Kristin Hedger, an executive for family-owned Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing Inc., has been named as a member of an aerospace industry advocacy group that is being organized by Boeing Co.
FOR DUNN COUNTY HERALD
Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing is the only U.S. small business that has been invited to be part of the group of aerospace industry suppliers. The committee has 13 members, including Hedger, who is KMM’s vice president for business development, and representatives from GE Aviation, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, three of the world’s largest jet engine manufacturers.
KMM makes wire harnesses, circuit cards and fiber optic subassemblies, which make up an aircraft’s brains and nervous system. The company employs about 350 people at manufacturing locations in Dickinson, Killdeer, Regent and Hettinger. KMM is in the top rank of parts suppliers for Boeing, which is the world’s largest maker of military and civilian aircraft.
Hedger said the group will advocate for increased U.S. aerospace sales abroad, including aircraft sales to India and Norway, and support the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which is a key source of financing for commercial aerospace deals overseas.
Boeing recognized KMM’s work in April with its Excellence in Advocacy Award. Hedger has been a vocal North Dakota supporter of the Export-Import Bank, which she says is important to helping U.S. companies compete with export subsidies in other countries. She organized an event in Washington, D.C., attended by North Dakota’s congressional delegation, to successfully push for congressional renewal of the bank’s business operations.
“It is quite an honor for a small business like KMM to be asked to join a group like this,” Hedger said. “We are committed to North Dakota families, North Dakota communities and the United States of America. As part of the aerospace supply chain, we contribute to sales that are not only in our business interest, but our national security interest as well.”
Hedger is also the founder and president of the Dakota Defense Alliance, a nonprofit group independent of KMM that aims to help North Dakota and South Dakota companies do business with the Pentagon.
She said the network of parts and service suppliers maintained by Boeing and other large aerospace manufacturers helps to create jobs, prosperity and economic diversification in North Dakota and across the country.
“When we talk about the Export-Import Bank and the aerospace supply chain, it doesn’t benefit just Boeing,” Hedger said. “We are talking about a huge network of suppliers with national and international reach. It benefits North Dakota, it benefits the overall economy, and it strengthens the national defense.”
KMM was founded by Hedger’s grandparents, Don and Patricia Hedger in Killdeer. The Hedgers are still KMM’s majority shareholders, and Don Hedger is the company’s chief executive officer.