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A growing partnership: Michigan Aerospace Manufacturing Association

November 21, 2016

Jason Lindesmith is a Communications Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service’s Great Lakes Network

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Earlier this month, the Acting Director of ITA’s Office of Strategic Partnerships shared how partnerships at ITA ultimately help American businesses while broadening the base of exporters around the country. I would like to offer one example of a budding partnership the U.S. Commercial Service has within in the aerospace industry – our work with the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturing Association (MAMA).

The aerospace industry has been a cornerstone of the U.S. economy for decades. In 2015, the U.S. aerospace industry contributed $144.1 billion in export sales to the U.S. economy. When companies up and down the aerospace supply chain are involved in exporting, it creates well-paying jobs all across the country.

ITA recently entered the second consecutive year as a strategic partner with MAMA. As with any productive partnership, working closely with MAMA allows our organizations to accomplish our shared goals while focusing on each other’s core strengths.

Finding shared value

When MAMA presents resources, tools, and synergies that help its members, they are likely to stay within the association’s fold. On the other side of the coin, the U.S. Commercial Service exists to help American firms, like MAMA members, export their products to ultimately strengthen the U.S. economy. As more U.S. companies find out about the U.S. Commercial Service, more firms can take advantage of our services to help them grow overseas.

We’ve accomplished these shared goals through a few key initiatives:

  • Infusing export education into MAMA events – By collaborating with MAMA on their upcoming events schedule, we are able to ensure exporting remains top of mind for their members. We make our trade specialists available to speak, meet with MAMA members, or attend their events so the agency has an ongoing presence.
  • Tapping into MAMA’s industry expertise – MAMA’s access to in-depth knowledge about the aerospace industry helps the U.S. Commercial Service, too. MAMA leadership or members now present at export-related events they may not have traditionally attended before our strategic partnership. This not only provides MAMA with increased visibility, but also allows a broader spectrum of Michigan companies to learn from the exporting experience of MAMA members.
  • Connecting our initiatives to increase exports – The partnership with MAMA is presenting new ways to connect aerospace companies with exporting resources. We are collaborating on an ExporTech program in 2017 that will be tailored specifically for aerospace companies. ExporTech helps companies enter or expand in global markets, where participants report an average increase in their international sales of $500,000–$700,000 after completing the program.As one final example, when organizers from the Singapore Air Show came to the Detroit area, we helped organize a roundtable for MAMA members to meet with them. Now, MAMA is planning to take a delegation to the Singapore show so its members can better understand the market there. At the Paris Air Show coming up, we’re encouraging MAMA members to take part by joining the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s space for 15 companies. Attending international shows is what often leads companies to first-hand knowledge of an international market, new sales channels, and ultimately export growth opportunities.

Our partnership with MAMA, or other industry associations around the country, helps the U.S. Commercial Service further our mission of broadening and deepening the U.S. exporter base.  It is just one example the many non-governmental partners we work with around the world. I look forward to sharing more results with MAMA in the future as we build on this positive momentum.

For more about MAMA, visit michman.org. For more about export opportunities within the aerospace industry, check out our latest export resources guide.

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