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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

OAC AGM: Dark Clouds and Blue Skies

The Ontario Aerospace Council’s (OAC) 14th AGM and Industry Forum highlighted both the good and the bad in Ontario's aerospace industry. I think most participants came away with good feelings about the future, but also a healthy dose of reality concerning the work to be done to be ready for that future.

The appetisers and meal at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Conference Centre were good, and Ontario's Minister of
Economic Development and Trade, Sandra Pupatello, addressed the audience with an infectious enthusiasm that served as an aid to digestion.

Peter Hall (VP and Chief Economist at EDC) delivered a sobering assessment of the economic road ahead, but concluded on a theme that I heartily embrace: now is the time to prepare for the coming aerospace boom. Despite the pain being felt by all Canadian manufacturers and exporters, and the doom and gloom of the current economic forecast, the future for Ontario's aerospace industry is extremely bright, if only we are prepared for that future when it arrives.

How will you prepare? In the opening plenary session, Dr. David Bailey of the UK's Northwest Aerospace Alliance emphasized the importance of working together to create a world class supply chain. Sandy Munro used colourful scatological references to create a sense of urgency around the idea of lean design. I'm sure the other sessions were equally inspiring.

I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't remind you that sales and marketing should be considered in the mix of activities you need to undertake now to prepare your company for the coming aerospace boom. Run-time's
integrated marketing communications approach reflects the lean design and manufacturing principles espoused by all participanst in this year's industry forum.