This year’s ACM Workforce Opportunity Fair & Trade Show at the Connecticut Convention Center was a great success! Eighty-eight member firms, six local colleges and over 600 students gathered to promote and explore careers in the aerospace industry. Aero Gear’s team was excited to have the opportunity to speak with local high school and middle school students about careers in manufacturing and to help break through stereotypes of the past and introduce them to modern manufacturing.
In addition to fostering the skilled workforce of tomorrow, the tradeshow’s afternoon events encouraged networking and strengthening the manufacturing supply chain here in Connecticut and southwestern Massachusetts, also known as The World’s Aerospace Alley!®. Visitors to the show, including prime contractors Airbus, Boeing, GE Aviation, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky and UTAS, were able to see the broad capabilities that this unique group has to offer.
This year’s show featured addresses from ACM’s Executive Director, Paul Murphy and President, Pedro Soto, CT Dept of Economic & Community Development Commissioner, Catherine Smith and a spotlight presentation by Airbus’s Head of Strategic Sourcing Support, Guiseppe Marcheschi and Sourcing Manager Quentin Mounes, on the current industry outlook and business projections.
Aero Gear was proud to participate in this wonderful event and are looking forward to next year!
Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith joined over 50 VIP guests for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration on June 12th at Aero Gear in Windsor. Aero Gear founder Doug Rose welcomed suppliers, local leaders and customers to tour the facility’s new 24,000 sq ft addition and get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the intricate process of manufacturing precision gearboxes for jet engines.
Smith recognized the commitment to the state that Aero Gear has demonstrated for the last 35+ years since its inception in 1982. She has worked in conjunction with Rose since 2011 to continually raise the standard of productivity and business in Connecticut.
“I am so excited to see Doug’s hard work pay off and celebrate the effort he has taken up to stay in this great state,” said Smith. “With all the other great industry leaders here, Connecticut has proven itself to be one of the pioneers in innovation and success for the aerospace industry.”
Rose explained the expansion was necessary to meet the growing demand for new commercial and military defense planes around the world. The gearboxes that Aero Gear produces and perfects on a daily basis are used by aircraft manufacturers Avio Aero, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky, Boeing, General Electric and Rolls Royce and UTAS. The expansion provides the company with approximately 100,000 total square feet to accommodate their 175 employees, a new lobby, conference room, offices, and manufacturing space for several new programs.
“We’ve come a long way from the small company we once were,” said Rose at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “Our growth would not be possible without the support of so many parties in the state, and most importantly our great employees. We are motivated and ready to take on the new challenges that this expansion will allow.”
Founded in 1982 by Doug Rose, Aero Gear in Windsor, CT has become a recognized global leader in the design, engineering, and manufacturing of gears and gearboxes for the aerospace industry. They specialize in fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Aero Gear has grown steadily over the decades, providing expertise and manufacturing innovation to clients such as Avio Aero, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky, Boeing, General Electric and Rolls Royce and UTAS. For more information visit https://www.aerogear.com or call (860) 688-0888.
There are a couple of colleges that have created their own manufacturing programs, including Westfield Technical Academy, UCONN, and Asnuntuck Community College. Aero Gear encourages these programs and has actually partnered with Asnuntuck Community College to help individuals who are seeking out a career in manufacturing.
Aero Gear works closely with a local community college which has developed a Manufacturing Technology program designed to help train skilled workers. Through Asnuntuck Community College, Aero Gear provides two or three scholarships a year enabling qualified students who are seeking a career in aerospace manufacturing to complete the program. Aero Gear was approached by the school to accept two interns this year.
The offered program by Asnuntuck trains students in both manual and CNC machining. Each student is taught about quality and Lean Manufacturing by combining classroom instruction and hands-on training with actual equipment. The students also complete an internship during their second semester, where they spend a few days a week working at Aero Gear. Upon completion of the one year program, students are offered full-time employment based on their performance level and knowledge while interning at Aero Gear. Over the past four years, multiple employees have been hired after completing the program, with approximately 15 working here at the time.
