Preliminary Findings from Alaska Rocket and Space Summit
ANCHORAGE-This morning, the Alaska State Senate is releasing its preliminary findings from the Alaska Rocket and Space Summit held last week in Anchorage. During the summit, Senators and Representatives heard from aerospace development experts, key members of the aerospace industry, and state, city and university leaders on what needs to be done for Alaska to capitalize on the nation’s current aerospace development boom.
The day-long conference included special presentations from Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello and Space Dynamics Laboratory Board Chairman Oren Phillips. Mr. DiBello stressed that Alaska should consider a “Cape-to-Cape” (Florida to Alaska) state transportation alliance that would bundle finance, insurance, and program launch services packages. Mr. Phillips detailed how Utah State University created a not-for-profit corporation, which commercializes research by teaming up with the Department of Defense and other customers seeking aerospace services. Both experts stressed how state support helped set up the necessary structure for their aerospace programs to become successful.
Industry Leaders from Lockheed Martin, Boeing, ATK, and Orbital formed a panel that discussed key elements to successful state-industry partnerships. They stressed the best ways to attract the aerospace industry to Alaska is to develop the state’s workforce through partnerships with the University, optimize the business climate by offering incentives such as tax credits aimed at encouraging employment, programs to improve the skills of workers needed for high tech jobs, and support for financing of critical infrastructure. They also discussed how improving the supply chain would ensure the benefits of boosting aerospace in Alaska are felt statewide.
University of Alaska leaders including UAA Chancellor Tom Case, UAF Geophysical Institute Director Bob McCoy, and UAA Vice Provost Research and Graduate School Dean Helena Wisniewski made presentations on what the University is doing to enable aerospace research in Alaska and what can be done in the future to provide quick response training, as well as formal academic and technical training.
State and city leaders representing the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference, the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, the Kodiak Island Borough, and the Municipality of Anchorage discussed how Alaska is getting ready for Aerospace Development. Military and Veterans’ Affairs Commissioner Tom Katkus and Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell also gave short presentations on how the military and the state are involved with these efforts.
Members decided that a follow-up meeting will be scheduled sometime in the near future and will include players in Alaska’s workforce development such as the Department of Labor and looking at how the University of Alaska can be involved in aerospace training programs. The meeting will also focus on identifying supply chain requirements, reviewing the role of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, and discussing if the Legislature should continue to invest state dollars in the industry.
Powerpoint presentations from the summit included:
If you would like to listen to the summit, click here.
For more information, call Tim Lamkin or Katrina Matheny in Senator Stevens’ office at (907) 465-4925.