FAA Administrator Dickson Contributes to OKC Chamber’s State of the Aerospace Industry

State of the Aerospace Industry

Judy Hatfield, Vice Chair of Greater OKC Chamber welcomes Steve Dickson, FAA Administrator to State of Aerospace Industry virtual event

As the pandemic pushes every business to conduct business differently, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce is no different. On December 10th, the Chamber held a virtual forum reflecting the State of Aerospace Industry. Guest speakers for the event included Steve Dickson, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, General Arnold Bunch, Jr., Commander of the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and Brigadier General Jeffrey King, Commander of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker Air Force Base. The one-and-a-half-hour event was emceed by Judy Hatfield, Vice Chair of Military and Aerospace for the Greater OKC Chamber.

Administrator Dickson touted the efforts of the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center being the 4th largest employer in our state, as well as the Center receiving recent recognition as being one of Oklahoma’s Top Workplaces in 2020. Dickson talked about many of the ongoing efforts across the Center including some of the rigorous research occurring at the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (regarding studies of air cabin air quality, human factors of commercial space transportation, electronically enhanced weather systems, simulators that assist with egress, air traffic performance and forensic toxicology). He also talked about the reach of the FAA Academy and their ability to deliver training to all the maintenance technicians that keep our National Airspace System (NAS) safe. Dickson referenced the importance of collaborative partnerships like the work the FAA Academy is doing with Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection. He also mentioned the successful efforts of the Enterprise Services Center (ESC) in providing vital financial management to 37 different federal agencies. He remarked that ESC provides essential financial and Information Technology support to all nine modes across the Department of Transportation.

Steve Dickson, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration participates as a keynote speaker with the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce

Dickson reflected on the growth surrounding commercial space transportation and Oklahoma’s Spaceport. "Clinton-Sherman Airport holds a special place in my heart," explains Dickson, as he used to do touch and go’s there while stationed in Wichita Falls, Texas. Administrator Dickson gave a shout-out to Michelle Coppedge, Director of the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center for her successful efforts at the Center, helping to cultivate critical partners in the community especially with some of the universities, helping to increase the number of ambassadors in aerospace.

During the program the guest speakers could take questions from the audience, and Administrator Dickson was asked to provide three talking points that might help aerospace to grow in Oklahoma. He responded with 1) reinforcing the role that Oklahoma plays in providing the safest and most complex aerospace system in the world; 2) the importance of having safety with innovation; and 3) the need to explore opportunities in spite of today’s challenges. Aviation is approximately 5% of our Gross National Product and is a major driver in our recovery against this pandemic. The United States represents one of the most mobile societies in the world.

One of the virtual attendees asked Administrator Dickson, "How can Oklahoma support the FAA in fulfilling our mission?" Dickson responded by stating that the community is already involved and helping. He responded by stating that the resources are limited for workforce recruiting, and there is a great need for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and aviation space education (AVSED), so sponsoring youth is vitally important. Dickson announced that, "the sky’s the limit when it comes to aviation opportunities," but then he recanted by saying, "not really, actually outer space and beyond is the limit!"

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