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AEI News
January 30, 2024
AE Industrial Partners Affiliate Acquires 2 Million Square Ft. Industrial Facility in Northwest Alabama

LEED-registered industrial manufacturing plant will serve as an aerospace center of excellence and anchor for industry innovation

Boca Raton, FL – January 30, 2024 – AE Industrial Partners, LP (“AEI”), a private equity firm specializing in aerospace, national security and industrial services, today announced that its affiliate Rocket Shoals LLC has acquired an industrial facility, known informally as the “Shoals,” from the Retirement Systems of Alabama. AEI plans to renovate the facility to serve as an aerospace center of excellence anchored in The Shoals area.

Located at 1200 Haley Drive in Cherokee, Alabama, the facility is situated on 638 acres and contains 2.27 million square feet of industrial zoned manufacturing capacity. Currently unoccupied, the LEED-registered building’s previous tenants include National Steel Car, Navistar, and FreightCar America. The space is well suited for aerospace manufacturing and will become the new headquarters for select AEI portfolio companies as well as other aerospace suppliers, manufacturers, and innovators. In addition, AEI will be partnering with Poarch Band of Creek Indians, a federally recognized tribe of Native Americans with reservation lands in lower Alabama, to provide joint capabilities and bring innovative solutions to federal customers.

“AE Industrial is a highly focused investment firm, with a strategy to drive value creation at the nexus of the aerospace, space and defense markets – all sectors that are currently thriving in Alabama,” said David Rowe, Co-CEO and Managing Partner at AE Industrial. “We look forward to building an aerospace center of excellence in The Shoals that benefits the community, the state of Alabama and our portfolio companies.”

“We are so excited to work alongside the talented team at Rocket Shoals,” said Kevin Jackson, President, Shoals EDA. “This transaction opens the doors to many new possibilities for The Shoals. We can’t wait to get started on this new endeavor opening up Northwest Alabama as an aerospace destination.”

The greater Shoals area, as well as the corridor that extends east to Huntsville, is home to a well-educated workforce and a growing cohort of aerospace industry engineers and technology professionals.

“We are proud to call Alabama home as we expand several of our marquee companies in the Shoals area,” added Chris Emerson, Senior Partner at AE Industrial. “Our collective experiences with past projects, including Mercedes-Benz and the Airbus final assembly line in Mobile, give us confidence in our strong regional relationships and ability to engage with local partners to establish north Alabama as an ‘aerospace corridor’.”

About AE Industrial Partners

AE Industrial Partners is a private investment firm with $5.4 billion of assets under management focused on highly specialized markets including aerospace, national security, and industrial services. AE Industrial Partners has completed more than 130 investments in market-leading companies that benefit from its deep industry knowledge, operating experience, and network of relationships across the sectors where the firm invests. With a commitment to driving value creation in partnership with the management teams of its portfolio companies, AE Industrial Partners invests across private equity, venture capital (AEI HorizonX), and aerospace leasing. For more information, please visit

Media Contacts:
Stanton Public Relations & Marketing
Matt Conroy
(646) 502-3563