2015 South Carolina Aerospace Conference Preview

Aerospace continues to be one of the fastest growing industries in South Carolina. The second annual South Carolina Aerospace Conference and Expo, which will be held on Aug. 26-27, 2015 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Gov. Nikki R. Haley will deliver opening remarks and The Boeing Company will be the title sponsor for the event.

“We are very excited to have Gov. Haley and Boeing engaged in the second annual Aerospace Conference,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “South Carolina’s long history in the aerospace industry was accented with Boeing’s arrival in 2009, and the sector’s growth since has been exponential. I appreciate the opportunity this conference provides to bring together state and industry leaders to discuss the bright future of aerospace in South Carolina.”

The South Carolina Aerospace Conference and Expo are designed to bring together leaders from the aviation industry, government and the investment community. The event highlights South Carolina’s emergence as a top destination for aerospace manufacturing and research and will feature:

  • Tours of The McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research, the Richland One Challenger Learning Center and the USC Conditioned Based Maintenance Center;
  • General sessions on K-12 education initiatives, advanced materials for aerostructures, big data and aerospace and unmanned aerial systems;
  • Technology breakout sessions and workforce/industry breakout sessions

Other featured speakers and sessions include:

  • National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) member Robert Sumwalt will be one of the keynote speakers for the conference. Sumwalt, a native South Carolinian and inductee in the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame, will speak at a general session on Aug. 26 from 2:45 p.m. until 3:15 p.m. The focus of Sumwalt’s talk will be on the emerging technologies that the NTSB is following and monitoring for safer flight.
  • The South Carolina Aviation Association (SCAA) and the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission announce that Scott Thompson, U.S. Aerospace and Defense Assurance Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, will be the keynote speaker for the fourth annual South Carolina Aerospace Dinner.
  • Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the NextGen Air Transportation Program based at North Carolina State University will address the topic of unmanned aerial systems
  • Toray Composites Inc. and IBM to Share Industry Expertise at SC Aerospace Conference

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in 150 countries. Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training. Boeing South Carolina is home to the company’s second 787 Dreamliner final assembly and delivery facility.

“We are honored to welcome Boeing as the sponsor of the second annual South Carolina Aerospace Conference and Expo,” Steve Townes, Chairman of SC Aerospace and President of Ranger Aerospace. “Boeing’s arrival in South Carolina in 2009 was a pivotal moment in the growth and development of the aviation and aerospace industry and contributed directly to the significant growth of suppliers and other businesses choosing to locate in South Carolina. We welcome the industry insight that Boeing’s participation will bring to attendees.”

The South Carolina Department of Commerce will conclude day two of the event on Aug. 27 with a business-to-business matchmaking event.

According to a 2014 study by Joseph VonNessen, a research economist with the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, the aerospace cluster has a $17 billion economic impact on South Carolina and directly employs 58,000 workers. An industry “cluster” is a group of complementary businesses that focuses on or serves the same industry. They come together to increase efficiency and innovation within that industry, while boosting the overall economy in a region.

South Carolina’s aerospace cluster – or “aerospace core”—includes more than 450 private sector firms operating directly within the State’s four military aviation facilities and smaller private companies with a portion of their operations supporting the aviation and aerospace industries.

In 2014, the inaugural conference drew approximately 400 attendees. Organizers anticipate an attendance increase with this year’s expansion to a two-day event and more companies participating as exhibitors to demonstrate their products and services.

Registration and sponsorship information may be found at http://saeu.sc.edu/reg/aerospace/index.php.

The updated agenda may be found at http://saeu.sc.edu/reg/aerospace/agenda.php .


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