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This week, NC State Industry Expansions (IES) joins the rest of the industry in showing our support for National Aerospace Week, an annual, week-long event that recognizes the immense contribution aerospace makes to America’s economy, global competitiveness and national security.

According to Select USA, the industry, in 2018, contributed $151 billion in export sales to the U.S. economy and generated millions of direct and indirect high-wage jobs for American workers.  In North Carolina, we are recognized as the 2nd fastest growing aerospace cluster in the US with more than 200+ aerospace companies and more than 400+ aerospace suppliers representing everything from machine shops to textiles manufacturers as well as companies that focus on helping maintain and repair both civilian and military aircraft.

We’re proud of the contributions made by our NC State University scientists, engineers and researchers in helping to advance the future of aerospace and defense. At the university level, we have folks researching and developing high-performance communications, networking and air traffic management (ATM) systems, including navigation and surveillance for both manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Our three-time NC State graduate Christina Koch is currently serving a nearly year-long mission  as a flight engineer aboard the International Space Station. A North Carolina Space Grant supports STEM education statewide through student scholarships, startup funding and educational activities.

Closer to home, IES supports the aerospace industry in a number of ways. First up is the North Carolina Defense Industry Diversification Initiative (NCDIDI) created in 2017. The program is managed through a partnership between IES and the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The goal of NCDIDI is to understand, support and respond to the needs of North Carolina’s defense businesses. 

In addition, we support manufacturers and suppliers with solutions that enable them to become certified to AS9100, an international Quality Management System standard for the Aviation, Space and Defense (AS&D) industry. AS9100 is built upon ISO 9001, with additional quality system criteria established by the aerospace industry in order to satisfy DOD, NASA and FAA quality requirements.

We’ve also partnered with NC Aerospace to help North Carolina manufacturers learn more about the aerospace market and how they can compete for a share of it with these free aerospace education modules.

Since the Wright Brothers and the dawn of flight, the contribution North Carolina has made to aerospace is monumental. IES is proud to join in this celebration and wish the entire industry a Happy National Aerospace Week.

About the Author

Teresa Bradford serves in a dual role as marketing director for NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). In her current role at IES, the extension service of NC State’s College of Engineering, Teresa directs all external and internal marketing communications and provides oversight of the North Carolina Awards for Excellence (NCAfE) program. She serves in a similar role for NCMEP, the official representative of the MEP National Network™ and NIST MEP in North Carolina. NCMEP is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to NC manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing NC manufacturing.