“Growing Like Carolina Kudzu”- Steve Townes on the SC Aerospace Industry

Steve Townes, Chairman of the industry’s SC Aerospace organization, and CEO of Ranger Aerospace, previews the South Carolina Aerospace Conference and Expo

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

This year, we are very excited to have Gov. Haley and Boeing heavily involved in the second annual Aerospace Conference. South Carolina’s long history in the industry was accented with Boeing’s arrival in 2009, and the sector has grown exponentially ever since.

All of us in the aviation industry appreciate the opportunity this conference provides to bring together state and industry leaders to discuss the positive future and upward trajectory of aerospace in South Carolina. Attendees can expect a high-energy event with stimulating presentations from national-caliber experts on a wide variety of topics directly connected to the aerospace industry.

The industry here is growing like Carolina Kudzu as the momentum continues and the aerospace clustering trend accelerates across the state.

From 400 aerospace companies and four U.S. air bases, the current economic impact throughout South Carolina is $17 Billion, and I predict those numbers will double in the next 10 years. To ensure our industry keeps up with such burgeoning demand, the board of SC Aerospace is promoting numerous initiatives such as Workforce Development.

The aerospace cluster in the Southeastern United States has become a global phenomenon, with Boeing, Airbus, Gulfstream, United Technologies, HondaJet, Haeco, BAE Systems, and many other giants having strong roots in the region.

In South Carolina, 400 companies in addition to Boeing are steadily growing a whole new segment of the state’s economy. While many of those 400 are small entrepreneurial companies, they are all creating jobs and investing for growth. Businesses serving a common industry naturally cluster in a geographic location, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing with aerospace in South Carolina.

SC Aerospace Fast Facts

Proactive leadership is crucial to promoting the industry cluster, accelerating innovation and growing markets. This large conference will be a “Gathering of Eagles” for the aerospace and aviation industry here in the South. The SC Aerospace Expo will help position South Carolina as a solutions-oriented competitor on the global stage.

In addition to Boeing, NTSB, Toray Composites, The InterTech Group, IBM, GKN Aerospace, Kuka Industrial Robotics, FAA, Price Waterhouse-Coopers, Fokker Aircraft, SCANA, SC Aviation Association, SC Dept. of Commerce, the SC Aeronautics Commission, the SC Council on Competitiveness, Ranger AeroSystems, Trident Technical College, the Central SC Development Authority, and USC’s McNair Aerospace Research Center will be major participants at the event. The industry’s annual banquet on the evening of Aug. 26, is hosted by the South Carolina Aviation Association.

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