Business & Economy

Aerospace agreement links Vermont, Québec

Vermont’s position in the corridor between the global aerospace hubs of Connecticut and Québec will come into focus Monday at the fourth International Aerospace Innovation Forum in Montreal.

The Vermont Aerospace & Aviation Association, a division of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, will be joined by nine Vermont companies and the Agency of Commerce & Community Development when representatives sign a memorandum of understanding with Aero Montreal, a strategic think tank for Québec’s aerospace sector.

Vermont’s contingent at the convention will be larger than any other American state at the international forum, according to a press release.

The MOU formalizes a loose working relationship between VAAA and Aero Montreal that’s been nearly two years in the making, according to Chris Carrigan, vice president of business development for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. The organizations will share industry information and business opportunities to better integrate the cross-border supply chain.

On behalf of their members, the groups will share access to seminars, workshops and webinars, Carrigan said. They’ll also participate in some of each other’s events, starting with the Aerospace Innovation Forum from Dec. 2-4. Aero Montreal is scheduled to appear at the VAAA’s Aerospace Supply Chain Summit on Jan. 23 at the Burlington International Airport.

The collaboration is not limited to information and hand-shaking.

Aero Montreal has been developing an accreditation program to vet industry suppliers. As a result of the MOU, Vermont businesses will be able to plug into the so-called Mach Initiative — increasing the odds that they will be able to sell products to government contractors and original equipment manufacturers.

Carrigan said the concept behind the MOU gelled at the 2013 Paris Air Show, the oldest and largest trade show for commercial and military suppliers. In a shared booth similar to the one arranged for the Aerospace Innovation Forum, six Vermont companies traveled to Paris with officials from the Vermont Chamber, ACCD and U.S. Small Business Administration.

Carrigan said about $3.2 million in combined sales came out of the Paris exhibition.

Of the six companies that attended Paris, four will be in Montreal: Liquid Measurement Systems, North Hartland Tool Corp., TeamITAR and Metal Flex Welded Bellows Inc. Five more will join the Vermont contingent in early December: Stephens Precision Inc.; MMIC; Superior Technical Ceramics; MSI Inc. and KALOW Technologies.

The more than 250 companies in the Vermont Aerospace & Aviation Association are a $2 billion industry, Carrigan said. Their functions include precision machining; maintenance, repair and overhaul; and landing gear, fuel gauging, sensors, sensing systems and electronics.

North of the border, one in 189 Québecers work in the aerospace industry at some 215 regional firms, according to Aero Montreal. In Connecticut, aerospace accounts for roughly 5 percent of the state’s economy, according to the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.

Vermont’s proximity between the global hubs, plus historical and cultural ties, position the state as a natural gateway for the North American market, Carrigan said.

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Hilary Niles

About Hilary

Hilary Niles joined VTDigger in June 2013 as data specialist and business reporter. She returns to New England from the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, where she completed her master's coursework. While there, she worked at Investigative Reporters & Editors and covered state and local government for radio, print and the Web. She’s been a researcher-in-residence at American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop in Washington, D.C.; a reporter and community radio program director in the New Hampshire; and, in Boston, a public radio producer. She studied English at the University of New Hampshire and documentary writing at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Maine.

Email: [email protected]

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