In Support of Aerospace Manufacturing & the New England Supply Chain

Scott Livingston, Horst Engineering’s President and CEO, had this Letter to the Editor and it published in the 05 December 2016 edition of the Journal Inquirer:

Regarding those jabs at GE

I’m a journalist and a businessman, and appreciate what the Journal Inquirer does, but I don’t always agree with its approach.

I’m a staunch supporter of small business and manufacturing, and I’m as frustrated with Connecticut’s economy as anyone. But General Electric didn’t leave Fairfield just because of the “anti-business climate.” There is more to that story.

Regardless, I’ve noticed the JI’s frequent jabs at GE and United Technologies Corp. A Nov. 18 editorial poked GE regarding a quality problem that could have been far more serious than it turned out to be. Thankfully, no lives were lost on that American Airlines flight.

Large companies are large employers and easy targets. These companies are also large customers. Horst Engineering and our sister company, Sterling Machine, are fortunate to supply both aerospace giants and other important Connecticut businesses like Sikorsky Aircraft, Barnes Aerospace, and Kaman Aerospace.

More than 150 employees and their families, in Connecticut and Massachusetts, depend on the success of our aerospace industry customers. We want them to thrive.

The editorial references GE’s leader, Jeffrey Immelt, and ends by saying, “Unfortunately for Immelt, he cannot blame this latest incident on Connecticut, as these engines were probably made in Massachusetts, GE’s new home state.”

Again, off the mark. GE, like UTC, makes engines and engine parts all over the world. That won’t stop. All we can do in Connecticut is be as competitive as possible so our share of its business increases.

I’m disappointed by the inference that the quality problem had anything to do with Massachusetts. In the aerospace supply chain, we are all responsible for quality and the entire chain suffers when incidents like this occur. I guarantee you that Connecticut suppliers were instrumental in making parts that went in the engine that broke. For all we know, it was assembled in Ohio where GE Aviation is headquartered.

“The JI tells it like it is. Somebody has to.” I support that 100 percent, but tell the whole story. In this era of fake news you owe it to the community — including the business community — to gather as many facts as possible, and when sharing opinions, paint the whole picture.

Let’s collectively hold businesses accountable for their actions, but let’s also support them because they are the key to improving Connecticut’s economy. Save the teasing for another time.

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