Jeff Turner, CEO of Spirit AeroSystems, was the second recipient of the Wichita Aero Club’s trophy at a gala Saturday at the Wichita Airport Hilton.
Turner was nominated for his deep connections to Wichita and for furthering the aerospace industry in Kansas, organizers said.
Turner quipped that he had been given no time limit for his speech, so he decided to give the history of the company, from the empty field that led to Lloyd Stearman’s factory until today.
“Want an extra cup of coffee?” he asked.
Later he noted he was on page three of a six-page speech, if anyone was keeping track.
His speech, which wasn’t long, praised the work of Spirit’s employees and the partnership the company had forged with its unions.
He noted the company’s increase in production of Boeing’s popular 737 and how airline customers are buying airplanes.
“These airplanes will have 25-plus years of production runs,” Turner said. “Our grandchildren … will fly on these products. We have this incredible legacy as a community.”
At the end of the day, he said, “We’re all in this together — the employees, unions, customers and our community.”