AFSC Commander connects with students, small business at AERO Oklahoma Day Published March 30, 2023 By Angela Startz Air Force Sustainment Center TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Lt. Gen. Stacey T. Hawkins shared the mission of the Air Force Sustainment Center at the annual AERO Oklahoma Day, held at the Oklahoma State Capitol March 22. The event raises awareness of the aerospace industry in the state. Other speakers included Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, Senate Pro Tempore Greg Treat, Representative Nicole Miller and others. Hawkins addressed a crowd of more than 200, highlighting the center’s mission of supporting warfighters through sustainment. He encouraged students to join Team Tinker. “If you are interested in getting into this aerospace industry, tap into the academic ecosystem and become a part of our team,” Hawkins said. “Once you join us at AFSC, we will provide you the resources you need to grow, build a career, build your skills and even get a degree so you can continue to be relevant and ready to do this work for the nation.” He encouraged the small businesses in attendance to contact the Small Business Team at AFSC to connect and support the mission. “We need to join you at the table and lay flat your capabilities and our requirements as we prepare for tomorrow’s fight today. “We are prepared right here in Oklahoma at the Air Force Sustainment Center to take on this challenge” Hawkins said. “In today's warfighting environment, the nation with the ability to innovate and use technology will prevail. As we thrive in this rapidly changing world, we must be prepared for anything at any time. Our continued partnerships with the state of Oklahoma will be our competitive advantage to deter and defeat if necessary.” After his speech, Hawkins visited with veterans and posed for photos with students while touring the various displays in the 2nd Floor Rotunda, which was filled with booths from aeronautic companies, career and technical schools and offices from Tinker Air Force Base. Aerospace professionals and lawmakers mingled with armed service members, high school students, aeronautics instructors and pilots to discuss opportunities and current trends. Visitors to the event were able to learn more about the second largest industry in the state of Oklahoma. State officials shared their vision for elevating the industry to the largest in the state by supporting businesses and creating a qualified workforce.