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Hosting the Airbus Air Capital Supplier Summit


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On Monday, I had the pleasure of welcoming Airbus and more than 200 representatives from 114 aviation suppliers to Kansas' first-ever Air Capital Supplier Summit in Wichita. Suppliers converged on the world-class National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) for the opportunity to meet one-on-one with representatives from Airbus and other suppliers. I want to thank Airbus Americas Chairman Allan McArtor for co-hosting this great event, aimed at facilitating more business between Kansas companies and Airbus.

The summit was held on the heels of Airbus' recent announcement that the company not only intends to continue its partnership with Kansas, but it will expand its purchase of American-made components and services. Since 1990, Airbus has spent $127 billion with U.S. suppliers -- $12 billion in 2011 alone. Now the company is set to double its American investment over the next 10 years. We must make certain that as Airbus looks to contract with new U.S. suppliers, it looks to Kansas companies.

The purpose of the Air Capital Supplier Summit was to help meet that goal. Suppliers spent the morning learning about the supply-chain and risk management solutions practiced by Tier I companies, as well as their fellow Tier II and III suppliers, and were able to ask questions of panelists. In the afternoon, small- and mid-size suppliers met one-on-one with Airbus procurement executives and procurement representatives from other companies, including Spirit AeroSystems, Valent and Honeywell.

The Kansans I met with at the summit are forward thinking, innovative and focused on providing Airbus with the solutions and tools the company needs for continued success. I extend my sincerest thanks to the regional suppliers and the business men and women who responded with great enthusiasm to the summit. Their participation made certain that the best of Wichita's aerospace and technology industries were on full display at NCAT. In fact, the sell-out event was so successful that Airbus has already agreed to join me in co-hosting a second summit in Kansas in the near future.

Thanks to the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce for helping make the event possible. Thanks also to Suzie Ahlstrand, Tammy Nolan and Wichita Chamber President Walter Berry for the efforts of their team. Finally, thanks to Dr. John Tomblin and his colleagues at the National Institute for Aviation Research and the Wichita Aero Club as well as Patrick Tuttle and the local elected officials who appeared at the event, for all of their support in making this a great day for Kansas aviation.

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