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UADA's rebranding reinforces Utah's pioneering legacy in aerospace and defense.

Rebranding a movement: UADA is now 47G

UADA's rebranding reinforces Utah's pioneering legacy in aerospace and defense.

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

If you visited the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association’s (UADA) website in the past several weeks, you were met with a mysterious-looking countdown on the landing page. It included the words “America’s Deep Tech Frontier,” a launch date and little else.

Today, Oct. 12, that reason is made clear. The budding organization has rebranded: UADA will now be known as 47G. 

Since the organization’s inception in 2022, they’ve been exceptionally busy.

Consider that they are building the next generation of war-fighting technology. They’re putting people on the moon. They’re going where no human has ever gone before (as evidenced by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) recent successful collection of a  meteor sample). 

Utah has been competing on the world stage in the aerospace and defense industry for decades. In fact, the Space Dynamics Lab at Utah State University has designed and deployed satellites since 1959, boasting over 1,000 scientists, engineers and researchers nationwide committed to addressing the country’s challenges.

But if you didn’t know all that already, you’re probably far from the only one. For all the rapid growth taking place right under our collective noses, there has also been confusion or at least a lag in understanding. 47G’s president and CEO, Aaron Starks, wants to change that. Besides, he’s always felt he is attached to a growing movement rather than an association. 

“This rebrand is a critical one,” Starks says. “While 47G is a leader in the most innovative and entrepreneurial industry this state has to offer, it is unfortunately Utah’s most misunderstood and underpromoted industry as well.”

UADA is now 47G

Acquiring a new name takes the organization another step toward all that is in store for Utah, Starks says. What’s more, the 47G has a dual meaning. 

First, it’s symbolic of going where no human has gone before, alluding to their ambition to surpass all prior limits.

The known limit of human acceleration is 46.2 gs. That world record was set by United States Air Force Flight Surgeon Col. John P. Stapp in 1954 in New Mexico when he accelerated to 632 mph in five seconds—traveling faster than a bullet shot from a .45 caliber pistol—and stopped in 1.4 seconds, earning him the nickname, “The Fastest Man on Earth.”

Second, the number “47” is significant to Utah’s history. On July 24, 1847, a weary Brigham Young and other early pioneer members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley, settling the state. 

The rebrand connects the state’s past legacy with the future of what’s to come with Utah’s aerospace and defense industry.

"This rebrand is a critical one. While 47G is a leader in the most innovative and entrepreneurial industry this state has to offer, it is unfortunately Utah’s most misunderstood and underpromoted industry as well."

UADA's rebranding reinforces Utah's pioneering legacy in aerospace and defense.

Photo courtesy.of Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

A two-fold mission

Going beyond a general hope for increased name recognition, Starks hopes 47G creates more jobs and quickly becomes the state’s workforce leader. He believes strongly that the future of Utah’s economy will focus on deep tech, including aerospace and defense, cyber machine learning and data analytics.

“This is the tech industry in Utah,” he says, noting that an F-35 fighter pilot helmet is so highly technical and customized that its price tag is over $400,000.

“As we look at the next decade, we want to create a movement of people coming into the industry from university and college campuses, the next generation of talent being recruited. We want [47G] to resonate with the median age of our state—30 years old—so we can win talent from competing industries.”

Secondly, 47G wants to create more access to capital for entrepreneurs in a historically underfunded space. Thanks in part to the organization’s recent addition of former Rep. Chris Stewart, they are already working on strategic partnerships with venture capital firms, the Department of Defense and the state itself. These partners are helping provide increased access to capital and allowing entrepreneurs to fund and grow their businesses properly.

By adding more jobs and increasing access to capital, the organization hopes to create a recognizable movement that will allow the industry to prosper for decades to come.

The Chris Stewart addition

Former Rep. Chris Stewart recently announced that he will serve as chair of 47G’s advisory board, a move that serves to increase the organization’s presence. While Starks initially believed reaching out to Stewart was a long shot, he took his chances. He knew immediately that the former Utah congressman would be a fantastic ambassador for all they hoped to accomplish. Lucky for him, Stewart agreed with his vision of the future.

Over the past two years, Stewart has helped some of 47G’s 150 companies by working on several legislative fronts, creating more access to capital through the National Defense Authorization Act.

“It’s an honor to work on these issues at a very important time,” Stewart says of his new role. “Being an Air Force pilot had an impact [on my decision], and I come from a military family. … I have a lifetime of work in this area. It’s deep in my DNA.” 

Stewart will help 47G with initiatives like workforce development and accessing capital locally and worldwide. As chair, he will assist the organization in discovering new capabilities within the state, determining Utah’s national security challenges and developing ways to combat them.

Betting on the future

If all goes as planned, Utah will be known for what it offers in this growing industry, Starks says.

“For the last year, we’ve been quietly growing. We are bigger than most trade associations in the state, and every university and college in Utah has a partnership with us. We want to do this movement justice by offering a brand that speaks to who we are and all we want to accomplish.”

While UADA didn’t do that name-wise, 47G both can and will.

The goal is for Utah to be known nationwide as the world’s premier ecosystem for aerospace and defense companies, where entrepreneurs in this space can grow their companies, including access to talent, capital commercialization, research and development, and tax incentives.

The good news is that it’s already here: it’s just a matter of ensuring everyone knows.

“If I’m on a plane, flying out of Atlanta, Georgia, five years from now,” Starks says, “And I hear the passenger in the seat next to me tell me how great Utah and all of the amazing work taking place within aerospace and defense here is, I’ll know I accomplished my job.”

UADA's rebranding reinforces Utah's pioneering legacy in aerospace and defense.

Photo courtesy.of Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News