Using money from Rocky Mountain Power, a new renewable energy project in Millcreek launches in the coming year.

Utah Aerospace & Defense Association announces new president & CEO

Salt Lake City – The Utah Aerospace & Defense Association has recruited Aaron Starks to be President & CEO to lead the industry’s growth and innovation.  With over 1,000 companies in this space accounting for 32,0000 jobs, and thousands more through indirect engagements, Utah is positioned to become a global hub for cyber security,the space industry, strategic intelligence, and aerospace and defense engineering, design, and manufacturing.

As the President & CEO, Starks will convene, promote, and advocate for companies competing on the world’s stage. “Utah is home to some of the largest defense contractors worldwide and hosts a critical air force base operation. The state has quickly become ground zero for many of the critical initiatives facing our national security”, said Starks. “And while the defense and aerospace sectors are staples in our state’s economy, I am also very excited to collaborate with professionals from our cyber security, data, and intelligence arenas.  All of which, represent new and innovative sectors throughout Utah”.

“Aaron brings a unique skill set to the industry and state, having grown a business globally, and more recently helping take World Trade Center Utah to new heights”, said Dan Hemmert, Executive Director of Economic Development at the Governor’s Office. “He will be able to speak with credibility to industry executives, partner with state leaders, and create an ecosystem to accelerate growth for companies.  We couldn’t be more excited to support him in this role”.

Prior to this appointment, Starks was on the executive team at FranklinCovey in its international education division where he opened Asia headquarters in Tokyo, Japan and expanded the company’s reach into 21 international markets.  He then joined World Trade Center Utah as Chief Revenue Officer, leading the organization’s business development and delivery of consultative business services.

Currently, he is Vice President at Fortem Technologies where he oversees the company’s commercial strategy, and strategic initiatives. Fortem is a world leader in defense drone technology and was recently awarded the contract to defend the soccer stadiums participating in the world cup.  Starks was appointed to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition in 2020 and awarded CXO of the Year by Utah Business Magazine in 2022.

“Utah’s aerospace and defense industry consistently drives economic growth and long-term employment statewide.  Partnership in these sectors is critical to continued growth, and the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association is positioned to enable increased partnership within the industry”, said Adam Fife, CEO of Cencore.

For more information and to learn how to get involved, please email [email protected].

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