Formed in 2018, Oklahoma Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES) is a statewide program for advancing Oklahoma’s aerospace industry by bringing together a comprehensive partnership of aerospace and defense organizations and companies, academia and government agencies.
ACES draws its partners from leaders in every facet of the aerospace industry – aviation, space, commercial, government and defense, general aviation, unmanned systems, research and development, manufacturing, maintenance and repair, supply chain, education and training, and more.
ACES purpose shall be to create a partnership of service providers to more effectively respond to the needs of the aviation, aerospace and defense industries in the areas of education and training, research, and economic development.
The primary goal of ACES is to establish a common statewide strategy for the growth of the Oklahoma aerospace industry. ACES will focus the collective aerospace resources into an integrated, coordinated statewide effort that will:
- Increase contracts between companies in the aviation, aerospace and defense industries in Oklahoma and the Department of Defense and its prime contractors;
- Create and retain high-wage, high-skill jobs;
- Provide engineering and technical assistance;
- Reduce costs for the Department of Defense and Oklahoma military installations and increase the competitiveness of aviation, aerospace and defense businesses in Oklahoma.
(House Bill 2578)
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Director of Aerospace and Defense
Richard “Vince” Howie became the aerospace and defense director for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce in November 2013. He serves on the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, the Governor’s Unmanned Aerospace Systems Council, and Oklahoma F-35 Task Force.
Prior to this position with the Department of Commerce, Howie retired from the U.S. Air Force in April 2012 after 29 years of civil service.
Mr. Wetekam has over 40 years of experience in the aerospace industry, serving in key leadership positions in both the government and commercial sectors. From 2007 to 2018, he served as an officer with AAR Corporation, a leading aerospace services company. Prior to that, he served 34 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Lieutenant General after his final assignment as Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations and Logistics in Washington, DC.
Program Manager, Oklahoma ACES