Loudoun Economic Development focuses on eight strategic industry clusters that drive innovation and jobs into our area. One key cluster is aerospace, which is bolstered by Loudoun’s proximity to NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense, and a variety of prime subcontractors. Support of this strategic cluster brought Loudoun Economic Development Director Tom Flynn, Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York and Supervisor Matt Letourneau to the 2012 Farnborough International Airshow.
The event, which is held every other year in Farnborough, England, is the world’s preeminent platform for companies from the commercial and military aviation and aerospace sectors. Held over four days, exhibitors come from all over the world to showcase and demonstrate aircraft, equipment and technologies and to meet customers and suppliers.
Several large companies with a Loudoun presence, including Airbus, Collins Aerospace (formerly Rockwell Collins) and Raytheon, attended with the goal of meeting existing customers and gaining new ones. A smaller Loudoun-based company called Defense Technology Equipment used the airshow for similar purposes.
Over the four days, York, Letourneau and Flynn had meetings with a total of 18 companies, 14 of which were arranged by our sales consultant, Development Counsellors International. Of those 18 meetings, Loudoun scored nine leads and two prospects. The companies include those involved in software development, air frame engineering and aircraft manufacturing and maintenance. Many of the businesses expressed interest in Loudoun’s future metro expansion, citing its importance in accessing a workforce for any potential Loudoun locations.
This is the department’s second time at the airshow, adding to our first attendance in 2010. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell attended the airshow and asked the Loudoun delegation to join him in one meeting with a company. The Loudoun Delegation also attended the Virginia Governor’s reception and collaborated with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to invite companies to the reception.
Of the trip, Flynn said, “It was very productive, as we raised Loudoun’s profile with companies in this growing sector.” He continued, “The businesses we met with were very impressed by Loudoun’s technology-based economy, educated workforce and its proximity to Washington, D.C. and Dulles Airport.”