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AADA YouSpoke WeListened PicThe Arkansas Aerospace and Defense Alliance recognizes that a trade association is only as strong as the involvement of their members. Recently, we surveyed the industry and were able to get direct feedback from Alliance members, friends, and partners, and dive a little bit deeper into what they believe is most valuable to our industry.

The results of the survey show that a majority of our members believe aerospace and defense industry trade show attendance is a service that AADA can provide to add more value to our organization and in return, make membership more beneficial. This survey has reinforced our belief that attending national and international trade shows will provide a benefit to our membership. We at AADA are going to work hard to create opportunities for Arkansas Aerospace and Defense companies to join together under the Arkansas Aerospace and Defense Alliance banner and attend national and international trade shows  Based on the feedback we received from our members, it is our goal in the next year to attend shows such as EBACE and NBAA.

Our AADA President, Gina Radke is one of those people who is hard at work to create these opportunities. “This week I will be meeting with the Arkansas World Trade Center to explore grant funding for export trade show exhibits and meeting with interested companies to come up with an outline for shows of interest and cost,” said Radke. “The findings of this meeting will be shared with our membership very soon, continued Radke.”

In addition to attendance at trade shows, our members provided additional feedback on other ways the Alliance can provide them with more value. The responses included support for promotion of aersospace and defense infrastructure to the industry as a way to attract buyer companies to do more business with Arkanasas and consider our state for any future expansions. In addition, would like to see more feature stories that highlights different members of the alliance, so that more people already affiliated know more about each other and what they do. We couldn’t agree more and will be exploring ways to expand our efforts in these areas.

Feedback and ideas from members are the creative force we utilize to find additional benefits for the industry. For instance, from the survey we see that our members want more training opportunities for the industry, such as economic development training to community leaders,  and AS9100 DER training.

We are going to make it happen. AADA is hosting a group training opportunity for Internal Auditor training for the ISO and AS9100 quality management systems. This training will not only allow companies to have their QA staff trained at a great discount, but be able to get them trained here in Arkansas.

Another way we would like to provide value for our members is through marketing and advertising.  We asked you where this advertising would best be targeted, and a majority reported that it would best be targeted through online, web, and social media resources. We recently hired Elite Market Solutions to provide monthly newsletters and social media advertising to highlight the alliance and its members. This will greatly enhance our ability to communicate with our members and with the industry at large.  

Lastly, we wanted our member’s thoughts on how we as the Alliance could most effectively sponsor educational opportunities within K-12. Responses from members included, but were not limited to: working with schools, counselors, and leaders to determine best methods, involving teachers, and providing STEM opportunities.

We are working on connecting aviation and defense professionals to career counselors, teachers, and school administrators. Our goal is to connect local industries to local schools and implement STEM programs, fairs, and other various educational opportunities.

AADA recently began attending Bryant High School’s Girls in STEM Night—a program that aims to get girls more interested in Math and Science careers. We couldn’t create a better opportunity to carry out our mission to create interest in the next generation of our workforce. We will continue to look for more and more opportunities to educate and train our future workforce.