Skip to Content

Board of Governors’ Meeting Highlights

TALLAHASSEE — During a meeting at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University today, business leaders from Florida’s aerospace industry joined the Board of Governors to discuss future aerospace talent needs and how the State University System can address those needs. Typically, the aerospace industry is concerned with the design and manufacture of aircraft, rockets, missiles, spacecraft, and other devices that operate in aerospace. The System produced over 7,400 graduates in 2018-19, including over 5,400 engineers, with the potential to gain employment in the industry.

The Board was joined by

  • Jim Girard, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, L3Harris Technologies;
  • Kirsten Dreggors,Vice President of Engineering, Northrop Grumman;
  • Gary Spulak, Vice-Chairman of the Board, Embraer Aircraft Holding, Inc; and
  • Andrew Rush, President & Chief Operating Officer, Redwire

“We are so thankful for the great partnership between the System and these aerospace giants,” said Syd Kitson, chair of the Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System of Florida.  “Aligning degrees to workforce demand is a huge part of what we do, and we will continue these great conversations with other industry leaders to ensure our collective commitment to producing top-quality graduates to meet industry needs.”

Florida institutions partner with a multitude of aerospace industry partners in a number of ways including student internship and employment opportunities, research collaborations, space sharing agreements, and more. These partners include both corporate and government entities such as the U.S. military and NASA. Millions of dollars in grants have been awarded to SUS institutional aerospace research efforts. For example, the University of Florida was awarded almost $3.9 million in 2018-19 for aerospace-related projects. That amount increased to $9.6 million in 2019-20 and increased again to over $15.4 million in 2020-21.

“Northrop Grumman builds strong partnerships with universities to help develop a robust talent pipeline that supports the aerospace industry and promotes our national security. Together, we are cultivating energetic and diverse talent for in-demand STEM careers with a sense of mission and purpose,” said Kirsten Dreggors, vice president of Engineering and site leader for Northrop Grumman’s Manned Aircraft Design Center of Excellence in Melbourne, Fla.

Other meeting highlights include:

  • The Board approved the Reverse Transfer Statewide Articulation Agreement. 
  • The Board approved the Master of Science in Applied Data Science, at New College of Florida.

For more information, consult the meeting’s official minutes at The Board’s next meeting is June 22, 2021 at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.


Facts about the State University System of Florida and the Board of Governors

The State University System of Florida is a constitutional body led by the 17-member Board of Governors. The System has 12 universities and more than 420,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation. Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and managing the System’s coordination and operation. The Board appoints a Chancellor who serves as the System’s chief executive. For more, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 

L3Harris Technologies is an agile global aerospace and defense technology innovator, delivering end-to-end solutions that meet customers’ mission-critical needs. The company provides advanced defense and commercial technologies across air, land, sea, space and cyber domains.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense, and cyberspace to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers worldwide. They define possible every day using science, technology, and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Embraer Aircraft Holding, Inc. is Embraer’s wholly owned U.S. subsidiary. Embraer is a Brazilian aerospace conglomerate that produces commercial, military, executive and agricultural aircraft and provides aeronautical services. 

Redwire is a new leader in mission critical space solutions and high reliability components for next generation space systems and infrastructure.  With decades of flight heritage combined with the agile and innovative culture of a commercial space platform.  Redwire is uniquely positioned to deliver end-to-end solutions to meet the needs of our customers and advance the future of space exploration.