Join us for Business Round Table on Thursday, October 19 at the Hilton Bellevue (300 112th Ave SE) as we welcome President and CEO of the Museum of Flight Douglas King, Founding Director of the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington expert on outer space security, governance, and policy Professor Saadia Pekkanen, Director of the Office of Aerospace for the Washington State Department of Commerce John Thornquist, and Professor Tomonaga Okabe from the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Tohoku University. Let this panel of experts from both Washington State and Japan answer your pressing questions on space, flight, and one of Washington State’s biggest and most influential industries.

It does not matter how many times you have flown on a plane, it never ceases to amaze how incredible the experience of flying over the clouds can be. The aerospace industry has advanced immensely since the Wright Brothers first succeeded in achieving controlled, sustained flight in 1903. We now exist in a world where children play with drones as toys and commercial space flight exists in the foreseeable future. For more than a century, Washington State has acted as a global leader in aerospace innovation and development, manufacturing nearly 90% of all commercial aircraft in the US and building some of the world’s most advanced and successful commercial and military aircraft, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and space exploration vehicles.

Historically, Japan has been a major component of aerospace innovation through the manufacturing and development of composite materials. The Japanese government is currently working to reignite the country’s aerospace industry and manufacturing might while companies like Mitsubishi bet on Washington State’s established industry as the site for testing their new MRJ. Through state cooperation with Japan, the industry has seen the introduction of both the 787 and the 777x to name a few examples, but what else is in the works with new technology and business models?


Meet our expert panel:


Doug King, former President and CEO of Museum of Flight

Before becoming involved in education, Doug King spent nearly 20 years in the electronics industry. King served as a vice president of the American Electronics Association and president of the Association of Technology Business Councils. He was appointed by the Administrator of NASA to the Agency’s Education and Public Outreach Committee and by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to the Air Force Civic Leaders Group, where he earned the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal.


Professor Saadia Pekkanen, founding Director of the Jackson School Ph.D. Program, University of Washington

Professor Pekkanen works on outer space securitygovernance, and policy. Her regional expertise is in the international relations of Japan/Asia. She serves as Co-Chair of the U.S. Japan Space Forum, and directs both theSpace Security Initiative (SSI) and the project on Emerging Frontiers in Newspace. She is a contributor for Forbes on the space industry.


John Thornquist, Director 

Office of Aerospace, Washington State Department of Commerce

Before being appointed to his current position, John Thornquist was the Managing Director and CEO of Carbon Aerospace, an Everett-based engineering and manufacturing consulting firm specializing in carbon fiber composite structures. In 2006, he co-founded Global Aerosystems, an engineering services firm specializing in the design and certification of aircraft structures.


Professor Tomonaga Okabe, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Tohoku University

Professor Okabe joined the department Aerospace Engineering at Tohoku University as an associate professor in 2002 and became a full professor in 2014. Currently, he is addressing problems in the mechanics of composite materials.


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