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Douglass To Retire From AIA At Year’s End

By | May 28, 2007

      John W. Douglass will retire as the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) president at the end of the year, AIA announced.

      Douglass has been a strong defender of and spokesman for the industry, in recent times fighting battles against unfair subsidized foreign competition, targeting export controls that hamstring U.S. aerospace moves to sell or build hardware abroad, and chronicling with sweeping data and precise figures the resurgence of both the defense and civilian sectors in the industry.

      AIA issues the comprehensive annual figures on aerospace industry sales and profits, employment and more.

      The aircraft industry, along with the U.S. agriculture industry, is one of the few that post a surplus in trade with other nations. Overall, counting all industries, the United States runs a trade deficit of about $800 billion per year.

      Douglass leaves with industry-wide statistics at impressive levels, including record sales, increasing employment, and — at $55 billion — the largest foreign trade surplus of any U.S. manufacturing sector.

      Douglass, 66, is a former assistant secretary of the Navy and Air Force brigadier general, and a nationally recognized expert in systems acquisition.

      He is only the seventh full-time chief executive of the association, which was founded in 1919 and counts pioneers Orville Wright and Glen Curtiss as early members.

      He also recorded and quantified the considerable challenges posed by the terrorist attacks of 9/11, which included a dramatic economic slowdown in the civil aviation sector of industry in addition to the unspeakable human tragedy.

      Douglass made the announcement that he would be retiring at the end of the year during the AIA board of governors meeting in Williamsburg, Va.

      Among his accomplishments, Douglass counts the successful push for the creation of the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry, on which he also served. The commission’s report resulted in formation of the Joint Planning and Development Office, a multi-agency body preparing the Next Generation Air Transportation System.

      AIA doubled regular membership from 52 to 103 under Douglass’s direction while significantly expanding the Supplier Management Council from 24 to 172 members.

      Douglass said his plans include writing, consulting, and pursuing opportunities to teach acquisition.

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