Along with the college programs, many high schools and even junior schools are starting to expose children and young adults to the possibility of pursuing a career in manufacturing. The ACM Convention Job Day has also seen major growth in interest as more individuals are being made aware of the programs offered by colleges. Through these different revenues, the hope is to support the demand of manufacturing in the area, particularly in Connecticut.
Through supporting local schools and colleges, Aero Gear hopes to increase the interest of Manufacturing Technology. The expansion of sound education will boost the number of graduates, fulfilling the need for skilled workers in the growing field. Ten years ago none of these programs, or exposure to manufacturing, were in existence. Connecticut has come a long way, and Aero Gear is a player in helping develop an interest in Manufacturing Technology.
At Aero Gear lean Manufacturing is our processing method which requires continual cross-training and updating the skills of our people who staff our equipment. Through skill matrices of the operators, tied directly to our capacity planning system, we can identify the capabilities in each cell and help with our internal cross-training efforts. It is not only important to measure equipment capacity but also manpower capability which effects the machine utilization.
There are multiple ways we provide training internally. We invest in our employee training through blending our highly skilled people with those who are less experienced. We also provide learning opportunities through seminars or tuition reimbursement programs. Through the sharing of knowledge and experience, along with the dedication of our people to learning and improvement, ensures that Aero Gear will exceed the expectations of our customers. Without these well trained capable people, our latest equipment, and cutting-edge technology would be underutilized, and we would fall short of our customer’s expectations.
Aero Gear prefers to promote from within, thus we have had several technicians starting at an entry-level position who have come from our affiliation with local technical high schools and community college manufacturing education programs. They continue to progress and complete the cross-training matrices as technicians at Aero Gear (see figure 1) and have been promoted to key positions in critical areas of Quality Assurance and Manufacture Engineering. This training process ensures our commitment to excellence at all levels of the company.
Not only does cross-training and the transfer of knowledge improve the workforce of Aero Gear, and therefore our production, it also creates better career paths for our employees. Employee development is important, and we make sure to insist on excellence internally for that very purpose.
Our people’s capabilities are the result of years of investment in education to maximize utilization of the latest technologies. Continued investment in the development of new and experienced people drives the excellence Aero Gear insists on. Their dedication to being well-trained technicians keeps Aero Gear on the leading edge of our industry.
Aero Gear is excited to announce the expansion of our facility! We are growing and need to equip our company for the coming years. Our new addition of approximately 24,000 square feet will provide a brand new lobby, conference room, offices, and manufacturing space for several new programs. The addition is progressing in leaps and bounds to meet the projected end date of the first week in January 2018.
In trying to meet the increased demand of our customers, it became obvious that additional people and machines were necessary, and the only way to do this was through expanding our facility. Our Flow Line concept is based on providing the best quality, shortest lead time and reasonable cost by eliminating waste in the process. Only with new people and machines are we able to manufacture gears in an efficient process to meet increase in demand. Aerospace gearboxes are the “brawn” of the aircraft power system and require the highest quality precision engineering and manufacturing. At Aero Gear we have repeatedly proven ourselves as a leading manufacturer of complex gearbox assemblies for the global aerospace market.
The influx of new products means more employees are needed to fill the growth of the company. As we expand in employees, the office space increases. In order to provide them with an excellent work space, new offices will be a part of the expansion.
The expansion demonstrates that we are committed to the long-haul. It shows our desire for excellence both internally and externally. Each component added to the company – whether it’s a staff member, or a new space – is vital to who we are. We expanding to fulfill our tagline . . . Insist on Excellence!
The Paris Air Show is undoubtedly one of the most exciting events for us here at Aero Gear. Walking away from this year’s event, we feel excited and energized about our prospects in the dynamic and high-tech aerospace industry.
The week-long show held many exciting events such as meeting with existing and potential customers, suppliers and viewing the aircraft that we help build. Most exciting of all was watching the flight demonstrations as the state-of-the-art aircraft performed jaw-dropping aerial maneuvers for thousands upon thousands of spectators. It is an absolute thrill to watch aircraft that rely on precision engineered parts by Aero Gear, perform so eloquently in the air.
