Published on
Oct 24, 2023

In 2022, Dr. John Sankovic and Kim Holizna from The Ohio Aerospace Institute, Mark Fisher of The Council of the Great Lakes Region, Jarrod Morley from Aero Montreal, and Stephen Petras from Case Western Reserve School of Law signed a memorandum of understanding to form the binational Great Lakes Aviation & Space Technology Alliance (GLASTA). The aim of the Alliance is to find new ways of connecting and harnessing the region’s aviation and space technology strengths and assets across borders. GLASTA also provides the impetus for aviation and space technology companies, academic centers of excellence, government agencies and national research laboratories, and industry associations in the binational Great Lakes economic region to develop a shared vision, strategy, and action plan for transforming this sector chain into a cross-border and globally recognizable aviation and space technology supercluster.


Inaugural GLASTA Symposium

On October 11, the inaugural GLASTA Symposium commenced from the halls of The Ohio Aerospace Institute in Cleveland, Ohio with an impressive array of participants from industry, academia, and the government interested in exploring aerospace partnerships between the US and Canada.


Day One

Dr. John Sankovic, president of the Ohio Aerospace Institute provided the welcoming remarks and insights into the areas of aerospace innovation, advanced air mobility, and space within Ohio and Quebec, which set the tone for a day of collaboration.

Tim Sweeney, sector director of Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace at JobsOhio, presented “Ohio’s Build, Test, Fly Initiative” for advanced air mobility (AAM), which informed the audience of the assets that make Ohio an attractive destination for AAM research and development. Dr. Marla E. Pérez-Davis, director of Kent State University’s Center for Advanced Air Mobility, and Associate Professor Jason Lorenzon, J.D., ATP, delved into the role of higher education in supporting the AAM ecosystem. An in-depth AAM academic panel followed and discussed the opportunities collaboration and knowledge sharing can present in advancing policy and technology.

Aviation industry presenters then took the stage with Erick Fortin, Director of Engineering at CAE’s innovation laboratory (Lab52), who provided a look at innovations in sustainability and training programs for pilots, support staff, and crew. Director of Research and Technology Benoit Breault showcased Bombardier’s accomplishments and vision, which featured the Ecojet, an innovative design that will be compatible with multiple sustainable fuels.

The day concluded with a reception at which Jean Francois Hould, Québec's delegate in Chicago for the Midwest Region, shared his appreciation for the binational gathering. 


Day Two

The second day commenced with Jennifer Oddo, Vice President of Youngstown State University’s Division for Workforce Education & Innovation, who led a discussion on advanced manufacturing ecosystem resources, with panelists from Youngstown Business Incubator, BRITE, The Ohio Aerospace Institute and TeamNEO. The panelists shared how their organizations assist growing businesses.

Several in-depth panels followed, including a spotlight on companies that successfully navigate the US-Canadian supply chain, which was moderated by Dan Ujczo, honorary consul of the Government of Canada to Ohio and senior counsel at Thompson Hine. Cutting-edge research then took the stage in a panel discussion moderated by Parallax Advanced Research Executive Director of Aerospace Partnerships, Robert Tanner. The panel explored the Ohio Federal Research Network and the academic-industry-government-led research projects it funds via the Ohio Department of Higher Education. Experts such as Sean Calhoun (Cal Analytics), Joycelyn Harrison (Kent State University), Jeff Taylor (Event38) and Eric Wagner (Converge Technologies) described how they utilized OFRN funds to advance their technologies.

Commercial space opportunities and achievements at ZIN Technologies were explored in presentations led by Chris Sheehan, Vice President of Engineering, and featuring a panel of distinguished engineers. Advances in electric propulsion, a detailed look the Starlab commercial space station being developed by Voyager, in partnership with Airbus and Northrop Grumman, and the 400+ research activities ZIN has accomplished at the International Space Station were featured.

Luncheon remarks were delivered by The Consul General of Canada in Detroit, Colin Bird, and Managing Director of Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace at JobsOhio Glenn Richardson and covered the opportunities that industry-academia-government cooperation can offer Ohio and Quebec. 

NASA research was highlighted in a series of talks by engineers Paul von Hardenberg, covering ongoing AAM icing research; Linda Taylor on AAM electric aircraft propulsion efforts; and Eric Pencil on in-space propulsion activities.

Overall, The GLASTA 2023 Symposium delivered a shared vision and collective purpose of binational cooperation. GLASTA events will continue with a gathering in Montreal in May of 2024. If you would like to learn more or become involved with the alliance, contact: Kimberly Holizna