ORLANDO — The exhibit floor at the National Business Aviation Association’s annual convention isn’t quite as crowded this year with the absence of Hawker Beechcraft and Cessna Aircraft’s mega booths. (The companies are exhibiting their full lines of aircraft at the static display at the Orlando Executive Airport). And others have chosen not to attend. Still, about 1,000 exhibitors are in the massive Orange County Convention Center.
Already, Wichita’s Big Dog Motorcycles is getting a lot of attention. A Big Dog motorcycle is on display at the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition’s exhibit.
“Lots of people have been taking pictures of it,” GWEDC managing director of business development David Bossemeyer said as I pulled out my camera to take a shot.
Attendees have a shot at winning it. They can roll specially made dice. If the dice spell out the name “W-I-C-H-I-T-A”, the lucky person wins the bike.
The booth is noticeable at the show. A tall, rotating Wichita sign makes it fairly easy to spot, if you’re close to its section of the 420,000 square feet of space filled by the exhibitors.
Bossemeyer had something to say about Aviation Week & Space Technology’s cover story that hit yesterday. The story wonders whether Wichita could be the next Detroit.
“That’s just what we need,” Bossemeyer said. ”I think it’s just another thing that gets in people’s heads and makes it a little harder for us to recruit.”
Still, it can be turned into a positive.
“We have a lot of skilled labor available,” he said. They were serving the aviation industry.
“It doesn’t mean they can’t serve anything else,” Bossemeyer said.