Written by Mike Flenniken 9:44 pm Column

IAPMO SCB Signs MOU with Baja Aerospace Cluster to Accelerate Growth, Opportunities 

Baja Aerospace Cluster President Tomás Sibaja and SCB Senior Vice President Shirley Dewi shake hands after signing the memorandum of understanding Nov. 16 at IAPMO World Headquarters West in Ontario, California. PHOTOS BY GEOFF BILAU

Mexico is home to one of the fastest-growing aerospace industries in the world, and an agreement between IAPMO’s Systems Certification Body (SCB) and the Baja Aerospace Cluster stands to accelerate that growth and increase opportunities on both sides of the border. 

Government officials, manufacturers, exporters and related service providers from the United States and Mexico attended a Nov. 16 signing ceremony between SCB and the Baja Aerospace Cluster, which formalizes both organizations’ commitment to work closely together to achieve shared goals and foster innovation, at IAPMO’s World Headquarters in Ontario, California. 

The Baja Aerospace Cluster is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide qualified professional services to the aerospace industry in the state of Baja California, located in the northwestern region of Mexico bordering California, in the development of its operational capabilities, certifications, human talent and supply chain requirements for its five business segments, aeronautics, defense, space, UV drones and MRO/R&O. 

SCB specializes in management systems certification for quality, including standards specific to the aerospace industry and medical device manufacturing; distribution, including aerospace-industry-specific part distributors; energy and environmental systems; occupational health and safety; information security, including information security management for federal government sectors; and cybersecurity framework. 

The MOU’s goal is to forge a stronger and more mutually beneficial partnership, with a unique opportunity for business-to-business interactions that will open the door for expanded trade between the United States and Mexico. 

SCB’s relationship with the Baja Aerospace Cluster dates back more than a year. In September 2022, the California Inland Empire District Export Council — of which SCB Senior Vice President Shirley Dewi is vice chair — held the inaugural CAL-MEX Aerospace Expo at the San Bernardino Airport. The expo’s goal was to connect California aerospace manufacturers with suppliers and raise awareness about export opportunities in Mexico. 

“We hope this collaboration with the Baja Aerospace Cluster will help the aerospace industry grow in the Baja region,” Senior Vice President Shirley Dewi said. “This event is important for both organizations and is symbolic of our dedication to strengthening the bonds of collaboration and cooperation.” 

The MOU continues the expansion of IAPMO’s services in Mexico. In September, IAPMO R&T Lab opened its first product testing lab in Monterrey, Mexico. 

Baja Aerospace Cluster President Tomás Sibaja said applying the international standards to which SCB provides certification will elevate not only aerospace but all industries, including medical, electronics and automotive, all over the world. 

“We already have a need, and this need has to be serviced with the right players,” he said. “IAPMO is a company that is almost 100 years old and it has a global presence. We have companies that have markets all over the world, and for us it’s important that we meet and match with the right players and with the right partners.” 

Eduard Roytberg, director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service office in Ontario, was part of a contingent from the department that included Pacific South Regional Director Colleen Simons and two international trade specialists. He said Mexico is the largest export market for the Inland Empire, as $1.7 billion in manufactured products were shipped to Mexico in 2022, with the state of California exporting almost $31 billion. 

“Working very closely with the Inland Empire District Export Council — and I see a few members here — as well as other partners like IAPMO, we share a mission of promoting U.S. exports, which is critically important to the economy of this region and of the country as a whole,” Roytberg said. “As Tomás pointed out, over the past couple of years, this region, led through the efforts of our District Export Council, has forged a very productive relationship with the Baja Aerospace Cluster.” 

Carlos Gimenez, deputy consul for the Consulate of Mexico in San Bernardino, and Colleen Simons, Pacific South regional director for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service, sign as witnesses to the MOU. Observing them are, from left, Sibaja, AIMO Vice President Jose Lopez Castellanos, Dewi and Eduard Roytberg, director of the U.S. Commercial Service’s office in Ontario. PHOTO BY GEOFF BILAU

Simons said the Inland Empire is one of the fastest-growing regions in the network in terms of industry growth and international attention with investment and exports, and the MOU demonstrates the growing opportunities that exist with another fast-growing region across the border. 

“This synergy will allow this binational region to grow and be more globally competitive by leveraging the strengths of both the U.S. economy and the Mexican economy, and the opportunities when we work together.” 

Carlos Gimenez, deputy consul for the Consulate of Mexico in San Bernardino, said such agreements are key to helping industry grow. 

“For the Consulate it’s important to build more relationships to increase business opportunities, support companies and create jobs. We are elated to be here, and congratulations on this MOU.” 

Jose Lopez Castellanos, vice president of the Association of Industrialists of the Mesa de Otay, AC (AIMO) and director of new business development for Grupo Logix in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, said the MOU would benefit AIMO’s more than 450 members. 

“This is great for us because it will improve the manufacturing service and professional skills of our people so they will be more competitive globally.” 

Elizabeth Glynn an adviser in export strategy and operations for EMG Global Business Solutions, was the first keynote speaker and delivered a presentation focused on enhancing the collaboration between the organizations. 

“It’s such a pleasure to see the synergy between the Baja Aerospace Cluster and IAPMO SCB and our California companies coming together,” she said. 

California exported $185 billion worth of goods to 227 countries in 2022, and Mexico was the No. 1 market, she said, adding that the Baja aerospace sector is the largest of the 19 Mexican states that have aerospace clusters. 

Glynn stressed the importance of keeping the dialogue moving forward so that if those in the industry have colleagues who are facing challenges or need product, they can share that information. 

“I love putting manufacturers together because they’ll have a need, and it’s amazing to me how often they’re so close in the area and they don’t know that they exist,” she said. “If we can be open and share that networking, imagine the capability and the business that we can actually grow.” 

The second keynote speaker, Bobby Duchesne, president of RD3 Technologies, is a Certified Ethical Hacker and Certified Network Defense Architect. He has about 14 years of government experience and is known as a “cyber gunslinger.” 

He said quality and security are everybody’s responsibility, and they go hand in hand. 

“The more that time goes on, I find that responsibilities between quality and cyber actually start clashing together, and then they blend, and these certifications blend, and we work together — quality and cyber.” 

The event concluded with SCB and the Baja Aerospace Cluster delegation touring the cutting-edge facilities of Combustion Associates, Inc. (CAI) in Corona, and Omanson Precision Engineering in Chino. 

CEO Kusum Kavia led the tour of CAI, which included a look at the company’s modular, plug-and-play Spirit™ line of gas turbine generators. 

Omanson Precision Engineering, owned by Atul Vacchhani and Alpesh Dadhaniya, produces high-reliability precision components and plays a crucial role in supporting some of the leading companies in the aircraft and aerospace industries. 

Mike Flenniken
Staff Writer at IAPMO

Mike Flenniken is a staff writer, Marketing and Communications, for IAPMO. Prior to joining IAPMO in 2010, Flenniken worked in public relations for a group of Southern California hospitals and as a journalist in writing and editing capacities for various Southern California daily newspapers.

Last modified: December 20, 2023