Panelists talk aerospace, Boeing’s impact during event

By Matt Tomsic
mtomsic@scbiznews.com
Published April 26, 2012

For Boeing South Carolina employees, Friday’s 787 Dreamliner rollout will be one of the most emotional experiences of their careers, a former Boeing engineer said today.

“I can get emotional just thinking about that experience right now,” said Paul Kumler, who worked at Boeing for 17 years and is now president for KTM Solutions Inc. “It’s something else.”

From right to left: panelists Paul Kumler, Will Harton, Rebecca Ufkes and Tim Sinclair participate in the Power Breakfast event hosted by the Charleston Regional Business Journal.
From right to left: panelists Paul Kumler, Will Harton, Rebecca Ufkes and Tim Sinclair participate in the Power Breakfast event hosted by the Charleston Regional Business Journal.
Kumler and others talked about the aerospace industry during a Power Breakfast hosted by the Charleston Regional Business Journal. Kumler was joined on the panel by Rebecca Ufkes, president for UEC Electronics; Tim Sinclair of S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership; and Will Harton, vice president for Hawthorne Global Aviation.

The panel discussed the aerospace industry in South Carolina and the Lowcountry, including Boeing’s impact.

Kumler said Boeing has not delivered a plane outside of Washington state since World War II, and the company performed final assembly only in Everett and Renton before opening in North Charleston.

If Boeing follows its normal trajectory, Kumler said, the company will begin moving an engineering component to the Lowcountry.

“It’s a huge thing that’s happening here in Charleston,” Kumler said. “It’s bigger than just Charleston; it’s statewide.”

Sinclair said the aerospace industry is vital to South Carolina, and local economic developers are thinking about aerospace.

“The thought is more and more suppliers will be moving into the state, more and more authority will be pushed down to the Charleston plant from Everett,” Sinclair said.

Ufkes said UEC Electronics is part of Boeing’s mentoring program, which is a huge opportunity.

Ufkes moved here in 1990, and there wasn’t an aerospace footprint, so she did consulting for other parts of the country.

“It’s been full circle,” she said.

Harton said Boeing’s introduction will be beneficial to all companies because it raises the profile of aviation in the state.

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Added: 26 Apr 2012

After 26 years as a Boeing Program Manager and an executive at GE Aviation and BAE Systems, we moved to Charleston to start an aerospace consulting business and now have contracts with Boeing, the Air Force and the Navy. We will continue to see this sector grow in SC as the supply chain continues to coalesce around Boeing, Honda Jet, GE and other OEMs.

Dr. Jim Wasson