Oklahoma Aerospace to Occupy Norman!
May 21, 2012
Norman, Oklahoma-Oklahoma aerospace is a big deal! An industry that employees one in every 10 workers in the state will gather in Norman on June 5 to listen, learn, share, and celebrate the industry that is responsible for tens of thousands of jobs in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Aerospace & Defense Summit and Expo will be held at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in Norman. This year’s mission is to connect hundreds of aerospace companies to the state’s five military installations and the Oklahoma Air National Guard. Oklahoma’s aerospace industry has something for everyone; commercial and military aerospace, unmanned aerial systems, space as in exploration and transport, general and business aviation, and a host of suppliers that exist to support the Oklahoma aerospace industry.
“The Oklahoma Aerospace & Defense Alliance (OADA) is proud to focus our attention on the opportunities that exist because of the presence of some of our nation’s finest military bases,” said Jim Rice, Pro-Fab CEO and incoming OADA Chair. “Our industry is stronger because of the business that is done with five military bases and our own Oklahoma National Guard.” Key note speaker is the Honorable Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
The OADA will present the 11th annual Oklahoma Aerospace Summit in Norman for the first time. In the past, the Summit was held in Oklahoma City or Tulsa. Although the largest clusters of aerospace/aviation related businesses are found around those two metro areas, aerospace business is sprinkled all over the state. The five military bases are partially responsible for that widespread presence. Aerospace/aviation companies benefit from the business opportunities that come out of the bases.
“Defense is a big deal in Oklahoma!” said Paul Berry, ARINC and Chairman of the Summit Planning Team this year. “My company, like so many in Oklahoma, do business with private sector aerospace companies, and often with the Department of Defense. It is important that Oklahoma companies AND companies outside of Oklahoma know that we have a real strength in our defense related sector.” A panel representing all five military bases and the Oklahoma National Guard will be hosted by Oklahoma Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs, Major General Rita Aragon, will take center stage following the key note speaker from the Department of Defense. “Everyone in this business is interested in knowing what effect the federal budget will have on the military side of the aerospace business.”
The Summit will also feature the annual OkAeroGolf Tournament on June 4 at the Tour 18 at Rose Creek Golf Club in Edmond, as well as the popular Aerospace Education and Industry Partnership Day (AEIP) that takes place on the third day of the Summit. This year, educators from all over Oklahoma will gather in Norman to meet the companies at the Summit, then they will move to The Boeing Company offices in OKC for some Aero101. The mission of AEIP Day is to expose teachers to careers available in the aerospace industry and transform them into front line aero ambassadors in the classrooms of Oklahoma, in order to build the Oklahoma aerospace workforce of the future.
“This year as Boeing hosts Aerospace Education and Industry Partnership Day, we hope to connect with educators across the state and make them aware of future job possibilities so they can help prepare and inspire students to pursue technical careers,” said Mike Emmelhainz, Oklahoma City site director, Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “It’s critical that today’s students develop an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers in order to meet the aerospace industry’s future workforce requirements.”
For more information:
Mary E. Smith
Oklahoma Aerospace & Defense Alliance
Learn more about the Summit and the Oklahoma Aerospace & Defense Alliance at www.okaero.com.