While working in Connecticut, it’s easy to get lost in our devoted attention to the details of the day and forget the greater impact of what we do. Through the Paris Air Show, we are reminded of the global aerospace industry and the importance of our purpose in manufacturing with excellence. Aero Gear sent two representatives to this year’s show, our Director of Sales & Marketing Lee Welch and our Sales Manager Richard Haydaz. The show provided new leads and insights into the future of our industry. It also allowed us to make several new contacts that will be key for growing our business in the future.
We are a company of today and a company of the future. We focus on each day, excelling in everything we do, yet never losing sight of the future. There are many great opportunities to come and we work towards mastering them in all due diligence.
We hope to see you at the Farnborough Air Show in 2018!
Aero Gear was recently awarded the recognition of “Gold Supplier” from our longtime supplier, LockHeed Martin Sikorsky Aircraft. This is the second year in a row that LockHeed Martin Sikorsky Aircraft has chosen Aero Gear for such a prominent award. Gaining the “Gold Supplier” status showcases our commitment to continued excellence through our consistency, reliability, and our resourcefulness when it comes to engineering aerospace solutions for our customers. The results speak for themselves when it comes to our people, who are highly trained and work together as a team. It all starts with each and every employees’ dedication to Aero Gear’s mission statement:
To engineer and Manufacture the World’s Finest Aerospace Gears and Gearbox Assemblies
Lockheed Martin Sikorsky is not the only client to recognize our superior product development and support service. Amongst others, UTC has awarded Aero Gear the rank of Gold Supplier as well. Aero Gear will continue to work hard to maintain this prestigious status from our highly valued supplier of LockHeed Martin Sikorsky Aircraft.
It is hard to believe that we just wrapped up another week at the Farnborough Air Show! As usual, the show was filled with new technologies, impressive aircrafts, and most importantly, new business opportunities. Each year we reap networking opportunities with existing and potential new customers – giving us the opportunity to meet the decision-makers, shake hands, put faces with names and pursue our strategy goal to supply product on the major aerospace programs.
A major part of our strategy when attending an air show is the team we choose to represent Aero Gear. This year our team was comprised of Lee Welch, Director of Sales & Marketing, Richard Haydasz, Sales Manager, and Steve Holhubner, Engineering Manager. While our sales team has attended all of the major shows in the past, this was the first time we decided to bring along an engineer. New technologies are rapidly changing in the industry and it is essential for our customers and potential customers we have the latest technological capabilities. Our engineering team is the core of Aero Gear. Without these well trained capable people, our latest equipment and cutting edge technology would be underutilized in our efforts to meet our customer needs.
While we always want to expose customers to our core capabilities, complex carburized/harden ground gears, this year our focus was on promoting our capabilities as a manufacturer, integrator, assembler and test of the several accessory gearboxes we produce.
Due to the increase of new engine programs we have recognized that there is limited capability in many areas of gearbox assembly production. We see the need to emphasize to our existing and potential customers our capabilities and open capacity in the assembly area. We see the need and we are offering a solution.
From a professional development standpoint, bringing an Engineer to the show was a no-brainer. When our staff comes to work every day in Windsor, CT – it can be very easy for them to forget that we participate in a massive global industry. Attending a show on this scale puts things back in perspective. We also wanted him to experience firsthand what the Aero Gear sales team does on a regular basis. He was able to interact with prospective customers and understand what technologies and expertise they are looking for.
After a long week of hard work meeting the customers, suppliers, competitors and other industry participants, we were glad to make our way back to Connecticut. However, there was great satisfaction knowing that the Farnborough Air Show provided us with new leads and new insights in to the future of our industry. We have returned excited and energized about Aero Gear’s prospects in the dynamic and high tech aerospace industry.
In our last blog post, we discussed the impact social media has had on our business. It is important to understand that before we decided to pursue social media, we had to look at our overall branding and messaging.
