South Carolina Group Explores Creating National Aerospace Coalition with AFA
Friday, September 7th, 2018
The Aerospace Futures Alliance and the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness/SC Aerospace (the Council) have signed a Letter of Intent for the purpose of advancing the aerospace industry across the US. The LOI will serve as the platform for exploring the creation of a national aerospace Coalition (Coalition) with the objective of strengthening and growing commercial aviation, space, and unmanned aerial systems in the US through a variety of activities.
“We have identified the need for a unified national and regional voice representing aerospace and related businesses of all types and sizes, as well as aerospace associations and economic development entities,” said Kelly Maloney, AFA president and CEO. “In Washington state, AFA represents the largest aerospace cluster in the US. We are excited about extending our collaborative network with the Council and others to address critical issues and increase the profile of the industry across the country complementary to other efforts already under way.”
Susie Shannon, President and CEO of the Council, remarked that “the Coalition will amplify and accelerate aerospace as a significant pillar of economic growth, leading to higher firm and wage growth. Aerospace is a rock star cluster in our respective regions, and strategic coalitions will hone our competitive edge on the global stage.
AFA and the Council have established a positive, collaborative relationship that will serve as the building block for the Coalition. "Invitations to other stakeholders have been met with excitement. Next steps will be to increase this engagement and make determinations as to the structure of the Coalition and how we create synergy value going forward," said Tim Kirk, chair of AFA's Board of Directors and vice president of sales for Toray Composites America. Toray also has a seat on the Advisory Board of the Council’s South Carolina Aerospace association.
"A national aerospace Coalition addressing issues from numerous perspectives, such as the one being proposed by AFA and the Council, is meaningful for companies like ATS, which has facilities across the country," said Matt Yerbic, president and CEO of Aviation Technical Services (ATS), and a member of AFA's Board of Directors.
Adrianne Beasley, Director of Aerospace Initiatives for the Council, notes that SC Aerospace is looking forward to working with AFA to build this national cluster. "As our aerospace industry continues to grow, so should our collaborations as we face shared issues such as workforce and supply chain needs."
“This national aerospace Coalition will be an important new catalyst for the nationwide growth of our dynamic industry,” said Steve Townes, inaugural chairman of SC Aerospace and founder/CEO of Ranger Aerospace.
“The reach of the aerospace industry continues to extend past our state borders," said South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “Team South Carolina's leadership through this new national aerospace Coalition cements our collective position on the forefront of efforts to grow this dynamic sector.”
The Coalition will be run nationally with regional alliances. Its goals include building relationships to champion issues together that reach beyond state issues and opportunities. Among other priorities that have been discussed, Coalition activities may include:
addressing federal and regional issues that impact the aerospace industry
providing the public and lawmakers with a deeper understanding of aerospace and the economic impact of the industry and its job creation abilities across the country
addressing and seeking solutions for workforce issues that have a national or regional impact
retaining and strengthening each member organization and core mission in their home states, building regional momentum, and forging strong unified bonds between member organizations nationally and regionally
developing a deeper understanding of supplier overlap and strategies for supporting suppliers
tracking the regulatory environment to ensure that it does not constrain innovation and technology advances