State lawmaker group to focus on aviation jobs in Ohio

A state panel intended to bolster aerospace in Ohio will likely target workforce development and protection of military bases as top priorities, an Ohio lawmaker says.

The Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Technology Committee appointed or reappointed 14 members Tuesday to the 21-member panel for two-year terms. They represent legislative, academic, commercial and military backgrounds across the state, said Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, committee chairman.

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In the Dayton region, the panel reappointed Vincent J. Russo, past executive director of the former Aerospace Systems Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; Ronald Shroder, president and CEO of Frontier Technology, Inc., which has an office in Beavercreek; and Terrence Slaybaugh, City of Dayton director of aviation.

Gov. John Kasich reappointed John Leland, vice president of research at the University of Dayton Research Institute.

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The panel will meet to determine other key areas to target, Beagle said.

“We’ve taken on a number of initiatives,” such as workforce development, since the committee started in 2014, he said. “We’re trying to identify things and potential solutions.”

The state senator said he foresees two key issues staying in the forefront: Building an aerospace worker talent pipeline and finding ways to increase the value to the federal government of Ohio military installations, such as bolstering public-private partnerships.

That’s spurred in part by “more and more talk” about a potential new round of base closures coming from Washington, D.C., he said, noting the importance of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and other military installations to Ohio. It’s also home to NASA Glenn Research Center near Cleveland.

Along with Beagle, state Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, is one of two area legislators on the panel. Three senators and three House representatives are among the members.

The committee produces an annual report of findings and recommendations to state lawmakers on ways to bolster the aerospace industry in Ohio.

The state is the leader in aircraft engine production and is the No. 1 U.S. supplier to aerospace manufacturers Boeing and Airbus, according to JobsOhio.

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