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Making Connections

PMBC Aerospace Summit proves to be catalyst for Michigan businesses

They came to connect.

And connect they did.

After a full day of meetings at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, many of the 430 Michigan businesses in attendance at the Pure Michigan Business Connect Summit came away with key leads that could turn into contracts with many of the top global aerospace businesses.

More than networking, the match-making summit provided Michigan companies with one-on-one pitches with nearly two dozen large and medium aerospace industry purchasers from around the world, along with U.S.-based companies from California and Washington.

Since 2011, PMBC summits have brought together purchasers and suppliers in diverse industries, including agriculture, automotive, aerospace, manufacturing and energy. The match-making gatherings have facilitated $5.73 billion in revenue for Michigan companies, while creating or retaining 27,941 jobs.

Aerospace is among the state’s emerging industries, and the summit provided a cost-effective boost to companies’ business development outreach.

“We connect buyers and sellers and help them grow, which leads to more work and jobs in Michigan,” said Gov. Rick Snyder, who gave the keynote address and presented Seattle-based Boeing Research and Technology with the first PMBC Supply Chain Achievement Award at Wednesday’s (Feb. 21) summit.

“Boeing has been one of our longest collaborators, and we want to recognize their contributions to our state’s supply chain and celebrate the partnership forged over the life of the PMBC program,” said Snyder, who delivered the keynote address at the matchmaking summit, met with more than 20 global purchasers, and participated in a panel discussion on emerging trends in the aerospace industry.

To date, Boeing has awarded more than 500 purchase orders totaling more than $15 million to Michigan companies. Liberty Tool of Sterling Heights received the 2015 Boeing Excellence Award as a top Boeing supplier.

Since 2013, PMBC has worked with Boeing on more than 15 occasions. Each year, Boeing hosts Michigan suppliers at their Seattle facilities, where state businesses gain a first-hand understanding of Boeing’s needs through meeting directly with Boeing purchasers and engineers.

Eva Armitage, manager, American Industrial Painting, was among the Michigan businesses at the summit. The former collision facility has shifted its focus to the emerging aerospace opportunities. “We have the staffing and facilities (spray booth) to work on engine components. We’ve been in automotive and it’s not a far reach to incorporate aerospace into our business.”

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers survey conducted in 2017, Michigan ranks second as most attractive state for aerospace manufacturing and R&D facilities based on operating costs, taxes, industry size, talent, and education attainment.

“As long as there’s a need in the marketplace, Michigan has a business that can provide a solution to it,” said PMBC Director Ryan Michael. “That means they can grow and take their business to the next level.”

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