The 2017 California Aerospace and Aviation Days kicked off its three-day agenda of events on Monday, March 27. The annual conference is held at the state capitol in Sacramento to inform legislators, staff, and the general public about the importance of aviation to the welfare of the California economy and to raise the level of awareness of the benefits of aviation to all Californians.
Monday morning began with proclamations recognizing the industry’s vast contributions across the state. Senator Jean Fuller took the opportunity to highlight the importance of aerospace throughout California citing the annual $169 billion economic impact of aviation and 1.2 million jobs. As the Chair of the California State Aviation Caucus, Senator Fuller has continually championed the industry and remarked on Monday that “these industries deserve our continued support.” Following the declaration, Senator Fuller was joined on the floor by other Senators from the aviation caucus as well as industry representatives and members of the Aerospace States Association.
Tuesday included a delegation of distinguished industry representatives who met with legislators for an intimate panel on UAS policy. The conversation was moderated by Assemblymember Ed Chau and featured presentations by speakers from NASA and Tom McMahon from UAVSI. The afternoon session featured remarks from both Senator Fuller and Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi. The large audience was then treated to a series of presentations and discussions from Scott Willoughby of Northrop Grumman, Dave Korsmeyer of NASA Ames Research Center, Mike Elsperman of Boeing, Katie Qian of Orbital ATK, Brian Ferraiulo of Aerojet Rocketdyne and Rob Chambers of Lockheed Martin. During the session, Governor Brown also made a short appearance and took a moment to emphasize the enormous impact of aerospace in California as well as the State’s dedication to maintaining and growing aerospace. Following an afternoon break for meetings, the evening reception brought attendees together again to continue to connect and discuss the issues of the day.
On the final morning of the conference a diverse group of industry stakeholders gathered on the capitol steps for an exhibition. Legislators and their staff visited exhibit booths to learn from various organizations – including AMP SoCal – about the industry, important initiatives, and to discuss the ways in which aerospace and aviation can be further supported at the local and state level. As the day drew to a close, there was an unmistakable feeling of optimism and excitement about the future of aerospace and aviation in California. Next year’s event promises to build on the momentum and success of this year’s conference in order to bring together all of the important networks in California dedicated towards the expansion and support of aerospace and aviation.