Thoughts from the SoCal Aerospace Expo

Justin Parker
VP, Operations and Marketing

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We are back to work after attending the SoCal Aerospace Expo in Long Beach last week. The conference was a great opportunity to sit down and network with other decision makers in the Aerospace and Defense industry and the speakers were top notch. Twenty eighteen marked year 2 of the conference and we imagine it will grow bigger and better year over year.

Top Local Leaders in SoCal Aerospace

The SoCal Aerospace Group brought together some top local thought leaders. We enjoyed a presentation about the current CA GOP by Vice-Chair David Hadley, we heard promising remarks about Aerospace and Defense in California by Senator Allen, and we received a top-level summary about the regional aviation forecast both in the USA and globally by Roger Marszalek of MHI, as well as information about tax regulations, military budgets, bidding, and doing business with primes.

However, more importantly, it gave us an opportunity to sit down and chat with other folks in our industry. As David Hadley said in his presentation, in California sometimes it comes down to “Electrons vs. Atoms,” (electrons = technology/software, atoms = actual stuff/hardware) and the legislature seems to favor the electrons. However, “the aero industry is absolutely a part of the innovative economy” (David Hadley) and California has benefited greatly from Aerospace. After his presentation, we spoke with people in the industry who also felt frustrated about the state of the middle class in California as manufacturing jobs leave the state.

Then, Senator Allen joined us and spoke about the defense industry in California and the over 30 federal military installations in the state (the most of any state in the country). He pointed out that the annual revenue for the state of California from Aerospace is more than the Agriculture and Entertainment revenue combined. He acknowledged workforce challenges and issues with top STEM grads going to big companies with brand recognition, bottlenecks with security clearances, taxes, rising cost of living, etc. But, still said that successes like that of the L3 facility in Torrance show that there is a lot to look forward to with government and aerospace working together to strengthen the California economy and middle class.

Cluster's Mission to Expand the Middle Class in America

Over lunch we sat down and chatted with some SoCal Aerospace companies and they were all excited to talk about Cluster’s mission to expand the middle class in America by connecting talented, experienced professionals to important jobs within modern manufacturing. Many of the people with whom we met were Founders, CEOs, and some Business Development reps, and no matter their position they all groaned at the thought of finding the perfect Senior Tooling Engineer, 5-Axis Machinist, or high level Manufacturing Engineer for their company. They all recognized the struggle.

One of our favorite sessions was the summary of the regional aviation forecast by Roger Marsalek at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). He gave a great top level overview about the need for Regional Jets (RJs) and then explained the ways that MHI has made an all new “clean sheet” design for their RJs, making the engines more fuel efficient and the planes more aerodynamic. This presentation reminded us about the magic of aerospace and made us even more excited about the future of our industry.

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Published on
October 3, 2018