UP Aerospace Expo held at Michigan Tech

Published: Oct. 16, 2018 at 3:18 PM EDT
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Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan hosts the Upper Peninsula Aerospace Expo this week.

"It is a matter of if you want to be a leader in the industry or you want to follow the industry. We see the U.P. and the companies here as being leaders for the industry," said AIAM president and founder Tony Vernaci.

There are 600 aerospace industry companies in Michigan. Only 23 of those are located in the U.P.

Upper Peninsula companies lead in manufacturing what aerospace companies need.

"What we discovered is the U.P. has got some just fabulous assets that are contributing to the industry. So, our goal is to unite this community throughout the state because this is what has contributed to the recognition that Michigan is a top ten state for aerospace manufacturing," said Vernaci.

That includes everything from circuit boards to thermal analytics to wireless technology. U.P. companies are also often more flexible to customer needs.

"Rather than have a large volume of customers, we want deeper relationships with strategic customers and certainly we live here. We live in Michigan so we want to do business in Michigan. We want to make Michigan strong and we want to be part of that local economy," said Todd Brassard, vice president of Calumet Electronics.

Growing the aerospace industry in the U.P. could be good news for the local economy.

"From the employment standpoint, whether it is an engineering job or working in a complex factory, a high-tech factory those are good paying positions. There are significant salaries that go into them, especially from an engineering standpoint," said AIAM chairman George Kiefer.

More information about the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan is available in the related links section of this article.