and PAR (formerly Qualitest) Pharmaceuticals (an endo international company), which is one of the leading generic pharmaceutical manufacturers in the United States. Huntsville/Madison County is home to 12 research parks and industrial parks, including Cummings Research Park (CRP), which is the 2nd largest research park in the U.S. and 4th largest in the world.


More than 300 international and domestic corporations in Huntsville/Madison County are involved in the design and production of electronics and computer-related technology. IT in Huntsville/Madison County encompasses a wide range of activities including manufacturing of telecommunications hardware, circuit board and communications subcomponent assembly and design, sensors and radars for advanced missile systems and detection, and software engineering.  The TechAmerica foundation listed Huntsville/Madison County’s concentration of high-tech workers 2nd in the Nation only to Silicon Valley.



The Chamber's Existing Industry Services program is designed to assist local companies on expansion plans in Huntsville/Madison County.

The Industry Retention & Expansion initiatives enhance business growth for industry and entrepreneurs striving to provide local companies with the following:

Coordinate with local companies to assist with their overall growth plans. The expansion programs include provision of site location, state and local incentives, infrastructure, utilities & employee selection and training.

Information and publicity which advertises local companies. Performance of general business retention/expansion tasks such as local company visitations, corporate office visits, corporate officer hostings, as well as providing troubled industry support functions.

Provision of direct industry support including the annual wage & benefits survey information. Hosting of appreciation and recognition events.

The Chamber has developed a jobs database and career exploration website, asmartplace, which lists many job openings available at local companies. The site also has links to the participating companies' websites for visitors to gain further information.



Lucia Cape
Senior Vice President, Economic Development & Workforce

Ken Smith
Senior Director, Research & Information Services


2019 Aerospace/Defense Industry Profile