Jeffrey Mosher caught up with MEDC's Tony Vernaci, Executive Director, AIAM Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan reviewing his role at the MEDC as VP Global Business Development had him supporting the awareness of Michigan’s aerospace industry.
Their efforts really started to pay off and interest grew when people started to realize the significant opportunities in the aerospace industry.
In early May Tony had conversation with Governor Snyder ways we could grow the industry here in the state. I shared my thoughts with him on how an aerospace industry association in the state would play a critical role. As such…. The association must be run by the industry and separate from the government. It is a tripod model were the industry works with educators and the government to outline their priorities and a strategy.
AIAM work with multiple levels of the education system (middle school, high school, community colleges, technical schools and universities).
• Communicate where gaps exists in talent today, what technology is coming in the future that students need to be prepared for and the research the industry cares about
• Utilize our schools as a platform to recruit the best and brightest talent. Too much amazing talent flows through our schools and leaves the state when they graduate. We need to retain the talent! The other leg of the tripod is where we develop a legislative agenda for the industry.
• Inform our legislators in Lansing on the industry’s current economic impact in Michigan and help them realize the potential to grow based off future forecasts.
Boeing recently released a 20-year forecast estimating over 41,000 new commercial planes will be required valued at $6.1 trillion.
AIAM wants to bring as much of that business to Michigan as possible to grow our economy and create more and better jobs. There is absolutely no reason we can’t do it! So, the Governor responded by saying, “It sounds like a good idea, why don’t you go set it up”. I told him that was exactly my intention.
At the end of May Vernaci left his position at the MEDC and started the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan. It is a non-profit corporation and we have filed for our 501c6 status with the IRS. One of the first thing I did was recruited executives from some of our leading companies in the state to serve as the founding board of directors. The board is represented by small, medium and large companies: from different aspects of the industry and various locations around the state.
One of our great board companies is GS Engineering in Houghton.
They are already holding board meetings. Tony's looking to a great future, and a very exciting time!
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