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collaboration in ohio aerospace industry leads towards global leadership

Gary Conley, Vice Chair of the Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Council. Photo Ben French
Gary Conley, Vice Chair of the Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Council. Photo Ben French
In 2011, The Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Council set out to develop new, strategic areas of growth for the Ohio aerospace industry. The council represents all of the historic aerospace organizations that give our state a unique advantage in the industry, as well as several of the key businesses in manufacturing and development. 

As a part of this initiative, the council identified five emerging aerospace markets as key areas of growth for Ohio: unmanned aerial systems (UAS); advanced materials research and manufacturing; propulsion, research and development/commercial space; aircraft maintenance repair overhaul (MRO); and infrastructure and environment.

Over the course of the year, and with a few very successful events under its belt, the council has made significant progress in both the governmental and commercial aerospace arena and continues to aggressively pursue all five growth areas.

“The council is becoming the ‘go-to’ place for state aerospace support. We want to showcase our state assets: NASA Glenn Research Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and GE Aviation, just to name a few,” says Joe Zeis, Chair of the Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Council.  “If we speak with one voice, we will be unstoppable.”
Such vital industry leadership wasn’t always a foregone conclusion. Fierce competition from other markets, rapid change within the industry and a fragmented industry in Ohio were all factors which, only a year ago, threatened to knock us from our perch as one of the top aerospace markets in the country.
The collaborative work of the Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Council has addressed these threats by providing a platform for industry leadership. “Ohio has the supply chain and the technologies that the global market needs, and that’s why we’re successful,” says Gary Conley, Vice Chair of the council and President of Techsolve. “Industry leaders are putting Ohio back at the top of their list.”
Creation of the council has led to high-profile marketing opportunities. Last June, six companies participated in exhibitions at the first-ever Ohio state booth at the Paris Air Show. The event provided new opportunities and lead generation for smaller businesses, as well as a united showing for the entire region.
In 2012, the council will again support Ohio companies at the Farnborough International Air Show in the UK. The council will have an even larger Ohio booth with twice as many companies as Paris. TechSolve is the Edison Technology Center in Cincinnati organizing the exhibitors and funding for the show.

Maverick and Renegade, two companies that are based in Cincinnati and Dayton, respectively, both exhibited in Paris. These firms have also been prime examples of growth for Ohio, particularly in the research and manufacturing of advanced materials. 
“Since June, we have utilized our opportunities at Paris and resources in the council to grow our business,” says Laura Gray, General Manager of Renegade. “We have introduced several breakthrough materials technologies that are available for global export. Manufacturing high-temperature hybrid composite materials and parts in Ohio will generate significant job creation and revenue growth for the state. Maverick and Renegade are on target to hire up to 50 employees over the next three years.”

These signs of momentum continue and are apparent statewide. This month, Senator Rob Portman co-hosted an Aerospace Jobs and Technology Summit with the council. The event attracted more than 160 industry leaders and highlighted aerospace as Ohio’s second-largest industry as well as growth areas like NextGen and UAS.
There is swift movement in the UAS core area. A steering committee of the council holds weekly meetings focused on this topic. Additionally, Ohio's first annual UAS Summit took place this month at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, bringing some of the international exposure of the Paris Air Show to our own backyard and attracting national and international attention for local companies in Ohio.   

One of the leading contributors to technologies that support UAS development in Ohio is Anderson Aerospace, a firm based in Kent. The company exhibited in Paris and at the UAS Summit. They also earned $250,000 in private funding for their work this year. CEO Rick Anderson and Senior Vice President Matthew Flannery have stated publicly that they believe the State of Ohio is committed to its aerospace industry and, in turn, they are committed to Ohio as their home base.

"We really want to make things, and we want to make them here," Flannery has said.

Finally, the council has elevated the united voice of the Ohio aerospace industry through efforts like strengthening communications with large OEM’s such as Airbus, Boeing and GE Aviation as well as presenting a federal legislative agenda to Congressional leaders during a recent trip to Washington, D.C.

Dozens of successful companies, continued marketplace innovation and statewide leadership -- it all adds up to an Ohio industry that is poised for global greatness.

Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Council (OAAC)

OAAC was formed by the State of Ohio and key industry leaders to work collaboratively as members of private industries, university/not-for-profit organizations and federal/state installations to develop a strategy to strengthen and grow Ohio’s Aerospace, Aviation & Defense industry. For more information, contact Joe Zeis, Council Chair, at 937-222-4422 or [email protected].

Photo Credits:
1. Gary Conley, President of TechSolve, visiting a client machine shop.
2. Sen. Rob Portman at a news conference for the Aerospace Jobs and Technology Summit at the GE Aviation Learning Center.
3. Sen. Rob Portman, David Joyce President and CEO GE Aviation and Stan Deal VP and General Manager Boeing lead a panel discussion at the Aerospace Jobs and Technology Summit on April 4, 2012.
4. Governor John Kasich prepared a video message to share at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to show his support. Watching the video are: James Free, Amanda Wright Lane, Don Lane, and Brent Decent.
5. At the Ohio booth Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Paris Air Show on Monday June 20, 2011 from left to right:
James Free – Deputy Director, NASA Glenn Research Center
Dr. Laurent Rouaud - GE Aviation Chief Marketing Officer
Brent Decent - Europe Office, ODOD
Amanda Wright Lane – Marketing Chairperson, Ohio Aerospace & Business Aviation Advisory Council
Don Lane – President & CEO, Makino America
6. Joe Zeis, Vice President of the Dayton Development Coalition
7. Laura Gray, Owner, Renegade Materials

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