Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC), Central Oklahoma Air Force Association Gerrity Chapter #215, AAR Corp, Aviation Training Consulting, Covington Aircraft, Enid Regional Development Alliance, KRATOS, Oklahoma Defense Industry Association, Pratt & Whitney, and Spirit Aerosystems presented the annual AERO Oklahoma Aviation, Aerospace and Defense Advocacy Day with keynote speakers Gov. Kevin Stitt, State of Oklahoma, Col. Hall Sebren, Tinker Air Force Base, and David Seymour, COO, American Airlines.
On the fourth-floor rotunda, state leaders including Gov. Kevin Stitt, Speaker Charles McCall, Senator Paul Rosino, and Senator Adam Pugh welcomed the aviation, aerospace, and defense community with remarks about the important economic impact of aerospace and defense in the state. Tinker’s Col. Hall Sebren spoke from the podium regarding the impact of military aviation and the bases and installations in Oklahoma. David Seymour, COO for American Airlines concluded the main assembly with remarks about the American Airlines Maintenance Base in Tulsa.
Prior to the main event a session for young people interested in a career as an aviation technician was held. The aviation maintenance sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and the world. According to The Boeing Company’s 2021 Pilot and Technician Outlook Study, in the next 20 years, 1.2 million jobs are needed in these two categories alone. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics outlines an 11% growth rate for the aviation technician career with a median salary of $67,000 with the potential for greater than $150,000. Through vision and grit, Oklahoma has made the aerospace industry second only to the oil and gas industry in jobs and revenue. To grow the aerospace industry, and make Oklahoma the destination for companies to move, the workforce must be robust. Ryan Goertzen, VP Maintenance Workforce Development from AAR Corp. spoke to over 150 students about his aeronautical journey as a pilot, airline employee, MRO training manager, and college president. Goertzen outlined the different career pathways that await those willing to be a part of the safest mode of transportation in the world.
Many of the state’s top aviation and aerospace entities participated in AERO Oklahoma including the 137th Special Operations Wing, AAR Corp, Acorn Growth Companies, Ada City Schools, Air Force Association Gerrity #215, Air Force Recruitment, American Concrete Pavement Assn, AOPA “You Can Fly”, American Airlines, Aviation Training Consulting, BizJet International, Boeing, Cirrus Aircraft, Critical Components Aerospace, Covington Aircraft, Delaware Resource Group, Duracoatings, Enid Regional Development Alliance, Embry Riddle, FAA Monroney Center, Field Aerospace, Grove Airport, Jones PR, Kratos, Lufthansa Technik, Mingo Aerospace, NORDAM, Northrop Grumman, Oklahoma Aeronautics, Oklahoma Aeronautics Academy, Oklahoma CareerTech, Oklahoma City Airport Authority, Oklahoma Commerce, Oklahoma Defense Industry Association, Oklahoma Airport Operators Assn, Oklahoma Ninety-Nines, Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, Oklahoma Space (OSIDA), Oklahoma Transportation, Oklahoma Civil Air Patrol, Pratt & Whitney, Ready 3, Redeemed Flying Corp, Route 66 Flight School, Safety Training Systems, SE Oklahoma State University, Spirit Aerosystems, Tinker AFB 448 SCMW/SASPO, Tulsa Air and Space Museum, United Dynamics, University of Oklahoma, and Vigilant Aerospace.