Gov. Sonny Perdue’s announcement last week that the state will create a research and development center in Middle Georgia for the aerospace industry drew praise from Louise Fortin, the international marketing manager of the Atlanta-based Quebec Trade Office.

            Ms. Fortin, who has been at the forefront of the effort to highlight Georgia’s aerospace industry, told GlobalFax that the center would help attract aerospace suppliers to twenty-five Middle Georgia counties.

            The center is to develop new technologies that will extend the lifecycle of aircraft through a research partnership involving the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism’s Office of Science and Technology, the University System of Georgia and private institutions and companies.

            “The state is supporting the high concentration of maintenance, repair and overhaul companies and a myriad of subcontractors in the region,” she said.

              Georgia has some 150 companies employing more than 75,000 people in aerospace and defense related manufacturing, research and development, design, engineering, electronics and software development.

              Ms. Fortin also encouraged local officials to keep foreign trade representative in Atlanta informed of opportunities in the area.

              Foreign suppliers need to know what the local demand is for their services before they can invest in a facility abroad, she added.

              In a statement, Mr. Perdue said that the technologies developed at the center would eventually be commercialized and licensed by the state Board of Regents to corporate partners including Boeing Co. and Lockheed-Martin Corp.

              He added that a benchmark study and needs assessment for the center will be done during the next 60 days to further define the center’s objectives.

              Ms. Fortin has led two aerospace missions composed of Quebec-based companies to Middle Georgia during the past two years. Sixty percent of Canada’s aerospace industry is located in the province of Quebec, she said.

              For more information, contact Ms. Fortin at (404) 815-4979 ext. 2.