By Brian Leaf
ROCKFORD — Thirteen aerospace leaders hope the newly formed Rockford Aerospace Network will do two things: increase sales and create jobs.
“It’s not complicated,” Jeff Kaney, president of Kaney Aerospace, told 50 people who gathered in his company’s airplane hangar at Chicago Rockford International Airport for the network’s launch today. “It’s just a group of companies getting together to see their synergies, then going out and getting work.”
The Rockford Aerospace Network is part of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, a membership organization. The network is open only to RAEDC members, who pay $2,000 a year to belong.
The RAEDC says the 140 local aerospace companies represent an economic cluster, which, according to Harvard University, are geographic concentrations of connected companies, specialized suppliers, service providers and associated institutions in a particular field.
By banding together, organizers plan to share business leads that will help other members prosper.
“We want to increase sales for member companies,” said Kaney. “With that comes everything else.”
Kerry Frank, president of Balanced IT Solutions in South Beloit, is a charter member of Rockford Aerospace Network. She says her company, which writes software that helps airlines and aerospace companies track documents and training, has information it can share with other suppliers. And they have information her company can use.
“I go to a lot of trade shows,” she said. “I see opportunities that I can bring back to the network.
“I know this group can help each (of the companies) grow our businesses.”
The network’s first activity is a trip to Atlanta from Oct. 19 to 21 for the National Business Aviation Association annual trade show, where several companies will share a booth to meet prospects and hawk their capabilities.
“Exhibiting at NBAA will help raise awareness of our region’s aerospace strengths,” said Dan Bowman, Woodward Governor’s vice president of sales and marketing for aerospace/defense.
Reach staff writer Brian Leaf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-987-1343.