Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln commended the general aviation industry for its contributions to the state economy at The General Aviation Jobs for Arkansas Forum Aug. 12.
The forum was organized by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), in partnership with Dassault Falcon and Hawker Beechcraft Corporation.
“General aviation is a critical component of Arkansas’ economy, and I want to help this industry continue to flourish in our state,” Pryor said. “It’s an honor to view the first-rate work product built by thousands of Arkansans and to meet these innovators in person.”
The lawmakers spoke before an audience of about 100 community leaders and more than 500 Dassault Falcon and Hawker Beechcraft employees, according to a GAMA press release. The forum was held in a hangar at the Dassault Falcon facility at Little Rock National Airport.
“Dassault Falcon and Hawker Beechcraft are terrific corporate citizens and significant parts of our Arkansas family,” Lincoln said. “Dassault and Hawker provide high quality, high paying jobs in our state, and the work their employees perform is so important to the long-term success of the Arkansas economy.” General aviation makes a $1 billion annual contribution to the Arkansas economy, according to a 2006 GAMA study.
“Aerospace is Arkansas’s number-one export and a key component of our economy,” Beebe added. “We are proud of the more than 10,000 Arkansans who work in aviation and give this sector a strong presence here, and we look forward to recruiting even more companies to further expand that presence.”
Pete Bunce, president and CEO of GAMA, thanked the lawmakers, along with state and local leaders, for recognizing the importance of the GA industry. Jeff Habib, senior vice president of sales for the U.S. and Canada at Dassault Falcon, and Shawn Vick, executive vice president of Hawker Beechcraft Corporation, also spoke at the forum.