The largest aerospace business gathering ever organized in the state, the Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) Aerospace Summit, will be held on Feb. 21 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Michigan is the No. 2 state in the nation for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness, according to a 2017 study by PwC.
At the event, more than 20 global purchasers will be on hand to connect with 430 or more Michigan suppliers to the international aerospace industry. The summit will provide Michigan companies with one-on-one pitches to large- and medium-aerospace industry purchasers from around the world along with U.S.-based companies from California and Washington.
“The summit brings multiple buyers and suppliers together in one place for one day, saving business development teams time and resources,” says Jeff Mason, CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corp., the state’s marketing arm that administers programs and conducts due diligence on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund.
Since 2011, PMBC summits have brought together purchasers and suppliers in diverse industries, including agriculture, automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, and energy. The matchmaking gatherings have facilitated $5.7 billion in revenue for Michigan companies, while creating or retaining 27,941 jobs.
“Michigan is the ideal location for aerospace supply chain and engineering companies, and many of the most innovative and proven suppliers in the industry (have operations in the state),” says Trevor Pawl, vice president of international trade and procurement programs at MEDC. He notes nine of the 10 largest U.S.-based aerospace/defense R&D firms are located in the state.
“The aerospace industry supply chain has many similarities to the automotive industry supply chain with tiers of suppliers, original equipment manufacturers (air framers), and maintenance and repair operations,” Pawl adds. “The summit is a timely and strategic gathering that is considered a catalyst for economic growth in one of the state’s top growing industries.”
At the summit, purchasing companies submit a list of procurement needs. In turn, suppliers respond either immediately or through PMBC’s online application.
Global aerospace companies at the summit will include Aernnova Aerospace, Boeing Research and Technology, Enstrom Helicopter Corp., GE Aviation, Liebherr Aerospace and Transportation, and TAI (Turkish Aerospace Industries). Locally, companies like Detroit Aircraft, AirSpaceX, and Baker Industries will participate in the summit, as will the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturing Association.
Michigan’s aerospace and defense companies maintain contracts with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, NASA, among others. Defense-related procurement contracts and grants increased by 7.5 percent from 2014 ($2.8B) to 2016 ($3.0B), according to the Michigan Defense Center. A major attraction for purchasers and companies looking to locate in Michigan is the state’s diverse landscape of research-and-development facilities, and nation-leading concentration of engineers.
According to a PwC survey conducted in 2017, Michigan ranks second as the most attractive state for aerospace manufacturing and R&D facilities based on operating costs, taxes, industry size, talent, and education attainment.
In addition, Michigan ranks behind California and Texas in occupations in primary demand by aerospace industry; and, aerospace-related employment in the state grew by 36 percent from 2010-17, the fastest in the nation during that period.
In addition to organizing the aerospace summit, PMBC arranges tours for suppliers (such as Boeing Research and Technology) to meet Michigan companies. PMBC’s involvement with Boeing has resulted in more than 500 contracts and purchase orders worth over $15 million awarded to Michigan companies since 2013.