Industry Leaders Provide Thoughts on the SC Aerospace Conference

Boeing Mike Bunker

Boeing’s Mike Bunker addresses the audience at the South Carolina Aerospace Conference.

The  annual South Carolina Aerospace Conference was recently held in Columbia, SC. South Carolina Manufacturing’s editors recently caught-up with industry leaders to get their thoughts on the Aerospace Conference.

Steve Townes, SC Aerospace Chairman and CEO of Ranger Aerospace

“The conference had a larger attendance than expected! (525 plus lots of exhibitors) The general sessions and breakouts were all excellent and useful, and Governor Haley and Secretary of Commerce Hitt seemed truly thrilled with the event’s success.”

Ron Adams | Director of Sales, North America – East, Bodycote | Aerospace, Defense & Energy

“Doubled up this year with attendance and expect next year to be doubled again.

It was great to connect with a broader audience and exhibitors.

Thank you SC Aerospace!”

SC Aerospace Conference1

The 2015 SC Aerospace Conference drew a record crowd.

Jason Premo, Chairman of Premo Ventures

“This year’s conference was bigger and better than last year’s. I met so many valuable industry contacts that I ran out of business cards before the dinner.”

 Paul V. Kumler, KTM Solutions, Inc.

“Conference much better than last year. Optimistic that South Carolina is developing a strong Aerospace infrastructure. Very much enjoyed the technical breakout sessions. Good balance of business, technical, and education. This conference was a good use of time.”

Deborah Cameron, Director of Aerospace Initiatives for the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness

“Events like this Conference and Expo are important to connect not only the industry in South Carolina, but the industry in the Southeast. We had several out-of-state companies joining us today that learned more about what South Carolina Aerospace has to offer.”

Paul Witt, Executive Vice President Operations, Stevens Aviation

“The biggest take away I got from the conference was how large the aerospace industry is in South Carolina ($17.4 Billion dollar impact) and surprisingly how large of a presence the upstate has in this industry (38.8% of Private Sector Firms, the largest of the three SC Regions). South Carolina has quietly become one of the leading states in aerospace and  it is clear that we are positioned to grow quickly into the future. Boeing is the defining anchor for us but we need to get the word out that SC aerospace is alive and well in the MRO and FBO world as well and companies like Stevens Aviation have been dedicated to this growth for over 50 years. We have our work cut out for us but the momentum is going in the right direction.”

Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, Research Economist with USC’s Darla Moore School of Business

“The rapid growth of this conference reflects the rapid growth we are seeing in South Carolina’s aerospace industry,” “The aerospace cluster is growing at a rate almost eight times higher than the state’s economy as a whole. South Carolina is also outpacing its Southeastern neighbors in employment growth and revenue growth.”

Ann Marie Stieritz, President and CEO of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness

“Without a doubt, the aerospace cluster makes South Carolina more competitive. The conference and expo is a critical part of maintaining the state’s growing advantage by connecting companies with one another and with the support chain. The conference also helps to bring issues affecting the industry’s growth to the forefront, such as opportunities and gaps within our existing supply chain and K-12 education.”

Michael Brooks, Business Development Manager, O’Neal, Inc.

“The aerospace industries contribution to the economic output in South Carolina is $17 billion per year.  This is made up of over 400 companies that create roughly 100,000 jobs.  With the backlog of orders that companies like Boeing have, the aerospace industry will continue to grow in South Carolina for the next 20 years.”




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