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Nearly 240 Aerospace Industries Association member companies participated in the Summer Supplier Management Council Meeting in Hartford, Connecticut from August 14-16. The meeting, hosted by David Hess, Chairman of AIA’s Board of Governors and President of Pratt & Whitney, United Technologies Corporation, had a broad focus on the commercial side of the aerospace sector.
Throughout much of the summer meeting, discussion focused on the threat that sequestration budget cuts poses to aerospace and defense suppliers. In his keynote remarks, Hess took on the argument offered by some commentators that sequestration won’t happen and therefore, the industry doesn’t need to worry about it. Quoting the French poet Charles Baudelaire, Hess said, “The greatest trick the devil every played was convincing the world that he did not exist.” In her State of the Industry remarks, AIA’s President and CEO Marion C. Blakey added, “Suppliers should be especially concerned (about sequestration). Seventy percent of federal defense purchasing dollars ripple down the supply chain to small businesses and suppliers. Three quarters of defense-related manufacturing jobs are at supply chain firms.”
Blakey urged meeting participants to encourage their employees to meet with members of Congress or their staffs during the remainder of the summer congressional recess about the need to repeal sequestration. She also encouraged the companies’ leaders to participate in the Supplier Management Council’s upcoming fall meeting in Washington, DC from September 17-19 at the Hyatt Washington on Capitol Hill. The Fall Supplier Management Council Meeting and March to the Hill to stop sequestration on Wednesday, September 19, coincides with National Aerospace Week (September 16-22). The meeting will be used as a focal point to have AIA members talk to high level administration officials and members of Congress about the urgent need to repeal sequestration before the country leaps off a fiscal cliff.