Like many other companies similar to Aero Gear, we had never invested the time or money on actual branding. We had a logo, a website, and would develop marketing pieces as necessary. For so long we relied on our reputation to build our client base. Little by little we began to realize that our customers were comparing us to our competitors – not just in capabilities and pricing – but in branding, messaging, digital presence, etc. We knew we needed to take Aero Gear to the next level if we were going to expand in to the global marketplace.
First step – we needed to develop a tagline. What message did we want to convey to our customers? What message did we want to convey to our employees? It took weeks of brainstorming and discussion before we agreed on “Insist on Excellence”.
We Insist on Excellence in every aspect of our company. From our products, to our highly trained employees, and our supplier base. We hold each individual at Aero Gear to a higher standard. As we discussed in this blog post from 2013, our people, products and performance allow us to live our tagline on a daily basis.
When customers come to Aero Gear they can count on us, they can trust us to do whatever it takes to get the job done on time. It’s about excellence in what we do, if you insist on excellence then Aero Gear is the place to come. .
We realize the tagline cannot be a gimmick, that it reflects the culture of the company, we walk the talk. This is not only reflected in our performance to our customers, it has to be part of our brand and marketing message. All of our printed material, our website and corporate videos must be of the highest quality and professionally done. All must be continually maintained to reflect our tagline message so that our existing and potential new customers understand that Aero Gear truly does Insist on Excellence.
Insist on Excellence, we continue to embrace it and instill it in our new and existing employees so that our customers know they can depend on it!
Here at Aero Gear, one of our highest priorities is staying up to date on current events and decisions in the aerospace industry. Last week, Forbes published an article about Pratt & Whitney entitled “Gamechanger: How Pratt & Whitney Transformed Itself To Lead A Revolution In Jet Propulsion”. While much of the industry has known about the development of the geared turbofan, it was extremely exciting to read about it in a nationally recognized publication like Forbes. Even more exciting for us, was the mention of Aero Gear as an essential component in the transformation of Pratt & Whitney’s business culture change.
If you haven’t had a chance to read the full article yet, you can do so here.
For the 10th year in a row, Aero Gear Inc. participated in the ACM Work Opportunity Fair & Trade Show which is held every October right here in Windsor, CT. The demand for new skilled workers is, and will continue to be, an issue that must be addressed to ensure the growth of manufacturing in Connecticut. The Workforce Opportunity Fair provides the ideal opportunity to expose our regional high school and middle school students to great career opportunities in the field of precision manufacturing, particularly in the aerospace industry. Thanks to the hard work of the ACM Workforce Development Team, attendance this year was yet again outstanding.
As oIMG_2253ne of the many companies represented at the fair, Aero Gear truly enjoyed the opportunity to reach out to our next generation of highly skilled workers. In addition to the fair, Aero Gear works closely with local community colleges to pursue those students who are truly interested in getting into precision aerospace manufacturing. Specifically, Asnuntuck Community College, now offers a program that trains students in both manual and CNC machining, and teaches them about quality and Lean Manufacturing through a combination of class room and hands on training with real equipment. As part of the program, Aero Gear provides an internship where the student actually spends time working with us a few days a week. Many of these students over the years have been offered full-time employment upon completion of this program.
The second half of the ACM Show is dedicated to showcasing our capabilities to customers, both from surrounding states, and the international community. Connecticut, also known as “Aerospace Alley”, has been a steady and growing supplier to the Aerospace industry for years. Exhibitors at the event frequently have the opportunity to meet and form relationships with international attendees – relationships that more often than not, turn into business opportunities. In more recent years, we’ve seen representatives from Sikorsky, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce, and GE making the rounds.
All in all, we’ll mark this year as another success at the ACM Work Opportunity Fair. We’re looking forward to next year, as the show is moving to the CT Convention Center because of increased attendance.
This will be our last blog post of 2015, as we start looking ahead and planning for 2016. We wish everyone a safe, and happy holiday season.
Did you miss the Pratt & Whitney Supply Chain segment on Fox 61 CT last week?
Connecticut’s Congressional members and the Governor express support for the aerospace industry in the state. Watch it now!