By Marjorie Gray, web content assistant

Bill Noland, Air Washington and Sue Bradshaw, Center of Excellence attend the Aerospace and Defense Summit in Seattle this March.

Bill Noland, Air Washington and Sue Bradshaw, Center of Excellence attend the Aerospace and Defense Summit in Seattle this March.

Air Washington sponsored three representatives at the Aerospace & Defense Supplier’s Summit on March 12th and 13th (held in Seattle):

  • COE Program Manager, Sue Bradshaw
  • COE Web Content Assistant, Marjorie Gray
  • and Air Washington’s Veteran Transition Coordinator, Bill Noland, Spokane.

The trio actively talked up the missions and services of Air Washington and COE.

The Summit was a global business-to-business event, where vendors promoted their services in booths that filled miles of rows at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

Representatives from aerospace and defense companies and affiliates signed up in advance for 20 minute appointments with the companies they wanted to meet with.

Our meeting appointments were with a mix of companies, from Washington-based manufacturers and suppliers with natural partner potential, to out-of-state and foreign companies who either produce products we are interested in (like Composites) or who wanted to know more about Air Washington and the Center of Excellence.

Many people we talked to were impressed that the Center of Excellence facilitates conversation between industry and educational institutions, to ensure that curriculum reflects the skills industry needs, and that Air Washington has implemented this training, which produces workers with needed technical and “soft” skills.

We distributed stacks of business cards and brochures. We were also asked to pass on information to Carol Weigand, Air Washington Project Director, and Mary Kay Bredeson, Executive Director of the COE, from people who are interested in setting up industry-education partnerships in their own states or countries, similar to what has been done by the COE and Air Washington. In between scheduled appointments, we walked through the aisles, talking to business representatives.

Bill was a tireless and inspiring proponent of hiring Veterans. Sue expertly explained the roles of the COE, and let companies know that they could contact us, if they identified skill sets that were lacking in job applicants. I told employers about the COE website’s Jobs System, where they could post jobs and gain exposure to community and technical college students. I also explained how they could use the Recent Program Graduates tool to search for program graduates by Skill Sets, targeting the dates they are set to graduate. I think we each agreed that attending the Summit was very productive. We were truly “disseminating” the news of the great work Air Washington and the Center of Excellence are doing. It was a great experience and I am glad I had the opportunity to network with so many industry representatives.