Jobs Rally Showcases Aviation Impact in Michigan

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) joined the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and industry leaders recently at a rally celebrating general aviation’s significant economic impact in Michigan. Leaders from Avfuel Corporation, Duncan Aviation, L-3 Communications, and Williams International made remarks at the rally, held at Duncan Aviation’s Battle Creek facility. The event was GAMA’s 15th rally celebrating general aviation’s economic contributions in the United States since 2009.

“General aviation supports thousands of Michigan jobs, attracts economic investment, and impacts the lives of millions of Americans every day,” said Senator Peters. “An expanding aviation industry in Michigan brings an opportunity to build a skilled workforce that can compete with aviation manufacturers across the world, and with hardworking Michiganders at the helm, the future of general aviation will continue to be bright.”

“Our impact goes much further than the jobs we directly support,” said Aaron Hilkemann, President and CEO of Duncan Aviation. “Our aviation business also supports a lot of good jobs in our communities. Because most of our customers come from a great distance, they often stay in local hotels, rent cars, eat in our local restaurants and spend money in our stores.”

“What a pleasure to speak at the Michigan GA Jobs Rally to talk about our great industry and about Avfuel specifically,” noted Avfuel Corporation President and CEO Craig Sincock. “At Avfuel we like to say we’re not in the business of simply selling fuel and services; we’re in the business of connecting people, companies, cultures and governments from around the world.”

A PricewaterhouseCoopers study released in 2015 showed that general aviation in Michigan supports more than 23,000 jobs and over $4 billion in economic output annually.

“In a global aerospace industry of very large public corporations, Williams is a small, private Michigan company that has had an outsized impact on the world,” said Matt Huff, Vice President for Business Development at Williams International.

Stuart Mullan, President of L-3 Aviation Products, added, “The innovations made over the last 10 to 20 years have been significant and are the reason we have a viable GA manufacturing community today. Clearly, we must continue investing in technology to enable similar innovation in the future. That future is only constrained by our ideas.”

“General aviation in Michigan is wonderfully diverse, from maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities to avionics and engine manufacturers as well as their suppliers,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “Our rally today was a fantastic way to join with hundreds of general aviation employees, students, and other aviation enthusiasts to celebrate how general aviation is lifting Michigan.”