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New alliance helping county aerospace industry grow
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
May 01, 2013 09:02 AM | 1402 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An alliance has formed to help Paulding aerospace businesses benefit from sharing information while recruiting more aerospace businesses to the county.

Paulding Aerospace Alliance formed in September 2012. Members meet monthly to share ideas about their businesses and the aerospace industry, and what opportunities they have.

Though each alliance member works in the aerospace industry they all work in different segments, said Paulding Airport Director Blake Swafford.

“Very rarely would they compete against each other,” he said.

Members of the group include Aerospace Fabrications of Georgia, Chattahoochee Technical College, the state of Georgia’s Center of Innovation for Aerospace, Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute, Rare Metal Source, Rotor Works, Top Flight Aerostructures Inc., West Cobb Engineering, Paulding Economic Development, Paulding County Chamber of Commerce and Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport.

The organization has helped the businesses by allowing them to work together on projects they would not have the chance to bid on without access to each others’ expertise. Money has been saved and earned because of the alliance, said Lewis Harrell, general manager of Rotor Works and chairman of the alliance.

“We like that it brings the local community together to bring growth to the county,” he said.

This has not only opened doors to new projects for the businesses, but they also will be able to find engineers and employees to hire through the two colleges in the group. Georgia Tech graduates more aerospace engineers than any other institution in the country, and Chattahoochee Tech is working to tailor programming for aerospace manufacturing, Swafford said.

“That’s the goal is to be able to inspire young people from elementary school all the way to high school to the aviation and aerospace industry,” he said.

The industries also have shared contacts with each other, and have shown Paulding Economic Development and the chamber what businesses to potentially target for locating in the county.

“We are all working on the common goal,” Swafford said.

Harrell said businesses have been putting in time and money to promote the alliance because they want to help grow the industry in Paulding.

The businesses range in size from 11 to 50 employees.

More than 13,100 residents are employed in the aerospace field within 60 miles of the airport, according to information from the alliance.

“Aviation and aerospace is one of our biggest target businesses in Paulding County,” Swafford said.
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