CEO Stresses Growth During Dayton Chamber Of Commerce Keynote
In a keynote address Monday to the Dayton Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems said the company is committed to west-central Ohio. “GE Aviation will continue to grow its Dayton presence in a dramatic way,” she said. “GE plans to grow and attract talent to Dayton from around the world.”
Bolsinger (pictured) said the company is investing $17 million in capital improvements for its Dayton facilities, and another $50 million in its new Electrical Power Integrated Systems R & D center that will be operational next year. In the past five years, GE Aviation has added 400 jobs at its three Dayton plants, initiated construction of a new R&D center at the University of Dayton, and hopes the GE commitment to the region will bolster efforts by Ohio leaders to make Greater Dayton a test-flight hub for future unmanned aircraft.
GE Aviation is headquartered in the nearby Cincinnati suburb of Evendale, Ohio.
The new R&D center will be the intellectual heart and soul of GE’s electrical power business with potentially 150 – 200 researchers in the next five years depending on future programs.
The R & D center will position GE to pursue business for the next generation of planes, many of which will be unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). GE is a big player in this emerging market, providing electrical power and distribution for such UAVs as the Global Hawk, a surveillance plane used in Afghanistan. The use of UAVs is growing rapidly in both military and commercial aviation. The Teal Group predicts the annual $6 billion spend in UAVs worldwide will nearly double in the next decade.
Within the next year, the FAA will designate six sites across the U.S. as future flight testing centers for UAVs. Ohio is engaged in this important competition with at least 22 other states. “This will be hotly contested and will have long-term implications for Ohio,” Bolsinger said. “We hope that GE’s presence in Dayton will play a positive role in Ohio’s effort to become a future hub for UAV test activity. This is an opportunity to establish an enduring relationship between the FAA, Wright-Patterson, NASA and Ohio aerospace. Let’s make sure Ohio is part of the next exciting chapter in aviation history.”
GE has a sizable footprint in Ohio with 22 locations and 15,000 employees across several divisions – including the Aviation headquarters near Cincinnati – and the Lighting headquarters in Cleveland. GE employs 2,600 workers in the Dayton area – including three Aviation sites – and a large credit card operation in Kettering.