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Baucus: Montana Manufacturers Take Center Stage at GE Aviation Symposium Senator Works to Connect Montana Businesses with New Tools to Grow at Jobs Workshop

Montana’s senior U.S. Senator applauded Montana businesses converging in Billings today for the GE Aviation Small Business Supplier Symposium he worked to bring to the state. The symposium is designed to give Montana manufacturers an opportunity to build relationships and do business with GE Aviation, a global leader in military and commercial jet engine production.

Max Baucus at the GE Aviation Symposium in Billings Montana

As the keynote speaker at today’s event, Baucus highlighted the fact that more than 100 people were in attendance representing more than 60 Montana businesses.

“Today, we raised the profile of Montana companies on the global scale and sent the message far and wide that Montana is ready to do businesses. My thanks go out to GE Aviation for answering our call to provide this incredible opportunity to Montana businesses. Clearly, manufacturers across the state were hungry for this shot at expanding because they showed up in force to make this one of the largest symposiums ever for GE Aviation. This highlights Montana’s dynamic manufacturing sector. It also reinforces the fact that when presented with the right opportunity – Montana businesses have the work ethic and the know-how to compete on a global scale to create good-paying jobs here at home.”

Here’s a snapshot of what people are saying about the experience:

Mary Rumsey, Director of Butte-based Synesis 7:

“Max’s support has enabled Synesis7 to save the Navy and Marines millions and at the same time make them more technologically efficient and effective.  This GE Aviation event will enable Synesis7 to demonstrate that our technology can make GE even more efficient and effective.  It is all about cost savings in industry and in government.  This event provides an excellent showcase for our technology and will hopefully enable us to create more high paying jobs in the State.”

Harold Buck Elk, CEO of Fort Peck Tech Services, a Tribally owned and operated company:

“The GE Aviation symposium presented an important opportunity for Fort Peck Tech Services to meet with GE suppliers about exploring new opportunities in their global supply chain for Fort Peck Tech’s skilled workforce of machinists and welders. We are hopeful that the connections we made at the symposium will allow us to create jobs, generate revenues and create profits so that we can continue to grow in a manner designed to assist the Fort Peck Tribes in meeting their economic development goals.”

David Micheletti, VP of Aerospace and Energy Operations, Universal Technical Resource Services (UTRS) based in Butte:

“Learning how to become a qualified supplier for GE Aviation and being able to make them aware of our technical capabilities is an outstanding opportunity for us.  UTRS is currently developing advanced aerospace materials and propulsion technologies in Butte, and we believe that GE Aviation represents a major potential customer for us.  This work shop provides the direct access we need to begin developing a working relationship with this major aerospace firm.”      

Matt Kress, shop operations executive for GE Aviation:

“We’re grateful for Senator Baucus’ support as we seek to expand GE Aviation’s supplier base in Montana. We’re thrilled by how many businesses have signed up to participate in the symposium, and we look forward to fostering prosperous new relationships with suppliers throughout Big Sky Country.”

About the GE Aviation Symposium:

The symposium provides a chance for local small businesses interested in working with GE Aviation to receive coaching and mentoring through panel discussions and one-on-one sessions.  Following the event, GE Aviation will move forward to the next phase of relationship development with companies that best match its needs and quality requirements.

As a result of past symposiums, generally 40 percent of the participating companies moved on to the next phase of potentially doing business with GE, meaning they were able to submit price quotes to GE for aerospace parts and services on a study basis. Other companies will be provided valuable feedback on the next steps toward doing business with GE and connected with state resources to help move them to the next level.

GE in Montana

Following an invitation to Baucus’ Montana Economic Development Summit in 2007, GE built its Center of Excellence in Billings, which currently employs 186 Montanans and is looking to expand and add nearly 100 more jobs. Baucus brought GE Chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt, to tour the Billings facility and participate in his Economic Development Summit in Butte in September. As a direct result, GE connected with Butte-based foundry and titanium castings company, SeaCast to create good paying jobs for Montanans.

Text of Senator Baucus Keynote Address at GE Aviation Symposium August 8, 2011 (remarks as prepared for delivery)

I am told GE has hosted events like this elsewhere in the country, from rural Nevada and North Dakota, to the major metropolitan areas of Southern California and Chicago.

Today’s event in Billings, filled with only Montana companies, is one of the biggest they have ever done.

It speaks to the growth of the manufacturing sector in Montana and its importance in the long-term health of our economy.

It is also a testimony to something I’ve witnessed time and time again:

When opportunity meets good, old fashioned Montana work ethic, the possibilities are endless.

With the collection of hardworking, innovative minds in the room, I am confident today’s event will be not only the biggest, but also the most successful.

I would like to thank GE for hosting today’s event.

Events like this open windows of opportunity to small businesses across the country.

GE has been a great partner and job creator in Montana.

They came to my Economic Development Summit in Butte in 2007, met with many Montana businesses, and liked what they saw.

They have since opened a financial services office just down the road.  It employs close to 200 Montanans.

Between the contracts currently being discussed, and the conversations resulting from today’s event, I am confident their presence in our state will grow, and the jobs they create will be many.

Our state is a great place to do business and our people possess a resilient and entrepreneurial spirit that is unique to Montana.

Montanans are tough.  Our work ethic is second to none.

If you want it, Montana businesses can provide it.

In addition to our world-class agricultural sector, our budding high-tech businesses are making important advances in medical research and energy development.

Customers around the globe use Montana manufactured goods to mine, to communicate, and to fish.

Montana manufactured goods have been shipped to every state in the union, every corner of the globe, and even to orbit the earth.

Manufacturers in Montana accounted for two billion dollars in output in 2010, including 1.2 billion dollars of exported goods.

The jobs they support come with high salaries, almost fifty percent higher than non-manufacturing jobs.

These jobs are critical to the long-term growth of the Montana economy, and we will do everything we can to secure more of these jobs.

As your Senator, I am working hard to create opportunities for Montana businesses

I am leading the charge in Congress to pass our pending free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama.

These agreements would provide important access to millions of new customers.

Earlier this year, I led a trade mission of Montana businesses to Brazil and Colombia.

Next month, my office will lead a mission to the oil sands of northern Alberta.

My Economic Development Summits bring business leaders from around the globe to see what we are doing in Montana.

Today’s event is just one piece in an overall effort to create good paying jobs in Montana.

Thank you again for being here, and I wish you the best of luck in your discussions.

If you hit any red tape or need a hand along the way, give me a call or email.

Let me know if there is anything we can do to help support your efforts to grow, prosper and make this symposium a real success in the long term for your businesses and your communities.