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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    August is for Aerospace! A Round-Up of This Year’s Programs

    August is for Aerospace! A Round-Up of This Year’s Programs

    By: Duane Hyland, AIAA Communications/Public Policy

    This year’s August is for Aerospace program saw continued strong support from AIAA sections across the nation, with 27 sections taking part in this year’s program, thus far. From office meetings to larger events involving the community, AIAA members were determined that all elected officials they could reach out to understood the importance of aerospace to their individual states and to the United States as a whole.


    As is traditional for each year’s A4A program, several sections hosted or co-hosted events, beyond office visits, which stressed the importance of aerospace to lawmakers. Among those sections were:


    Members from AIAA’s Orange County, San Fernando Valley, and San Francisco sections traveled to Sacramento, California, where they joined AIAA’s Ross Garelick Bell and Duane Hyland, for AIAA’s “California Aerospace Days.” Over the course of the two day event, which included a panel discussion on the future of California’s aerospace industry, members visited with several California lawmakers to urge them to take steps necessary to protect California’s aerospace industry from other states which are aggressively courting businesses within California to leave.


    DE-SectionMembers-and-RepAndyHarris-MD-250pxThe Delaware Section held a town-hall meeting with Rep. Andy Harris, M.D. (Md-1), during which Rep. Harris was able to tour ATK’s Elkton, Md., facility. After the tour, Rep. Harris met with ATK employees and Delaware section members, discussing ‘issues of defense spending, the federal deficit, the affordable healthcare act, and future of human spaceflight.” (Image: Tim Donnelly, AIAA Delaware Section, with Congressman Andy Harris (MD-1)


    The Long Island section teamed up with the Air Force Association to host Air Force Week on the Intrepid. Long Island section member Frank Hayes met with the Honorable Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, and several New York Congressman, to discuss the importance of aerospace to our nation.


    SWNJSectionMembers-and-RepFrankLoBiondo-NJ-250pxThe Southern New Jersey section hosted Congressman Frank LoBiondo at a section gathering, where Congressman LoBiondo was able to meet with section members and discuss a wide range of aerospace issues. (Image: Members of the Southern New Jersey Section with Congressman Frank LoBiondo (NJ – 2 )


    The Twin Cities section teamed up with AirSpace Minnesota to help sponsor Minnesota Aerospace & Aviation Week, highlighting Minnesota’s aerospace industry, and the importance of that industry to Minnesota, to numerous state and federal legislators and decision makers.


    The Southwest Texas Section hosted Congressman Lamar Smith, along with retired astronaut Charlie Duke, to speak about the importance of aerospace to students attending a section sponsored rocket launch competition. Thomas Moore, of the Southwest Texas Section, also travelled to Washington, D.C., to take part in an AIAA panel for the Senate on STEM Visas and immigration policy.


    The Phoenix Section hosted “Changing the Game,” an event which featured a round-table discussion about the importance of technology growth in Arizona, and how such growth will push aerospace development. Among the items discussed were the types of public policy strategies that can promote aerospace in a positive manner, how to stem off funding-cuts for new technology, and how to work with federal lawmakers to promote robust federal budgets and acquisition policies for new technology. The event featured Dr. Mary Niemczy, Chair, Aviation Programs, Arizona State University, Dr. James Horkovich, AIAA Fellow, and Engineering Fellow at RMS Energy Systems; and Tracey Dodril, AIAA Phoenix Section public policy officer.


    WSU-Students-and-RepJimMatheson-UT-250The Utah Section had Congressman Jim Matheson in to speak to the section and to local aerospace leaders, from ATK, Northrop Grumman, and others, about the future of high tech jobs in Utah. Following the talk, the audience engaged in Q&A with the Congressman on a wide variety of concerns facing the aerospace industry. (Image: Congressman Jim Matheson (Utah – 2nd) with Weber State University students at Utah Section’s August is for Aerospace Event.


    The Pacific Northwest Section took a unique approach to the August is for Aerospace program, and held virtual training session for its members which covered the basics of grassroots advocacy – how to schedule a meeting, how to conduct a meeting, as well as a review of the issues that were being advocated. Members were then able to go out and effectively engage decision makers at both the state and federal levels in a series of meetings. Four members from the state of Washington and one member from the state of Oregon took part in the training and advocacy. Additionally, the Pacific Northwest Section has issued a modified version of AIAA’s Presidential Questionnaire to the state Democratic and Republican parties in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, to see where each party stands on aerospace issues. The plan to publish the survey on their website in October.


    In addition to the sections hosting larger events, representatives of these sections also took part in office visits with Congressional representatives: Region I: New England, Greater Philadelphia, Hampton Roads, and Mid-Atlantic. Region II:  Cape Canaveral, Carolina, and Tennessee. Region III: Dayton-Cincinnati, Illinois, and Northern Ohio. Region IV: Houston. Region V: Rocky Mountain. Region VI: Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. In all, 40 meetings with representatives and staff took place through these section meetings.