Aero Gear Featured in Journal Inquirer Farnborough Air Show Article

“This is a very global industry,” Rose said of the aerospace business. “And you need to have global exposure to make it work.”

Our very own Doug Rose was recently interviewed for an article in the Journal Inquirer!  Doug, along with other leaders in the CT aerospace industry, discuss the importance of attending the international shows, and how the Department of Economic and Community Development is making it possible.


State’s Small Aerospace Companies Gain Contacts, Exports at Air Show

By Howard French Journal Inquirer

Connecticut’s big aerospace companies, like Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky, weren’t the only ones to make the trip to England’s Farnborough International Air Show.

Connecticut’s smaller aerospace suppliers — including AdChem Manufacturing Technologies Inc. of Manchester, Aero Gear Inc. of Windsor, and Flanagan Industries of Glastonbury — also seized the chance to spotlight their products and capabilities on the world stage.

Aero Gear President Douglas Rose said Thursday the trip was more about making new contacts and seeing existing overseas customers than signing contracts.

“This is a very global industry,” Rose said of the aerospace business. “And you need to have global exposure to make it work.”

Rose said the state Department of Economic and Community Development’s work on behalf of smaller companies trying to achieve a global profile is invaluable.

“We would not be able to do this on our own,” he said of making a mark at major air shows like England’s Farnborough or the Paris Air Show.

Ten years ago, he said, his company was doing little or no business overseas. “Now about one-third of our business is in exports,” Rose said.

DECD Deputy Commissioner Ronald Angelo said Aero Gear’s success from the state’s program is exactly what the agency has been aiming for in the nine years the program has existed.

“This year was a real leap forward,” Angelo said Thursday. He explained that after years of taking groups of smaller aerospace companies to international air shows, foreign-based companies have begun to recognize Connecticut as a prime source of high-quality aerospace products.

“We have major companies walking into our booth now,” he said of the growing recognition of the state’s aerospace industry.

The state has nearly 1,000 smaller aerospace suppliers, Angelo said. If growth spurred by participation in global air shows results in the hiring of two or three workers at each company, he said, that adds up.

Flanagan Industries Co-owner and Vice President Kevin Flanagan also said the state’s effort to boost the smaller companies has been a major success.

“Around the world now, Connecticut is being recognized as ‘aerospace alley,’” he said, which is giving businesses like his a major boost.

Although his plant employs only about 100 people, Flanagan said he’s been able, through the state program, to make contacts around the world. At the Farnborough show, for example, he met with Asian companies for the first time and expects as a result to be visiting one Japanese company this fall to talk about future business.

Like Aero Gear’s Rose, Flanagan said that when he started eight years ago with the Connecticut program, he was doing almost no export business. Now it’s at least 6 percent of his business.

AdChem President Michael Polo said his company signed agreements at Farnborough that should result in three new contracts.

One of the biggest advantages of the’s state’s effort to bring businesses like his to the air show, Polo said, is the number of major manufacturers in one place.

“They’re all there,” he said, making it possible to get orders and leads that otherwise would have required extensive and expensive individual travel.

Polo said U.S. export restrictions such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR, make exports difficult and lead smaller companies, including his, to consider establishing a facility overseas to make it easier to do business.

Still, he said, his company, which has about 50 employees in total, is preparing to add more workers locally as business continues to grow.

This year the state’s smaller aerospace companies at Farnborough were in a Connecticut pavilion, part of the state’s Airshow Exhibit Program, administered by the DECD in partnership with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc.

Overall, Connecticut companies have reported more than $300 million in sales generated from show participation, according to DECD statistics.


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