I recently read a compelling article talking about the growth trajectory of southern California’s Aerospace industry, in particular it’s “space” segment. While people love to credit Musk’s SpaceX for much of the present day activity in this sector it’s interesting to learn that nearly ¼ of all jobs in the US having to do with guided missiles, space vehicles and related parts are located here in sunny SoCal. Given the industry spends more than $28B on goods and services for production its apparent there is a lot of opportunity to be had in this fast growing market. To cap things off, the current administration seems happy to invest in this industry, in particular in space (the final frontier) offering yet another compelling reason as to why SoCal’s aerospace industry stands to grow and dominate in the next decade to come.
With all of this opportunity to be had why is it some Aerospace companies are surging ahead while others are flatlining, just waiting to be taken out behind the big red barn to put out of their misery? Rough analog, but unfortunately it’s all to true.
Could it be a lack of funding? Inability to innovate?
Companies like SpaceX, Palmer’s Anduril, Panasonic Avionics and perhaps even Boeing do one thing and one thing exceptionally well – they remain at the cutting edge of technological development. As such, they’re poised to take advantage of all this wonderful opportunity that seems to be abounding left and right in the industry. But are they really any different than their competitors? Answer is – YES.
The companies that are flatlining, holding on for dear life, have become dépassé. (French for outdated) They’re one program award away from closing shop. You’ve seen it yourself. The key difference with the companies poised to take advantage of the growth opportunities and the ones that can’t comes down to leadership. They know first hand how important it is to have people who possess both passion and execution.
The Aerospace companies that are at the cutting edge of technology almost always have leadership onboard which has a clear vision for what they want to achieve and surrounds themselves with others that believe in that vision, no matter the cost.
Key Take Away: It’s passion and execution that makes the difference in being able to grab a hold of opportunity.
Action Item: If you feel like your company is behind and missing out on opportunity, review your leadership ranks. Do you have the right people on the bus to move things forward? If the answer is ‘no’ then its time to bring in some fresh blood to chart a new course. If the answer is ‘yes’ some times all that’s needed is a slight change in corporate direction with a couple new coats of paint to liven things up.
About the Author
Travis Smith is the founder and managing director of Square-1 Engineering, a life sciences consulting firm, providing end to end technical project services to companies which design, develop and or manufacture products in Southern California. He successfully served the life sciences marketplace in SoCal for over 15 years specializing in engineering services, consulting, project outsourcing and leadership development. In 2019 he was recognized as a ‘40 Under 40’ honoree by the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce as a top leader in Orange County, CA.