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TOGETHER We’ve Accomplished A Lot- Letter from Kelly Maloney

With More to Come from AFA and WSSC

August 27, 2019

Dear AFA Stakeholder:

After four incredibly fulfilling and successful years at the helm of AFA, this is my final message dedicated to supporting aerospace in Washington state and across the Pacific Northwest. The underpinning of my time at AFA has been the goal of strengthening and growing the industry and your individual businesses, and ultimately, sustaining and creating jobs and prosperity for hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians. Together, we have accomplished this and much more.

Starting next week, Emily Wittman will take the reins of the organization. Combined with an exceptional board of directors, phenomenal staff members, and a host of high caliber contractors and consultants, Emily is poised to take AFA to new and greater heights.

Leading through turbulent times is challenging, and we have had no shortage of headwinds during my time at the helm of AFA nor during AFA’s nearly 14-year history. The real or envisaged impact of unforeseen groundings, attempted incentive clawbacks, global economic downturns, government shutdowns, WTO rulings, EXIM Bank leadership vacuum, and the talent deficit to name only a few of those challenges, are the “why’s” of AFA’s purpose and the reasons we enlist you to engage and tell your story.

Aerospace has a veritable social and economic impact in Washington state (See: CAI Washington Aerospace Economic Impacts 2018 Update & PSRC Washington State Space Economy Study). Many of your businesses make significant monetary contributions and provide staff volunteer time to charitable organizations, have worked with the educational system from K-12 and higher education institutions to technical training entities, have created pathways for our highly skilled and highly valued veterans, and/or have developed internships and apprenticeships for traditional students and incumbent workers. You are working to increase opportunities to good paying jobs, and are leading the world in new technologies, innovation, efficiencies, and environmentally friendly manufacturing and flight. The economic impact of your businesses is consequential to the 223,000 workers in Washington with jobs supported by aerospace, representing an annual payroll of over $20 billion.


The State of AFA is strong! Relationships with lawmakers and state entities are positive. Financials, membership loyalty, board relations, image, brand, and outreach are substantially better than they have ever been. The organization remains true to its core mission and values, while increasing scope and depth. Collaborations have been and continue to be essential to supporting the mission and our efforts on behalf of the industry. Board diversification has been achieved in many ways, and Board support of AFA is unwavering.

With AFA by your side over these past four years, we:

  • retained aerospace incentives

  • testified at numerous public hearings and meetings including only two weeks ago for the Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee recommendation report about aerospace incentives (TVW video of the 8/1/19 session)

  • supported 19 percent growth of the industry as a whole

  • mitigated in your favor on Paid Family Medical Leave

  • energized and catalyzed efforts to reset the general manufacturing B&O tax rate (work still to be done on this)

  • spoke out against additional taxes on businesses

  • worked hand-in-hand with other state leaders on new ways to educate and train tomorrow’s workers and leaders

  • introduced and helped lead the effort to win the anticipated Boeing NMA

  • introduced and are rolling out a national aerospace association to do aerospace federal advocacy (to be rolled out at the AFA Summit October 16)

  • partnered with the Washington State Department of Commerce to create the state’s first space strategy (to be rolled out at the AFA Summit October 16)

  • produced the state’s first-ever aerospace magazine, LIFT. For, by and about the industry, LIFT is a finalist in the 2019 PRNEWS Platinum Awards

  • held an industry-driven job fair, attracting more than 40 businesses and more than 1400 registered job seekers

  • commissioned ongoing statewide Aerospace Economic Impact Studies to help quantify and tell the story of how the industry benefits those in every county in the state

  • offered AeroConnections breakfast seminars, providing industry-specific content, and AeroConnections networking evening events for networking and b2b opportunities

  • held our first-annual holiday party with more than 125 attendees

  • held a day-long “Financials for Aerospace” event

  • continued to hold our annual Aerospace Day in Olympia

  • developed our Business Development Committee (BDC) to increase engagement across aerospace and non-aerospace organizations (Thank you to all on the BDC who help make our efforts the best they can be!)

  • merged with the Washington Aerospace Partnership (WAP) in 2017

  • merged with the Washington State Space Coalition (WSSC) in 2018

  • amplified both AFA and WSSC’s efforts through communications and branding, enhancing

AFA’s mission of advocacy—all in support of the industry

built strong, collaborative relationships with essential partners:

  • legislators

  • economic development entities across the state

  • Department of Commerce

  • The Governor’s office

  • Congressional delegations

  • municipalities

  • county leaders

  • AWW


  • PNAA

  • PNDC

  • French-American Chamber

  • AJAC

  • ImpactWA

  • and many more

As I leave the organization, my only requests of you would be to become members of AFA if you are not already because AFA is the only aerospace association in the state advocating for you, join WSSC if you are involved in space, be an active participant in the work AFA and WSSC are doing to keep your business and the industry strong, and stay in touch with me via LinkedIn at!

Wishing you continued success,




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