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Aerospace Manufacturers Warm to Southern States

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SME’s AeroDef Manufacturing moves to Dallas in 2015 Reflecting Regional Trend

(DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 11, 2014) – Aerospace manufacturers have an established presence across the South, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Bell Helicopter, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, and are partnering with SME to produce AeroDef Manufacturing Conference + Exposition, with Composites Manufacturing, which relocates to Dallas on April 20─23 in 2015.

The new location reflects the growing presence of aerospace manufacturing in the South, most notably the Southeast. Like the automotive industry, aerospace companies are attracted by the region’s low costs, generous state incentive packages and right-to-work laws, according to a recent report by Pew Charitable Trusts. Among the newcomers to the region are Airbus in Alabama, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. in Georgia and GE Aviation in North Carolina.

"Texas is a leading aerospace and defense manufacturing center. It's a natural that we're bringing AeroDef there in 2015,” said Debbie Holton, director, events and industry strategy for SME. “The event gives stakeholders across the region insight into what OEMs need, showcases transformative technologies and explores integrated solutions to increase productivity.”

States are clamoring for aerospace manufacturing businesses to boost economic development because it is considered an “advanced” industry with wages relatively higher to other industry sectors. Many states include extensive worker training provisions in their economic incentive packages, in some cases taking on most, or all, of the costs for workforce development programs.

It’s a strategy that appears to be working. According to Pew, other aerospace firms have recently expanded or relocated to the South:

  • Honda Aircraft Co. expects by the end of 2015 to add more than 400 new jobs at its R&D facility in Greensboro, North Carolina, which currently employs more than 750.
  • Rolls-Royce created a new aircraft parts manufacturing facility in Crosspointe Centre, Virginia, in 2012, creating 140 jobs.
  • Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. announced in 2013 plans to expand its "completion" center in Little Rock, Arkansas, that could add 300 jobs to the estimated 1,800 workers there.
  • Embraer, the Brazilian aerospace conglomerate, broke ground in Melbourne, Florida, in 2012 for a new technology center to employ 200 engineers and added 50 manufacturing jobs last year with a new hanger manufacturing facility at the Jacksonville International Airport.

SME’s AeroDef, with Composites Manufacturing, features keynote speakers and panel discussions on the most promising technologies, including flexible manufacturing and the digital tapestry; an exposition floor arranged by seven technology zones; additive manufacturing/advanced materials resource center; tours of regional aerospace manufacturers; and a comprehensive technical conference.

Registration for the exposition – which includes access to the exhibit floor, keynote speakers and panels – is free of charge. Visit to download complimentary SME technical papers on aerospace manufacturing, including the drilling and machining of composites and advanced materials.

For more information about attending, exhibiting or presenting, visit or call 800.733.3976. For the most up-to-date details, follow @AeroDefMfg on Twitter or join the LinkedIn AeroDef discussion group.

About AeroDef Manufacturing
AeroDef Manufacturing – Collaboration for the Future of Aerospace, is the leading technical conference and exposition for the aerospace and defense manufacturing industry. Produced by SME in partnership with industry OEMs, its mission is to foster innovation across the extended enterprise to reduce costs, expedite production times and maintain U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.

About SME
SME connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world. As a nonprofit organization, SME has served practitioners, companies, educators, government and communities across the manufacturing spectrum for more than 80 years. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training and development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME is dedicated to advancing manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skill needs for the industry. Follow @sme_mfg on Twitter and


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