Transportation equipment, which is predominantly aerospace, was the largest Kansas global export commodity in 2018 with $2.7 billion worth of goods. The second largest commodity was food & kindred products at $2.5 billion. Although aerospace is predominately concentrated within southcentral Kansas, the supply chain and subsequent economic ripple effect is felt across the entire state, as this sector injects new global dollars into the state economy. This industry grew by 8.5% annual since 2009, as measured by GDP, despite tight labor market and trade tensions. One of the keynote speakers for this year’s conference is the President and CEO of Sprit Aerosystems, Wichita’s largest employer.
Speaker Highlight: Tom Gentile, President and CEO of Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.
Tom Gentile, President and CEO of Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., will share the trends within the aerospace industry, the passenger and traffic demands driving growth, and the innovation and advancement required to meet the demands and the increasing production rates. To support these trends and changes in technology, the expectations of our workforce have transformed as have the requirements for more automated and digital factories. In addition, the current environment is now a global one which has presented our industry and business environment as a whole with new challenges and opportunities for partnerships and resolutions.
Tom Gentile was named president and chief executive officer of Spirit AeroSystems in August 2016 after joining the company in April 2016 as chief operating officer.
Prior to Spirit, he served as president and chief operating officer of GE Capital, overseeing global operations, IT and capital planning. Before this role, Gentile was president and CEO of GE Healthcare Systems, a $14 billion diagnostic imaging business. He also served as president and CEO of GE Aviation Services, a $7 billion global enterprise providing maintenance, repair, and overhaul as well as spare parts to GE Aviation’s global fleet of jet engines for commercial airlines. Gentile began his career at GE in 1998, holding a succession of leadership roles across GE Capital in the U.S., France and Australia.