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Opinion: Aerospace industry takes flight in Michigan

Throughout the past year, a silent, brilliant and collective group has been working tirelessly to bring about awareness to one of Michigan’s best kept secrets ― our growing and thriving aerospace industry. From those in the supply chain to those educating our youth, the aerospace industry in Michigan is strong.

Michigan is home to nearly 800 companies in the aerospace industry and is a driving force for economic growth and stability. Michigan has consistently been ranked as a top 10 state in Aerospace Manufacturing Attractiveness by PwC with the high rating being attributed to Michigan’s “research and development in the aerospace industry supply chain.”

Michigan has long revered its dominance in the automotive industry, home to 81 global auto suppliers’  N.A. headquarters or tech centers and the top original equipment manufacturer’s in the world. While that alone is enough to put Michigan on the map, aerospace companies in Michigan are significantly engaged at various automotive companies and cannot be ignored. Due to the relative similarities between the two industries, the opportunity for collaboration has become abundant. The partnerships formed have fostered an increase in interest for the aerospace industry, as aspects such as the supply chain, talent and technology have similar qualities.

Not only has this helped increase resources in terms of talented employees, but it also provides physical resources to Michigan’s aerospace industry. This persistent cross industry collaboration enables the aerospace industry to thrive and grow a significant rate.

We are the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan (AIAM). Recently organized in 2017, our mission, vision and values have attracted the attention of aerospace companies from the upper and lower peninsula alike. We have found success by both nurturing AIAM as a whole and revering our growing number of members. Today we are nearly 70 members strong and growing every day.

We provide a platform for networking and collaboration among our members and leverage their skills and strengths to benefit industry related government and education initiatives. Our regular networking events, summits, and expos around Michigan allows the opportunity for more engagement from all regions of the state.

Two examples of the thriving industry in Michigan are Warbirds of Glory Museum along with Kittyhawk Academy and ThermoAnalytics. Warbirds of Glory and Kittyhawk are utilizing their facilities to honor the service of our military veterans through their work and talent development program, inspiring middle school to high school students to reach their full potential. ThermoAnalytics continues to create innovative technology right in Michigan’s great Upper Peninsula with unlimited potential for the industry.

By using their state-of-the art predictive modeling software simulations, companies can understand how products and systems will respond during various thermo conditions. These two AIAM members are investing their time and resources toward the betterment and growth of the aerospace industry and are contributing to Michigan’s pursuit of being recognized as the #1 aerospace manufacturing cluster in the nation.

Michigan’s aerospace industry is strong and the challenges associated with the industry are met with confidence. With a board full of talented, innovative leaders from the industry, AIAM has made a commitment to take Michigan to the top of the aerospace industry.

Our True North Values guide us toward providing what is needed and extending opportunity for the growing network of talent in our great state. We intend to work in tandem with our member companies, whether small, medium, or large, to reach the highest levels of innovation that more than meet the challenges associated with the industry. As AIAM’s president and founder, I am proud of the work we have done as an association and will continue to share Michigan’s best kept secret of our strong and growing aerospace industry.

Tony Vernaci is president of the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan.

Originally published by The Detroit News

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