Vero Beach, Florida—U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and U.S. Congressman Bill Posey today joined the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), hundreds of manufacturing employees, aviation enthusiasts, and local leaders at a jobs rally celebrating the significant economic impact of general aviation in Florida. The event, held at Piper Aircraft in Vero Beach, is GAMA’s thirteenth jobs rally throughout the United States.
“General aviation has been a big part of Florida’s history and economy,” said U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL). “The state looks forward to many more years of growth and job opportunities in the aviation industry.”
“A strong aviation industry helps keep America at the forefront of innovation and is critical to our local and national economic security,” said U.S. Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL). “Florida’s Space and Treasure Coast is proud to list among its residents the more than 3,000 employees who work these highly skilled, technical jobs to support the general aviation industry.”
“Piper Aircraft has long been regarded as a progressive leader at the forefront of aviation,” noted the company’s President and CEO Simon Caldecott. “We are honored to have the opportunity to help foster and promote interest in general aviation, with an emphasis on economic growth and career cultivation in Florida.”
A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study highlighted general aviation’s importance to the Florida economy. The state ranked in the top 10 U.S. states in terms of total jobs attributable to general aviation and in the top three U.S. states in total GDP impact of general aviation.
“With over 35 years and 800 employees in Florida, Embraer is honored to join the General Aviation Manufacturers Association in recognizing Florida’s contributions to aviation,” said Gary Spulak, President of Embraer Aircraft Holding. “This rally is a superb celebration of the highly-skilled local workforce that brought Embraer to Florida in the first place and has stimulated our expansion, especially in general aviation, throughout the state.”
GAMA Chairman Joe Brown, President of Hartzell Propeller, added, “As we celebrate general aviation’s strong economic and jobs record in Florida today, we also recognize the industry’s impact throughout the United States, where general aviation companies employ 1.1 million people and support $219 billion in total economic output annually. This includes not only those directly employed by the general aviation industry, but their suppliers as well—creating a powerful ripple effect that touches numerous segments of the U.S. economy.”
“Florida is a terrific state for general aviation and general aviation is terrific for Florida,” said Dan Schwinn, President and CEO of Avidyne. “This is a huge state from one end to the other and general aviation is a terrific way to get around. There are many airports that represent interesting destinations from Key West to Pensacola and a 12-hour drive (not counting traffic) between those points can be done in three-and-a-half hours in the slowest GA aircraft.”
“Business jet aviation in Florida is a strong force,” noted Wayne Exton, Group Vice President and General Manager of the Business Jet Segment at B/E Aerospace. “We provide excellent jobs and careers, in an environment of growth. We thank every single person who works to make general aviation strong in Florida and the USA. It’s a great place to be.”
“General aviation has truly been a game changer for our company,” added Gary Boekenkamp, Vice President of Corporate Development at Extant Components Group. “It has provided both depth and balance to our portfolio, facilitated job growth and facility expansion, and supported continuing investment in our community and state.”
GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce concluded, “With more than two dozen companies in Florida, GAMA’s members canvass the entire state and showcase the diversity of our industry—from small aircraft through large-cabin, long-range business jets, as well as rotorcraft, avionics, and fixed-based operations. General aviation manufacturers are proud to call Florida home, supporting their communities with highly skilled, quality jobs that give a significant lift to the state’s economy.”