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Outlook for Defense Spending in 2018 with Rep. Womack. 

Steve Womack Official Portrait 112th Congress Hi ResWith Arkansas being home to a significant defense-industry that is continuing to expand on an international basis, many recent questions are focusing not only on the importance and necessity of defense spending within the state, but also consequences from a Congressional level. In talking with Representative Womack regarding defense spending, we shine a light on some of the current benefits that defense industries are or will be experiencing throughout the state, and some of the hurdles coming in the future. 

How are current Congressional actions related to defense spending benefiting Arkansas? To begin, the passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 58th straight year ensures first that the Department of Defense (DoD) and all of its components are fully authorized, and second, that Congress is conducting its constitutionally mandated oversight of our national defense.Womack stated, “One of Congress’ most fundamental duties is to ‘provide for the common defense’ of our nation. The bipartisan NDAA focuses on restoring readiness, increasing capability, and reforming the Pentagon to better prepare our country for the threats we face today and the emerging global threats of tomorrow. Congress must continue to support the men and women stationed around the world defending our great nation.”

The necessary increase in defense spending outlined in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 will benefit all entities in the defense industry, including Arkansas servicemen and women, Arkansas military installations, and the Arkansas Aerospace and Defense industry.

Concurrently, there are also efforts developing updates on the current appropriations bill process: defense bill out of committee and awaiting vote on House floor. “Providing for the common defense is a national imperative. Advancing this bill out of committee builds on the significant progress we have made in restoring America’s national defense capability. For the men and women deployed around the globe ready to fight tonight, this bill ensures they are properly manned, trained, and equipped to do our nation’s bidding,” Womack said. 

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Aerospace Trends for 2018

trend lineWhat can be expected in this fiscal year and moving into 2019 for the Aerospace and Defense industry? It’s a question on the minds of all AADA member companies. 

The consensus has been growth, as outlined in the following excerpt from Deloitte.com, which predicts that the “industry will strengthen in 2018 as revenues are forecasted to increase by 4.1 percent, doubling last year’s 2.1 percent growth. The recovery of global gross domestic product (GDP), stable commodity prices, and heightened passenger travel demand are likely to ramp up growth in the commercial aircraft sector in 2018.” Additionally, higher defense spending across the globe are likely to drive defense sector revenue growth in 2018 and beyond.

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Flying High with TruTrak

AADA TruTrakFounded in 1999, TruTrak Flight Systems is a leader and innovator in the experimental, light sport, and certified aircraft autopilot market. TruTrak introduced the first digital autopilot (and the now standard autopilot) servo for use in light aircraft. TruTrak autopilots are installed in a large variety of experimental aircraft, and are currently approved for installations in over 60 certified aircrafts. TruTrak was founded by Jim Younkin and Chuck Bilbe in 1999; by March 2000 they had produced their first prototypes of the DFC 250 and Digital Basic Servo. Andrew Barker, current President and CEO, was hired as TruTrak’s first employee in September 2000

As Barker gained experience and ownership of the company over time, he understood the feedback from their current clientele, and undertook the task of gaining approval to install their system in certified aircraft. About two years previous, the Experimental Aircraft Association catalyzed a more economical pathway to move experimental parts into the certified world. Barker said seeing this goal come to fruition was his passion. Thanks to Barker’s leadership, TruTrak has seen tremendous growth in the last 6 months, having more than doubled the number of aircraft for which their autopilot system is suitable. Barker also said that it was all possible thanks to the Arkansas World Trade Center and the Arkansas Aerospace and Defense Alliance, helping to connect Barker with the right people. 

TruTrak prides itself in its customer service and support; it drives their positive business reputation. They work to improve and understand the importance of service after sale. Following up with clients to answer questions and check in regularly. TruTrak strives for the long-term relationship with their clients, regardless if they do it directly or not. Barker recounted how a now friend-once-customer has bought six autopilots for aircrafts he’s owned and built over the years. “We see a lot of that,” Barker explained regarding how when they install TruTrak into one craft, “they love the product and keep installing in their other aircrafts!”

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Hot Springs Summit Sum-up

AADA HotSprings Summit SumUpThe 10thAnnual Arkansas Summit went – to sum up – fantastically! This year’s summit, hosted once again at the Hotel Hot Springs, ended with great successes. The summit’s turnout showed high participation from member companies, considerable attendance from outside companies, positive B2B meetings, well-discussed and engaging info sessions, and an abundance of newfound networking connections. 

Buyer companies Lockheed Martina, Dassault Falcon, and Galley Support Innovations were present and hopefully made successful connections in expanding their supplier base, and establishing new contacts. Overall, through successful session discussion, members can more readily picture the upcoming opportunities for growth in Aerospace and the Defense sector within Arkansas, as well as the Mid-America region. 

This year’s summit confirmed a lot of people’s expectations and desires to connect and talk with other members; to learn and grow from experienced people within the same industry sector; connect and actively create new business opportunities. People are feeling positive about events, and expected growth in the coming years. One of the most anticipated sessions was given from Arkansas Economic Development Commission President, Mike Preston. His presentation laid out the continuing vision for Arkansas, and Gov. Hutchinson’s efforts that are being put forth to grow and expand aerospace plans in the state; this largely showing that the state government is committed to actively growing this sector. “I think the aerospace industry welcomed Mr. Preston’s comments to that regard, and feel solid about where the industry is moving. Going forward, with the help of the state, creating a more competitive and business friendly climate to keep up with our neighboring states,” AADA Executive Director Chad Causey commented.

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Building Up on Service

AADA NabholzBeginning in 1949 as a small construction company, Nabholz Construction is now a team packed with hundreds of industry-leading professionals that work together to serve their clients, as well as their communities. Far bigger than most would imagine, Nabholz is comprised of several major operations within its construction empire. Nabholz Construction would be the face Arkansans would recognize as responsible for building hospitals, schools, dormitories, data centers – larger, multi-million-dollar projects. While Nabholz is ready and willing to undertake massive projects (like hospitals), they’re also ready to work on the smaller construction projects their clients need too (including projects from $1K-$1M type budgets).  This type project is performed by their Construction Services Operations. Nabholz has one specialty operation called Nabholz Industrial Services that serves all Industrial Manufacturers nation-wide, installing and relocating machinery.  Their focus on integrity, safety, and service to each and every one of their clients is a key component to their steady growth and success. 

Current President of the Nabholz Industrial Services Operation is Ben Montgomery. After finishing his B.S. in Industrial Engineering from University of Arkansas, Ben found himself in and out of different aspects of the manufacturing and industrial industry before joining Nabholz 18 years ago. Since then, Ben and his team of skilled craftsmen and industry professionals has seen so many projects through from start to finish, that he confidently knows what type of quality service and commitment to keeping active relations with their clients is needed to remain successful, as well as connected, in our ever-changing business economy. While focused on projects within Arkansas, Nabholz Construction also has quite a large business footprint, working on projects from coast-to-coast, and border-to-border.  Nabholz will travel anywhere in the USA to perform work for existing clients.

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