South Carolina’s aerospace cluster is growing, buoyed by the success of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner campus in North Charleston, which broke ground in late 2009 and began manufacturing the state-of-the-art aircraft in 2011.
Eager to build on this success, the South Carolina Aerospace Industry Conference and Expo was held October 9 and 10 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center with the goal of connecting industry, government and academia—including the SmartState Program—to showcase opportunities within South Carolina’s aerospace cluster.
South Carolina’s SmartState Program is a unique resource for the aerospace industry. The state’s three research universities, Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the University of South Carolina (UofSC) are home to SmartState Endowed Chairs who reside within industry-focused research centers. The Endowed Chairs are experts in the fields of materials sciences, nanotechnology, future fuels, photonics, and innovation and commercialization—areas of keen interest to the aerospace industry.
Laura B. Cardinal, PhD, the SmartState Endowed Chair in Innovation + Commercialization at the UofSC Darla Moore School of Business, hosted a panel discussion at the conference. Joining her on the panel were Sam Tenenbaum, a visionary behind the SmartState Program; Laine Mears, PhD, PE, BMW SmartState Endowed Chair in Automotive Engineering at Clemson; and Roberto Evaristo, PhD, consultant. The panel discussed the resources available to the aerospace industry in terms of research, workforce and executive development through the SmartState Program.
Additionally, Cardinal hosted a booth on her Center, SC Innovates, detailing her work to prepare the new class of innovation and commercialization professionals.