sealPurdue News

April 6, 2002

Purdue aerospace conference takes aim at 'brain drain'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A new conference this month at Purdue University will aim to help reduce the state's "brain drain" while encouraging economic development by bringing together Indiana aerospace-related companies, university researchers and students.

Indiana Working Together for Aerospace Excellence will be Thursday (4/11) at the university's Stewart Center. The event will feature talks by industry leaders and top university administrators. The conference is sponsored by Purdue's schools of Engineering and Technology and the Indiana Aerospace Initiative, an industry outreach program operated by the Indiana Business Modernization and Technology Corp., a nonprofit business-assistance agency.

"A conference like this helps to inform the public about the great impact the industry has on the Indiana economy and the great potential for future growth," said Don K. Gentry, Purdue's vice provost for engagement. "It also serves as a place for people in the industry to focus on needs and solutions."

Primary audiences for the conference include college students who are seeking careers with high-tech companies, manufacturers and other companies, especially those seeking technological methods to improve their products.

"We want students to be exposed to various high-tech aerospace companies in Indiana, and we want to introduce companies to the research opportunities at Purdue," said the Business Modernization and Technology Corp.'s David Snow, who oversees the Indiana Aerospace Initiative.

"The long-term goal for this and other activities by BMT is to stop the brain drain from Indiana," he said. "This can be accomplished by college students learning about job opportunities with Indiana companies, and companies participating in the aerospace economy from Indiana."

Registration for the conference is free but required and must be done online.

The conference will be in Stewart Center, Room 214. Talks and events include:

– 10 a.m. Welcome by Gentry.

– 10:15 a.m. Opening remarks by Purdue President Martin C. Jischke.

– 10:30 a.m. A panel discussion about how to better combine educational and industrial resources for aerospace in Indiana. Companies represented will include Alcoa Inc., the Boeing Co. and Rolls-Royce Corp.

– Purdue Engineering Dean Linda P. Katehi and Fred Emshousen, acting dean of the School of Technology, will introduce their schools.

– 1:30 p.m. Poster sessions will include displays by corporate and university sources.

– 2:30 p.m. Informal tours of labs and the Purdue Research Park.

"We have a nucleus of very globally competitive, very skilled companies in Indiana," said Del Schuh, president of BMT. "Many of them need only to be exposed to a broader universe of opportunities, and that's the mission of the Aerospace Initiative."

The conference will help small Indiana companies make connections with potential resources.

"There are close to a hundred different companies doing aerospace-related activities in the state," said Melanie Thom, president of one of those companies, Baere Aerospace Consulting, in West Lafayette. "A lot of these companies don't know what Purdue can do for them.

"They've got a research park in their back yard and don't know how to use it. Industries also are looking for potential new employees, and the students are looking for potential employers. Many students don't realize there are opportunities right here in Indiana."

Writers: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709,

Guy Johnson 1-800-877-5182 x.246 or

Sources: Don K. Gentry,, 765-494-9095

David Snow at BMT, (800) 877-5182 ext. 229

Guy Johnson,, 1-800-877-5182 ext. 246,

Melanie Bradley,, 1-800-877-5182,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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