HAMPSHIRE, England — The World Trade Center Arkansas hopped across the pond to showcase the Natural State’s burgeoning aerospace industry at the Farnborough International Airshow as part of a trade mission led by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
The aerospace industry in Arkansas is a vital part of the state’s economy. It was Arkansas’ No. 1 export sector in 2020, accounting for $1 billion in trade — nearly 20% of the state’s total exports. The industry also employs more than 4,000 Arkansans.
“This was an incredible event that linked up several vital economic partnerships between Arkansas and the international aerospace industry,” said Denise Thomas, WTC Arkansas CEO.
The delegation included the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC); Arkansas Aerospace & Defense Alliance; Jorden Bearden, who handles community and corporate affairs at the NWA investment firm the Runway Group; and Paige Jernigan, director of development with Heartland Forward, a “think and do tank” focused on improving the Heartland economy.
Established in the 1940s, Farnborough has been a leading exhibition for executive and government leaders to learn about industry trends and networks, according to AEDC. The four-day event generates an estimated $192 billion in business deals.
Major aerospace companies with Arkansas ties — Lockheed Martin, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and Dassault Falcon Jet — were among the 1,500 exhibitors and 96 countries attending the event, according to AEDC.
“We are proud to say that the aerospace industry thrives in Arkansas,” said Clint O’Neal, deputy director and executive vice president of global business at AEDC.
“The state’s business-friendly climate and strong workforce have contributed to making Arkansas an aerospace industry hub.”
The mission of the World Trade Center Arkansas is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services. The center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
To apply for funds, contact Trish Watkins, our STEP Grant director.
For more information and valuable updates, please follow the center on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to the World Trade Center Arkansas newsletter.