Tuesday, January 24, 2012
BY D.R. STEWART, Tulsa World Staff Writer
Gov. Mary Fallin told 40 elementary school children and a couple dozen aerospace officials on Tuesday that Oklahoma’s aerospace industry needs talented science, technology, engineering and mathematics students.
Speaking at a press conference at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum to promote the 2012 Aviator Ball, Fallin said the future is bright for young people at the state’s 500 aerospace companies.
“As I look out over you children today, I will ask, ‘How many of you would like to fly this airplane?’” Fallin said, gesturing behind her at the museum’s Ranger 2000 trainer.
Forty young students from Celia Clinton Elementary School raised their hands.
“How many of you like to play video games?” Fallin asked.
Forty young hands shot skyward.
“If you like to play video games, the cockpits of these planes look a lot like video games,” the governor said. “You ladies and young men could be pilots, too, someday .... These are great opportunities ahead of you.
“The aerospace industry pays almost twice as much as a regular job .... It’s a great future for young people.”
Joining Fallin, an honorary co-chair of the 2012 Aviator Ball, were honorary co-chairs Meredith Siegfried, CEO of NORDAM, and Lindy Ritz, director of the FAA Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City.
Also speaking were Rachel Hutchings, corporate relations manager for American Airlines and chair of the Oklahoma Aerospace Alliance, and Steve Hendrickson, director of governmental relations at Boeing and board member of the Oklahoma Aerospace Alliance.
The 2012 Aviator Ball is a fundraising event of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, which encourages students through its educational programs to pursue careers in aerospace by taking courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The 2012 Aviator Ball will be held April 28 at American Airlines’ Hangar 80, just east of TASM, at Tulsa International Airport.