The Oklahoma Defense Industry Association (ODIA) announced its launch last week.
It aims to be the state voice for the defense industry, military installations and national security interests in Oklahoma and Washington, D.C.
“We are thrilled to bring ODIA to Oklahoma,” ODIA Chairman Robert Cox said in a statement. “With our rapidly growing defense community, the need for organization and advocacy has become more apparent than ever. Through the leadership of ODIA, we have the potential to tell the story of Oklahoma’s long-standing history in the defense arena and set up the state for major growth.”
The association’s three pillars are advocating for policies at the state and federal levels; promoting applied research partnerships by fostering collaboration between Oklahoma’s research institutions and military contractors and enhancing supply chain and networking by connecting members and coordinating crucial resources.
“At ODIA, we believe Oklahoma’s defense industry thrives because of our communities, schools, financial institutions, and universities,” Cox said. “We are proud to have a strong, diverse group of founding members, and we are looking forward to welcoming new members to the association with our wide range of membership options.”
The founding ODIA members are Acorn Growth Companies, ATC, Bell Textron, Inc., Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Echo Investments, Fires Innovation Science and Technology Accelerator, Kratos Defense, The Levy Group, Logatore and Sustainment Tech.
Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma have signed on as advisory members.
“Oklahoma not only has a proud legacy in aerospace and aviation, but this sector also forms the backbone of Oklahoma’s high-tech economy,” Jamey Jacob, director of OSU’s Unmanned Systems Research Institute, said in a statement.
“While Oklahoma’s aerospace sector is diverse, defense plays a dominant role and as such needs strong partnerships to provide a voice in the state. OSU’s aerospace engineering and aviation programs are excited to help support the growth in this critical industry by being a part of ODIA,” he said.
ODIA’s leadership team includes Chairman Cox (Aviation Training and Consulting), Vice Chairman Rick Nagel (Acorn Growth Companies), Secretary Michael Morford (Sustainment Tech) and treasurer Mark Brace (BancFirst).
“ODIA is about growing an ecosystem where defense installations, industry, workforce and research institutions can prosper together,” ODIA Executive Director Rusty Appleton said. “The opportunities are vast, and we’re only getting started.”