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AADA Article Summit2017The 9th Annual, Arkansas Aerospace & Defense Alliance Summit was the place to be. Companies like Lockheed Martin, Dassault Falcon Jet, Gulfstream, CMT Inc, Mundo Tech, and JeĢvac Machine Inc, just to name a few, participated in this years event.

The Summit, as in years past, provides a platform for experts in the Aerospace & Defense Alliance. As Chad Causey states, “We want to provide them with the opportunity to hear some relevant and timely information on topics of importance to the industry”.

Some of the guest speakers included Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin, who spoke about Arkansas’ commitment to Aerospace, and Melvin Torres from the Arkansas World Trade Center, who delivered an informative outlook on the growing export opportunities in Latin America. Brian Provencher, Director of Processes and Methods for Dassault Falcon Jet, detailed some of the innovative technologies used at their own facilities. And, Mike Preston, Director of Arkansas Economic and Development Commission, talked about how the attendees of this years Summit are passionate about growing Aerospace and Defense in Arkansas.

Gina Radke, President of AADA, and CEO of Galley Support Innovation, echoes this sentiment by stating, “The whole goal of the Arkansas Aerospace and Defense Alliance Summit is to strengthen the aviation and defense economy here in Arkansas...bringing everyone together heightens that sense and allows for connections that are not made otherwise, and it really puts all of our focus... to impress on others that Arkansas is the place to do business if you’re in aviation or defense.”

One of the very unique attendees to this years Summit was the Gene Haas Foundation. A private foundation based in Oxnard, California, that provides manufacturing education and support. Recently, they partnered with Arkansas’ Young Manufacturers Academies to give Arkansas colleges $105,000 for scholarship funds to prospective

students. One of Haas’ representatives, Carey Beevers, stated, “I like that we can interact and hear more about the industry, and some of the vendors we don’t necessarily deal with. It’s very interesting.” Students from Arkansas school districts involved in the EAST program (Environmental and Spatial Technology Program) were also at the Summit to present their latest research and technology applications. These students had the opportunity to visit with representatives such as Carey and find out ways to further their education, possibly becoming one of those prospective Arkansas college scholarship students from the Gene Haas Foundation. This kind of investment in Arkansas’ future, is this kind of exchange that the Summit actively facilitates.

AADA promotes growth, inspires change, and is revolutionizing the way Arkansas does business. A spotlight of this achievement isn’t just seen in this year’s Summit, but is proof- positive in its evolution. The Summit first started in the Spring of 2011 as a venue allowing the Aerospace and Defense community to take part in business to business meetings.

In 2013, the birth of AADA, the new non-profit was a host to four members and the annual Summit. Now, in 2017, AADA has grown to host thirty-five members, and though the business- to-business meetings are still a very strong component in the annual Summit, the AADA has also grown the expo into a trade-show that includes an array of exhibits which showcase services and products for the aerospace and defense community.

It is through annual opportunities such as the Summit, the Alliance, and the various supporters of the Aerospace and Defense industry, that aids the growth of our state’s economy. Aerospace has become Arkansas’s number one export accounting for more than 1.8 billion dollars yearly, employing nearly 10,000 Arkansans, while providing long-term, sustainable jobs for it’s citizens. These facts alone give testament to Lieut. Gov. Tim Griffin’s statement, “There is nowhere better to do business than in Arkansas.”

This is what the Annual Summit is all about. As Causey states, “What we hope to do is help our members grow their businesses, which helps the state, and the state’s economy, and I think in those terms the Summit was a success.”