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More than 350 industry and media representatives joined together in early December for AIA’s 48th Annual Year-End Events. At the traditional year-end luncheon Wednesday, December 5, AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey addressed a packed ballroom in Washington’s Grand Hyatt Hotel with a policy-focused speech emphasizing the importance of stopping sequestration before the U.S. economy falls off the fiscal cliff. Blakey hit hard on the fact that we are now down to the wire and Congress must pass a bipartisan resolution to sequestration, saying “The time for clever metaphors has passed. The time for real work, real negotiation and a real solution is now.”
(Blakey at AIA's Year End Review)
Although this year’s keynote speech departed from the usual recapping of sales figures and forecasting the next year, Blakey did highlight some key numbers, reminding the audience that the statistics do not take sequestration into consideration. “The U.S. aerospace and defense industry continued to be one of the bright spots in the 2012 economy,” Blakey said. “When we close out the year, overall sales are projected to increase by 3.4 percent from $211 billion to $218 billion, aided by strong civil aircraft sales.” Blakey also shared that the outlook for 2013 looks positive, with an estimated $224 billion in sales.
In her remarks, Blakey noted that aside from stopping sequestration, there are a number of important goals AIA has been working toward this year and will continue to fight for in 2013 to support and ensure stability for the industry. Blakey underlined the importance of Congress passing the R&D tax credit, advancing export reform to help level out the international playing field and regenerating the aerospace and defense workforce through the support of STEM education.
Blakey left the audience with the real question members of Congress should be asking themselves as the year comes to a close. “Whether a solution is found or not, we will have to ask: what message did sequestration telegraph to the world about our country, our commitment to national security, our commitment to economic prosperity and our commitment to the next generation of defense and aerospace innovation?”
The previous evening, AIA’s year-ender began with a colleague’s dinner honoring Dave Shea with the United Technologies Corporation-sponsored Lyman Award for outstanding achievement in aerospace communications. (Please click here to read the press release). Shea, who recently retired after a distinguished half century career – 29 years with the Air Force and 21 years in aerospace and defense industry public relations, most recently at Raytheon – regaled the dinner audience with tales from his career, including his work supporting the Air Force Blue Book Project researching the UFO phenomenon.
The award is named after Lauren "Deac" Lyman, a Pulitzer-prize winning aviation reporter with the New York Times who later had a distinguished career as a public relations executive with United Aircraft, a predecessor to UTC.
(Lyman Award Winner Dave Shea with UTC’s Marty Hauser)
Also, during the year-ender, AIA Communications Council heard a provocative presentation from Temple University Professor David Schuff about the impact of social media on our national elections. Schuff, the Director of Innovation in Learning Technologies at Temple’s Fox School of Business, has pioneered an index called TEMPO (Translating the Effectiveness of Media into Performance) that evaluates the effectiveness of various political leaders’ use of social media. Schuff explained how social media trends accurately predicted days in advance voter sentiment shifts in polling of this year’s presidential election. He also provided useful comments about the effectiveness of AIA member companies’ use of social media, noting the increased use of Facebook and Twitter in the aerospace and defense sector.
AIA Source: ashley.gudzak[at]aia-aerospace.org