Not many people know about Farnborough, England, a town of about 58,000 a 30-minute train ride from London. But to those in the aerospace and defense industry, it’s an important city that hosts one of the largest global airshows every other year. According to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Arkansas employed around 8,276 people in aerospace and defense manufacturing as of 2021. And state aerospace and defense exports made up 20% of Arkansas’ total exports, with just over $1 billion in goods exported and just over 1% of the nation’s in 2020.
Before a crowd of more than 100 people at the Helmerich Research Center at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a memo of understanding, agreeing to position the two-state region as a national hub of advanced mobility (AM), which includes drones, electric and autonomous vehicles, battery manufacturing, and transportation and logistics solutions.
Northwest Arkansas has the potential to be a leader in aviation, but creating a culture to support the industry is a slow process, Steuart Walton told Axios.
Driving the news: UP.Partners, Steuart and Tom Walton, and Ross Perot Jr. hosted UP.Summit in Bentonville this week, an event that draws established and startup companies to discuss the future of transportation.
“How long is it until all of us can get up in one of these things? I think it might be a little while,” Steuart Walton said of the new technologies on display at UP.Summit. “But this is about a long-term vision.”
The goal of holding the summit in Bentonville is to position the area as a leader in environmentally friendly transportation technology that brings jobs and innovation, Walton told attendees.
Steuart Walton was one of the dozens of speakers who participated in the invitation-only Heartland Summit in Bentonville on May 11-12. More than 300 people attended the flagship event of Bentonville think tank Heartland Forward, spearheaded by Walton family members and led by CEO Ross DeVol.
Arkansas entrepreneurs are making a bold claim to be a global giant in next generation transportation, including flying cars, driverless vehicles, and drones. This claim follows Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s recent announcement to create the Arkansas Council on Future Mobility, an advisory board committed to attracting businesses, startups, innovators, and creators.