San Antonio is showing the power of Tip #3: Associate with People in the Field

Chamber of Commerce

Competition is fierce in the economy.  This applies to us at the individual level, the organizational level, and at the geographic level.

For example, there was fierce competition between many cities to obtain one of the initial six FAA-authorized UAV test sites.  Now each of these sites is serving as a regional business incubator and engine to drive economic growth for an emerging sector within aerospace and aviation.  While everyone at these sites competes for business at the local, regional, and national level, the regional centers also provide a critical mass of complementary capabilities when customers want an efficient, total lifecycle design solution.

FAA UAS Testing Site Map

By forming consortiums, partnerships, and collaborative relationships between people and companies at these test centers, the competition to win business is actually easier. That’s because one person or company is rarely sufficient to satisfy the total needs of a customer. When entrepreneurs, business owners, business development professionals, and recruiters know who else is “in the field” and what their capabilities are, they are more eager to pull in those other players to respond to customer needs and requests in order to propose and provide a more comprehensive solution.

How would you like to be part of that field of all-star or essential players?

Continuing with the sports team analogy, a strong and well-connected team makes it easier to attract new players, fans, and sponsors (i.e. customers).  Those looking at the team from outside the city can see a team that works well together, plays well together, and compliments the strengths and weaknesses of each individual player with others in the organization.

The team owners’ and managers’ jobs are easier and more fun, because they can point to a strong and diverse roster of players who each bring their own unique strengths to the team and the city.

If your city had a roster (or directory) of aerospace players, wouldn’t you want and need to be on it?

This is some of the thinking behind an initiative with the Aerospace Committee in the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.  They are building a database of aerospace companies that operate in the San Antonio metro area.  If you (or someone you know) are in San Antonio, Texas and have a contribution to make in aerospace or aviation, fill out this online survey form before it’s too late!  (The deadline is in early September, 2015.  When I get a specific date I’ll edit this post.)

It isn’t enough to be a strong player–or a smart and capable rocket scientist.  To be successful and do great things, you also need to be part of a successful team.  By following Tip #3: Associate with others in the field, you are moving yourself out of the spectator seats (or TV sofa) into the playing field.  That is where the real action happens!

A central database for all aerospace or aviation companies and professionals in a city is a fantastic resource.  It not only helps people within that database connect and collaborate with each other (a huge benefit for things like recruiting, joint ventures, and supply chain integration).  It also helps economic development leaders at the city, region, and state level point to a critical mass of skilled labor, expertise, and capabilities.

What if you aren’t in San Antonio, Texas?

Is there a list of aerospace companies in your city conveniently listed in one place?

If you are looking for work or a new opportunity to vector your career into aerospace or aviation, ask yourself that question! If and when you do find such a list online, please come back here and share it for others in a comment below!  It will be a quick but significant service to the aerospace economy in your city.  Becoming aware of who and what is out there is the first step to building connections and relationships.

What if you can’t find an active and connected community for aerospace and aviation companies in your city?

Here are four suggestions on where to find a consolidated list of aerospace and aviation players in your city – who you can start to  associate with:

1. Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of CommerceIf your city is large enough to have one of these, find its website and look for an option to break down or search for members by industry.  If you can’t find aerospace or aviation called out, give them a phone call to ask for info & advice.

2. Professional societies


Do you know which professional societies have a significant and active presence in your city?  Here’s a list of the organizations I would consider in the first round:


Not sure who is best for you or if you are missing the best one?  Write a comment below and tell me your city!  If it’s in the US I’ll probably have a good sense of the local industries.  The other key factor is knowing what disciplines or career paths you want to pursue.  If you are outside the US, please write a comment anyway with your location and we’ll use the power of crowdsourcing (public commenting) to offer insights and suggestions.

3. LinkedIn


Have you checked LinkedIn for a group dedicated to your city?  Have you used the advanced search feature to look for aerospace or aviation organizations in your city that have a presence on LinkedIn?

4. Start your own!

Kalatu blog start

The biggest shift and breakthroughs in my career happened after I realized I could “pick myself.”  I credit and thank Seth Godin for that mindset shift.

If you are in San Antonio, and want to do more in the aerospace field, you can talk to your employer (or yourself) about getting into that aerospace database.

You can pick yourself to join a LinkedIn group.  You can pick yourself to start a new LinkedIn group if it doesn’t exist yet!  What better way to be “in the know” and seen as the go-to-person (guy or gal) for aerospace in your city if you are the founder and owner of the LinkedIn group for that community?!

Feeling inspired to take charge and make something great happen?  Quick! Write a short comment below to say hello! Then I will love to follow your progress and help you along more if I can.  Whether it’s managing a LinkedIn group, starting your own website & blog, or getting in touch with the best local professional society for you…I’m here and eager to help.

I appreciate you taking the time & effort to read this post!  Thanks for coming over and having a sincere interest in the awesome world of aerospace.  Take care, and take charge!


About Brett Rocket Scientist

Brett creates artful work in engineering, ideas, and innovation. In addition to 2 degrees, 3 patents, and over 15 years experience in aerospace engineering, he is the author of several books to foster STEM careers. He volunteers his time and skills as an officer with professional societies.

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