Editor at large, locally

By Courtney Howard

Posted by Courtney E. Howard

Travel is tough, especially in an economic downturn. Travel budgets are tightening across the board. Lucky for me, I live in the Pacific Northwest -- a hub of military and aerospace activity. I don't have to go too far to be right in the middle of it all.

I am a stone's throw from Fairchild Air Force base, home to a weapons squadron, training group and training squadron, office of special investigations, and more. After a one-hour flight to Portland, I am at FLIR Systems, Mentor Graphics, Lattice Semiconductor, TriQuint Semiconductor, or Intel.

In my own backyard, Spokane County, reside Agilent, SprayCool , General Dynamics Itronix , and others. I had the opportunity to tour General Dynamics Itronix today, in fact. I met some friendly, knowledgeable people, witnessed product assembly in a lean production lab, saw innovative testing facilities, and became privy to the latest technologies the company has to offer.

General Dynamics Itronix , like most other organizations, is not immune to today's harsh economic conditions. It was revealed last month that the Spokane Valley facility may close by the end of this year. A fixture in Spokane for more than two decades, General Dynamics Itronix employs roughly 380 people. Of that number, 20 may remain in Spokane Valley, 60 have the option to relocate to Sunrise, Fla., and the remainder will lose their jobs.

I know I am not alone when I say: I am anxious for things to turn around. It is unfortunate to see facilities that employ professional people in skilled jobs and who put out a quality, valued product suffer.

When I talk to high-level executives at firms suffering layoffs and other setbacks, they reveal that cuts are being made not because primes are suffering and military programs are being cut; rather, it is for no other reason than the poor economy. Heck, even Warren Buffett was knocked from atop his perch: It was revealed today that he has lost his "world's richest billionaire" status. Bill Gates (decades younger) now holds first place. Perhaps every community -- even a billionaires' club -- could use some "new blood" (for lack of a better term). My hat is off to mil-aero firms holding strong in the face of trying times, including my neighbors here in the Northwest. Kudos!

Previous Blog Posts

Capital Hill budget deal could restore tens of billions of dollars to the Pentagon

December 17, 2013

Hacker drone story a cautionary tale about the need for unmanned vehicle data security

December 10, 2013

Lack of money for systems upgrades threatens to maintain wind-farm radar dead spots

December 3, 2013

Engineering support contracts indicate the Pentagon is sinking into the Mothball Strategy

November 26, 2013

The revenge of COTS: an ageing commercial technology base complicates military supply chain

November 19, 2013

Navy's newest destroyers evolve to fill traditional battleship roles

November 12, 2013

International suspicions of U.S. encryption technology putting defense companies in a bind

November 5, 2013

Defense industry left guessing as Army struggles forward with an unclear mission

October 29, 2013

These are tough times for the combat vehicle and vetronics industries

October 22, 2013

Is the government shutdown a harbinger of more ominous things to come?

October 15, 2013

Government shutdown reduces military contracting, increasing pressure on U.S. defense industry

October 7, 2013

Potential good news: has U.S. defense spending finally bottomed-out?

October 1, 2013

Is robotics revolution the first glimpse of a fundamental change in human evolution?

September 24, 2013

Obsolescent parts: are we enhancing military readiness or creating a hollow force?

September 17, 2013

For the high-tech warfighter, the future of electronics-laden uniforms is here

September 10, 2013

New generation of embedded computing thermal management in development at GE

September 3, 2013

Trading bus stops for credit cards: how far embedded computing has come in three decades

August 27, 2013

Unmanned vehicle industry stands at the doorstep of a fundamental transformation

August 20, 2013

AUVSI 2013, one of the biggest unmanned vehicles shows in the world, opens this week in Washington

August 13, 2013

The Washington Post, under Jeff Bezos, could lead the way for media in the 21st Century

August 6, 2013

Are costs and vulnerabilities making military leaders nervous about satellite communications?

July 30, 2013

Unmanned aircraft carrier that travels beneath the waves may be in the Navy's future

July 23, 2013

Electronic warfare programs kick into high gear with a flurry of contract activity

July 16, 2013

How vulnerable are U.S. Navy vessels to advanced anti-ship cruise missiles?

July 9, 2013

First came VHSIC, then came MIMIC, and now comes ACE to push electronics technology

July 2, 2013

The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

August 2015
Volume 26, Issue 8

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