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SC Aerospace


South Carolina Aerospace is a partnership between the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and industry partners to develop the aerospace cluster in the state. The partnership’s efforts are facilitated by Adrianne Beasley, Director of Aerospace Initiatives. For more information and to get involved, please contact Adrianne at



In 2012, South Carolina’s Secretary of Commerce Robert M. Hitt, III appointed the Aerospace Task Force to develop a strategic plan to grow the state’s aerospace cluster. With input from Regional Advisory Councils and led by Charlie Farrell, the group of public and private leaders recommended priorities for action.

In late 2013, the SC Council on Competitiveness received an Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnerships (IMCP) planning grant from the United States Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration. The Council worked closely with the SC Department of Commerce and other partners around the state to compete for these funds that enabled additional activities to occur to support the aerospace cluster. The first ever aerospace economic impact study was conducted to provide a baseline to understand the growth patterns of this important industry to the states economy. The economic impact study’s findings clearly show that South Carolina does indeed have an aerospace industry cluster and that there are opportunities to strengthen and grow the cluster. With continued, targeted efforts by the SC Council on Competitiveness and the SC Department of Commerce, South Carolina will be positioned to compete nationally and globally as a destination for the aerospace industry.

Using the IMCP grant, Deborah Cameron was hired as the Director of Aerospace Initiatives and Wayne Fritz was hired as Senior Project Manager. Charlie Farrell remained as an adviser to the effort for the first year. Staff traveled the state meeting companies and organizations related to the aerospace cluster. Regional and local economic development alliances were also engaged in outreach to companies in their respective locations. Information gathered from these consultations was utilized to develop programming helpful to the industry.

SC Council on Competitiveness partners with USC’s McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, and the South Carolina Aviation Association to host the Aerospace Industry Day event which attracts over 500 attendees.

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S C  A E R O S P A C E  T O D A Y

SC Aerospace is a collaborative effort to advance and market South Carolina’s aerospace industry cluster on the global stage. We are a partnership of the public, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors connecting the industry’s assets and securing future growth.

We work to:

  • Manage, market, and connect the aerospace cluster
  • Grow the aerospace cluster
  • Expand the talent pipeline to serve the aerospace sector
  • Build a competitive infrastructure and business environment
  • Enhance research and innovation

We host quarterly events to connect aerospace industry leaders and expose them to state assets relevant to the industry, convene aerospace organizations to promote collaboration and alignment, publish monthly newsletters to communicate industry news, partner to host an annual aerospace conference, conduct relevant industry research, host a web site and GIS asset map, represent South Carolina on a broader stage, and much more.


C L U S T E R   F A C T S

South Carolina’s aerospace cluster consists of over 400 civilian companies, as well as four major military aviation facilities:

  • Joint Base Charleston (Charleston Air Force Base), Charleston
  • Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort
  • McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Eastover
  • Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter

While The Boeing Company is the dominant face of aerospace in the state, there are numerous other recognizable firms located in South Carolina. These include Lockheed Martin Corporation, TIGHITCO, Stevens Aviation, GKN Aerospace, Labinal, Champion Aerospace, and Ranger Aerospace. Yet, most companies in the aerospace cluster report having five or fewer employees. These small businesses comprise 95% of aerospace firm growth over the five-year period from 2007 – 2012.
There are over 53,000 workers directly employed by civilian aerospace companies and military aviation facilities in South Carolina. The average total compensation of a civilian aerospace employee is about $71,000 – far greater than the state average compensation of about $41,000.


R E F E R E N C E   L I B R A R Y