Sen. Paul Rosino applauded the legislature this week for approving funding to further boost the state’s growing aerospace industry. The budget included increased resources for the Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES) Program, which was created through legislation by the retired Navy veteran and signed into law in 2018.
Since being elected in 2017, Rosino has been a tireless advocate for the industry traveling throughout Oklahoma visiting with aerospace and aviation companies to ensure the state is working on the growth of this important industry. He has vast experience in the industry having been stationed at Tinker Air Force Base for nearly a decade where he served in Strategic Communications Wing ONE in support of their fleet of E-6B aircraft. He also was the Navy Liaison for several years with the OC-ALC and Boeing on all E-6 depot and logistics issues.
“The aerospace and aviation industry is booming, and with financial backing and continued support like this from the legislature, it has potential to get exponentially bigger, becoming the state’s largest industry,” said Rosino, R-Oklahoma City. “This adds to our arsenal of local, state and federal programs to support these companies which provide high quality, high paying jobs for Oklahomans while infusing our economy with a stable source of revenue.”
The ACES Program is a partnership of businesses, manufacturers, military installations, commercial aviation, educational institutions, nonprofit research institutions and state government working to address the needs of the aviation, aerospace and defense industries. The program, which is overseen by the Department of Commerce and a panel chaired by the Governor, focuses on education, training, research and economic development.
General (Ret) Ben Robinson, former Executive Director of Boeing Aerospace Operations, OK, praised Rosino for championing strong legislative involvement and support of the aerospace and aviation industry.
“Oklahoma is rapidly becoming the premier state in the nation for the aerospace industry,” said Robinson. “Senator Rosino is one of our strongest aerospace advocates, and we’re thrilled that he helped create the ACES program and was able to secure $1 million this session to fund our aerospace economic development group. This will pay dividends far in access of the $1 million investment. He was also very instrumental in new aerospace companies moving their operations to Oklahoma. We, in the industry, are grateful for Sen. Rosino’s dedication as well as that of other legislators and look forward to working with them and Governor Stitt in the future to further grow our great industry.”
Oklahoma hosts the nation’s largest military aircraft depot, airline owned maintenance base, flight simulator manufacturer and FAA Center. The state also has one of the nation’s fully certified space ports as well as several airline maintenance, repair and overhaul companies and over 500 aerospace supply chain companies.
Oklahoma’s aerospace industry is a $44 billion industry that employs more than 200,000 Oklahoma. The ACES program is estimated to further grow the industry to $50-$60 billion annually. ACES’ precursor, the Center of Aerospace and Defense Supplier Quality (CADSQ), provided a five to one or 517 percent return on the state’s investment and ACES is expected to produce even more growth for the state.
Robinson also noted that Oklahoma’s aerospace industry has been successful because of the state’s major research universities and career technology centers providing a well-educated, skilled and motivated workforce. He also explained that the Oklahoma legislature has passed laws supporting the growth of the industry such as the unique “Aerospace Engineer Incentive Act”, the only such public policy of its kind in the nation.
The ACES program has contributed to the creation of more than 4,000 new jobs through 17 aerospace and aviation companies that have already started or will by 2021. The average salaries of some of the newly created jobs span from $53,500 to more than $100,000.
Vice President of New Business Development Ray Ferreira shared Dow Aero Logistics’ appreciation of Rosino’s work on behalf of the industry.
“Dow Aero Logistics, LLC is very appreciative of Senator Rosino’s efforts to grow the Aviation Industry within the State of Oklahoma. His efforts to promote the establishment of the Oklahoma Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES) and AERO Day Oklahoma are enhancing the quality of conversation among both small and big businesses. We share with the Senator, his vision that the Aviation Industry should become Oklahoma’s No. 1 industry.”
Rosino thanked his state and legislative colleagues as well as those in the industry for their continued support and dedication to improving the state’s aviation and aerospace industry.
“I want to thank the Aeronautics Commission, the Department of Commerce and all of the companies, like Dow Aero Logistics, and industry leaders, like Ben Robinson, who have worked so hard with me to get ACES up and running the last two years,” said Rosino. “I also want to thank my legislative colleagues and Governor Stitt for their support. This is just the beginning. We must continue to develop partnerships and let the world know that the Oklahoma aerospace and aviation industry is open for business.”