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Gov.'s Council Meets To Discuss Growth In Aviation

Carla Eckels

The Kansas Governor's Council of Economic Advisors met in Wichita Tuesday to discuss ways of increasing revenue and the global competitiveness of the aviation industry.

Governor Sam Brownback, state and local officials and several leaders in the aircraft industry discussed ideas for more than two and a half hours at Spirit Aerosystems.

John Tomblin, Executive Director of the National Institute for Aviation Research (NAIR) was one of the speakers who touted the number of quality engineers that are trained in Wichita.

"We're the aerospace engineering capital of the world by far," he said. "I mean that's what we do and so if we could just see ourselves we're the intellectual hub for aerospace technologies particularly airframes, nobody does it better than we do. Nobody."

After the meeting, Brownback said he believes there are some real opportunities in recruitment associated with airframe design and construction.

"I had not thought as much about NAIR being a recruitment tool, where we recruit off of NAIR," said Brownback.

"I always thought of it as a service we were providing and I helped to get funding for it federally when I was a federal office holder, strong supporter of it but that intellectual property and the unique space it is, looks like we might have a nice chance to recruit off of its attraction and that would be a good thing for us."

Additional speakers discussed the advantages of being able to train new and existing workers quicker than other places in the US as well as the low cost of living in Kansas.

Aviation leaders also discussed pushing for a better image of the state. Brownback said Kansas has to figure out how to brand itself.