Regional Leaders Convene Tech Hub Consortium

Feb. 26, 2024 — Marina, CA) – Leading Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) companies, Joby Aviation and Archer Aviation, recently met with Monterey Bay region higher educational, military, and municipal leadership to launch a coordinated effort to support workforce training and regional infrastructure needs of the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) and hydrogen-fueled aircraft industry. The meeting, convened at UC Santa Cruz’s MBEST Center, was led by Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), Monterey Bay Drone, Automation, and Robotics Technology (DART) Initiative, and UC Santa Cruz, all of whom are jointly supporting this unified regional consortium of AAM companies, regional government, municipal airports, public education, and community organizations. Established in the fall of 2023, this consortium recognizes the tri-county region of San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties as an emerging tech hub for advanced air mobility.

MBEP’s board president, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Cindy Larive, expressed her enthusiasm for this initial convening. “Recognition of the emergence of an advanced air mobility Tech Hub in the tri-county region should serve to galvanize our efforts to improve workforce education,” said Larive.

“Innovations in advanced air mobility and adjacent industries promise to strengthen our regional economy, and we’re ensuring that the infrastructure is in place to support that growth,” said MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya. “These conversations are focused on developing a clear vision for our region and a game plan to ensure that we’re meeting the workforce needs of those who already live and work in the Monterey Bay region.”

Monterey Bay DART Executive Director Josh Metz weighed in on regional infrastructure development. “AAM companies have recognized the ideal geography and local airports of the tri-county region for AAM testing,” Metz said. “We have an incredible opportunity to secure this region’s seat at the advanced air mobility sector table, and support the growth of these exciting companies while realizing a more diverse, resilient, and inclusive economy for the Monterey Bay region and the state of California.”

Joby’s President of Operations and MBEP Board Member, Bonny Simi, stated, “Our deep, years-long partnerships with numerous members of the Tech Hub consortium have resulted in impactful workforce initiatives and the creation of hundreds of high-tech manufacturing jobs in the region. We are enthusiastic about continuing this important work for the benefit of the community.”

Archer’s Chief People & Partnerships Officer, Tosha Perkins, expressed support for consortium efforts: “The AAM industry holds tremendous economic growth and job creation potential, and the tri-county region is at the heart of these efforts,” said Perkins. “We’re proud to be collaborating with key public and private sector stakeholders in our region to ensure California continues to lead the world on this innovative technology as we work together to unlock the full potential that the electrification of aviation has to offer.

Access the form and register your interest in the Tech Hub Initiative:

Infrastructure Working Group

DART is facilitating the Monterey Bay Tech Hub – Infrastructure Working Group (IWG). Objectives of the IWG as currently defined include:

  • Grow R&D supporting and AAM operation enabling infrastructure at Monterey Bay regional and local airports to:
    • Attract additional R&D activity
    • Pilot critical infrastructure and scalable approaches
    • Supporting and expand existing R&D activity
  • Strengthen relationships among AAM infrastructure stakeholder community from local to national scale
  • Prepare strategic AAM infrastructure development plan for consideration by larger Tech Hub group

The IWG will meet virtually on the first Thursday of the month from 1-2pm, and in-person ~once each quarter. If you are interested in being a part of the IWG please register your interest using the form above.