South Carolina is currently home to more than 400 commercial aerospace companies, reflecting significant growth in the industry since 2010.
Aerospace companies and experts from around the world will be in South Carolina in October for the 5th annual Aerospace Conference and Expo.
“The intention is to bring together government officials, academia and the aerospace industry within the Southeast to show off really how large and robust the South Carolina aerospace industry is and what an impact it has not just on our state but our region,” SC Council on Competitiveness Director of Aerospace Initiatives Adrianne Beasley said.
Beasley said the conference has grown from 350 participants and 20 booths five years ago to 550 attendees and a sold-out 55 expo booths in 2017. She said that growth reflects the increase in aerospace-related business in South Carolina.
“We’re seeing well over the eight-times growth rate to employment in aerospace versu. other sectors in the economy and we have more than 400 aerospace companies in South Carolina, just commercial aerospace companies,” she said. “So we’ve seen an enormous growth since 2010.”
“We really are seeing South Carolina become a hub,” Beasley said. “We have Boeing in North Charleston that’s growing every year and adding new programs. We have Lockheed-Martin in the Upstate that in the past couple months has been awarded a $1.2 billion contract to build F-16s.”
Beasley said companies that provide the parts and components to these plants are finding homes here.
“We have enormous supply chains that’s grown up around these original equipment manufacturers that supply the businesses,” she said.
South Carolina also is center to a regional industry presence, with plane manufacturers Airbus in Alabama, Gulfstream in Georgia, HondaJet in North Carolina and Embraer in Florida.
The expo also will feature a technical symposium in partnership with the University of South Carolina.
“They’re bringing in some really, really heavy hitters in the industry: Pratt and Whitney, NASA, Boeing, really large R&D facilities that are coming in and talking about the new technologies that we’re seeing in aerospace, which is incredibly important to that sector moving forward,” Beasley said.
The South Carolina Department of Commerce also organizes a business-to-business matchmaking event at the expo.
The South Carolina Aerospace Conference and Expo will be October 9-10 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Click here for more information or to register.
Columbia native Charles Bolden, a former astronaut who served as the 12th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is the keynote speaker.