SNAPSHOTS: 60 Seconds…with Joseph E. Zeis, Jr., Vice President and Chief Strategist, The Dayton Development Coalition

Joseph E. Zeis, Jr., Vice President and  Chief Strategist, The Dayton Development Coalition
Joseph E. Zeis, Jr., Vice President and Chief Strategist, The Dayton Development Coalition

By Business Facilities Staff
From the March/April 2012 issue

Joseph E. Zeis, Jr. will be heading the new Ohio Aerospace and Business Aviation Advisory Council.

BF: What role will the new Ohio Aerospace and Business Aviation Advisory Council play in shaping the state’s aerospace development strategy?
JZ: The aerospace council is focused on supporting existing aerospace industries and raising the profile of Ohio to its rightful place as an industry leader. From our beginnings as the birthplace of aviation we are now home to two major federal installations that are shaping the future of the industry—Wright-Patterson (WP) Air Force Base and NASA Glenn Research Center, and a major aerospace prime, GE Aviation. We have a vibrant base of aerospace suppliers and subs as well. The Ohio Aerospace Council provides a single voice for the state’s aerospace vision and a focused, coherent strategy.

BF: With the U.S. military downsizing, will your strategy focus on retaining Ohio’s existing aerospace employment base?
JZ: Military budget pressures will force the nation to seek efficiencies within the defense and aerospace industry that the current structure has not been able to deliver on. But Ohio and the Dayton Region are in a position to take advantage of this key paradigm shift. Co-location of globally competitive clusters in propulsion, sensors, human performance, advanced materials and manufacturing make this a key attractant to an industry that needs to compensate for loss of internal research and development funds or capabilities. The proximity of AFRL and the acquisition arm of the USAF Aeronautical Systems Center make Ohio the ideal spot to gain the [needed] efficiencies.

BF: How has your experience as chief strategist for the Dayton Development Coalition (DDC) prepared you to lead this statewide effort?
JZ: I have had opportunities at the Coalition to see firsthand the strength of the Ohio industrial base. It’s important to recognize that Ohio is the #1 supplier to Airbus and #2 to Boeing. Imagine the power of bringing that supply chain together with the R&D base of AFRL and NASA Glenn and the acquisition arm of ASC. That is a competitive advantage that is unmatched in the nation.

BF: What makes Dayton the best potential test site for the integration of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAVs) into the National Airspace System?
JZ: R&D and acquisition of UAVs in USAF exists at WP—that is a critical part of their mission in Ohio. I think the resident knowledge that exists here has the power to solve key issues of UAV operations, accelerate NAS integration and unlock the multi-billion dollar industry. Intellectual and physical R&D resources are the key to making this happen. UAV Research, acquisition, operations, sensor systems development, human integration and research tools make Ohio not just a good candidate, but also location for enduring partnerships in the UAV industry.

BF: What role will Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) play in the development of the UAV industry in Ohio?
JZ: SAIC will execute a study called the Ohio Airspace Strategic Integration Study, or OASIS, which will be a pathfinder process that both the FAA and AF can use to develop a disciplined and controlled process for expansion of UAVs operations into the national airspace.