Governor Scott Walker, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, U.S. Representatives Tom Petri and Reid Ribble, and Outagamie County Executive Thomas Nelson joined the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and hundreds of manufacturing workers, local officials, business leaders and aviation enthusiasts today at Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. for a general aviation (GA) jobs rally. The event was held inside Gulfstream Aerospace’s East Hangar adjacent to the Appleton airport.

“I’m proud to be a part of this event to celebrate and promote general aviation,” Governor Scott Walker said. “The economic impact created by general aviation is strong, and it plays such an important role in providing the transportation needs of individuals and businesses across the globe.”

“I am proud of our strong general aviation sector including manufacturers, like Gulfstream, that are creating and providing good-paying jobs in my district,” added U.S. Representative Reid Ribble, whose district includes the Gulfstream Aerospace facility. “The people of northeast Wisconsin are hardworking, honest people and it’s the reason that Gulfstream has entrusted them with new ventures.”

“Manufacturing is the lifeblood of Wisconsin’s economy and of the Fox Valley,” said U.S. Representative Tom Petri. “And general aviation manufacturing is a major part of that. Manufacturers provide good, solid jobs for thousands in our area, and today’s manufacturing employees are more skilled and productive than ever before. As the host region of the largest air show in the world—EAA AirVenture—I’m proud to support general aviation here and across the country.”

Nationally, the GA industry contributes more than $150 billion to the U.S. economy annually and supports 1.2 million jobs. In Wisconsin, GA contributes more than $3.5 billion to the state’s economy annually and GAMA manufacturers alone employ more than 1,100 Wisconsinites. GAMA’s members with facilities in Wisconsin include Gulfstream, Signature/BBA Aviation, Cessna Aircraft Company and UTC Aerospace Systems.

“The aviation industry is central to our local economy,” said Outagamie County Executive Thomas Nelson. “It is the engine that makes our airport hum and the broader, regional economy grow. In addition to bringing coveted, high-paying jobs to our economy, the presence of the aviation industry enables our airport to be a beehive of commercial, leisure and cultural activity. It is an industry whose value cannot be overstated.”

Greg Laabs, Vice President and General Manager of Gulfstream’s facility in Appleton, noted that the company added approximately 100 jobs in January. “General aviation is a success story in Appleton that we would like to see continue and get stronger,” he said. “The industry provides hundreds of well-paying jobs. In return, our employees design, outfit, service and support the world’s most technologically advanced jets. And they are just as committed outside the hangar, contributing to local charities, blood drives and food banks.”

GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce concluded, “We are fortunate to have heard today from these leaders in local, state and the federal government who understand the important role general aviation plays in transportation and in creating manufacturing jobs here in Wisconsin. They know how important it is to have policies and regulations that strengthen general aviation manufacturing and fuel economic prosperity, and we look forward to seeing many more jobs created in the years ahead.”