Monday August 23, 2010

Aerospace Hub: Creating Synergy

New Ohio Aerospace Hub Director Kerry Taylor says Ohio is ripe for a renaissance, and all it needs is a spark. The Aerospace Hub could be that spark.

Air Force veteran Kerry Taylor has been tapped as the first director of Ohio's Aerospace Hub of Innovation and Opportunity. 

Last September, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland designated the Dayton region as home of the Aerospace Hub, with the University of Dayton as the lead partner organization. In January, the state awarded a $250,000 seed grant to jumpstart the initiative, including hiring a full-time director.

Taylor was selected from a pool of 50 applicants by a committee representing the hub partners: the University of Dayton, the city of Dayton, CityWide Development Corp., Dayton Development Coalition and Montgomery County. A Montgomery County resident and 25-year veteran of the Air Force, Taylor reports to John Leland, director of the University of Dayton Research Institute.

"We needed someone who could hit the ground running in terms of having some general knowledge of the region and what's been happening here; someone who has knowledge of the aerospace industry and how technology moves through that industry; and someone who has knowledge of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base," Leland said. "Kerry has the experience, the confidence and the energy to take on the challenges that will come with the hub director position."

Leland added Taylor will bring the key aerospace players together in the region and help the hub's partners "create an environment where people will want to live, work, learn and play. Studies have shown that today's creative and entrepreneurial people are attracted to environments that are not bound by traditional work relationships and practices. That means we have to create opportunities for businesses and technologies to come into the hub, retain those businesses and ensure that the people who are part of those businesses will want to stay.

 "If we capitalize on all the creative, entrepreneurial and innovative energies we have right here in Dayton, we can position Dayton as a global leader in the aerospace industry ¿ and that means jobs for the Dayton region and Ohio."

Taylor retired from the Air Force in 2005 after a 25-year career focused principally on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Upon retirement, Taylor served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ¿ commuting between his Huber Heights home and D.C. ¿ and then as Human Intelligence Program Manager and Director of Business Development, respectively, for SRA International in Dayton.

Jim Leftwich, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition, said Taylor's strengths in leading and managing organizations will serve him well in the newly created position.

"Kerry brings to the table a deep knowledge of the Air Force and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, tremendous skills in fostering collaboration, and a keen ability to operate in complex environments," Leftwich said.

Leland said the hub partners already have generated nearly $5 million for two programs designed to spur economic development within the Aerospace Hub: a $3.5 million Ohio Job Ready Site Program grant to help convert office space in NCR Corp.'s former headquarters into a collaborative innovation center and a $950,000 Ohio Department of Transportation award for improvements along Brown Street near the southern end of the hub.

"We're also working to get GE to locate its new electrical power research and development center inside the hub," Leland said. "Now that Kerry is on board, we look forward to his executing additional plans to get the hub up and running."

Taylor believes the Aerospace Hub can spark creativity, innovation and economic development.

"Ohio is ripe for a renaissance, and all it needs is a spark. The Aerospace Hub could be that spark," he said.

Since June, four other cities have received hub designations: the Health and Technology Corridor Hub in Cleveland; the Northwest Ohio Scholar Energy Innovation Hub in Toledo; the Consumer Marketing Hub in Cincinnati; and the Biomaterials Commercialization Hub in Akron.

For more information, contact Pamela Gregg at 937-229-3268.