UT Arlington, Texas A&M Partner to Advance Aerospace Manufacturing in Texas

From Lockheed Martin to NASA to SpaceX, Texas is a hotbed of aerospace activity. Now UT Arlington and Texas A&M want to make that hotbed even hotter—by collaborating to advance the state's aerospace defense manufacturing community.

From Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth to NASA in Houston to SpaceX’s first commercial launch site in South Texas, the Lone Star State is already a hotbed of aerospace activity. But now UT Arlington and Texas A&M have signed an agreement to advance the state’s aerospace defense manufacturing community even further.

The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and UT Arlington have signed an agreement to increase their collaboration to strengthen the state’s leadership in the sector, the universities announced this week.

Growing an already thriving sector

From left: Jeremy Forsberg, UTA assistant vice president for Research; Rodney Reddic, TMAC interim executive director; Rob Gorham, executive director of manufacturing initiatives, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and SecureAmerica Institute executive director; Monica Cortez, TMAC director of operations; Scott Terry, director of community and small business initiatives, SecureAmerica Institute; and Kiley Wren, TEES executive director of office of strategic business development, and SecureAmerica Institute executive associate director.

There are already 138,515 people employed in Texas in aerospace, aviation, and defense jobs, working for 1,739 establishments and driving $3.3 billion in total wages, according to the Texas Economic Development Corporation. 

And both UTA and Texas A&M have been doing their part.

UTA holds the cooperative agreement for Texas with the National Institution of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which provides the funding for its local affiliate, the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC). TMAC connects manufacturers with technology, contract opportunities, and competitive solutions.

At Texas A&M, TEES powers a public-private research collaborative called the Secure America Institute—which connects industry, governments, and academia to ensure U.S. manufacturing resilience, especially in the country’s defense industrial sector.

Applying advanced tech and workforce training

 Scott Terry, director of community and small business initiatives at Texas A&M’s Secure America Institute, sees workforce training and smart tools as key factors in moving Texas forward in the sector.

“Working with our strategic partners at TMAC will enhance the development of the aerospace defense manufacturing community through the application of advanced technology and workforce training,” Terry said in a statement. “By infusing smart manufacturing tools and processes into the manufacturing industrial base, we can solidify Texas’ leadership role in the global manufacturing economy.”

Both SAI and TMAC are working to build Texas’ manufacturing industrial base by implementing advanced manufacturing technologies and driving workforce training. Their goal: improving quality and delivery lead time for Texas manufacturers to bolster their profits and sustainability.

‘Boots on the ground’ support for sector companies across Texas

TMAC’s interim executive director, Rodney Reddic, believes the new agreement will bolster aerospace manufacturing across Texas.

“The partnership with TEES will allow TMAC to reach additional manufacturers across the state through the many workshops and seminars sponsored jointly,” Reddic said in the statement. “TMAC will provide boots-on-the ground field staff support for the delivery of advanced manufacturing technology services, cybersecurity services, and workforce training.”

Partnering with schools to create the aerospace ‘workforce of the future’

In addition to their efforts in supporting manufacturers, SAI and TMAC will collaborate to work with K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and industry partners to develop advanced manufacturing tech workforce training. The goal of this effort? Nothing less than “to help create the aerospace industrial base workforce of the future.”

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