Tucson Tech Talk: Driving Factors for Aerospace & Defense for Regional Growth


Join leading Aerospace and Defense industry experts in a riveting discussion regarding the latest developments and outlook for this key sector of our regional and state economy. 

This year the defense sector is poised for growth due to a global increase in defense spending budgets and the commercial sector is projected to recover from its decline in 2019.

The panel will discuss the latest developments and future drivers for growth.

  • What is the current state of the industry?
  • What are the opportunities for growth?
  • How can regional businesses capitalize on this growth?

Join us to hear about the outlook for this industry and what it means for your business.


3:00pm  |  Registration and Networking

3:20pm  |  Welcome and Introductions – Alex Rodriguez, COO of FreeFall Aerospace (Moderator)

3:30pm  |  Expert Panel Discussion

  • Paul DeHerrera, CEO of Innovative Avionics
  • Howard Stewart, President/CEO of AGM Container Controls
  • Grant Anderson, President/CEO of Paragon Space Development
  • Dan Rice, Director of Mechanical Subsystems for Raytheon Missile Systems

4:30pm  |  Audience Q&A

Meet the Panelists:


Paul DeHerrera was appointed CEO of Innovative Avionics, LLC in the fall of 2019.  This new Arizona start-up company is designing AI based solutions for today’s modern aviation cockpits.  Innovative Avionics AI solutions will assist the pilot with intelligent search and retrieval of data during all phases of flight.

Previously DeHerrera was the CEO for Universal Avionics Systems (Retired in April of 2019) managing all levels: Manufacturing, Marketing, Engineering, Research and Development activities Universal.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-deherrera-a6610b6/



Howard Stewart is President/CEO of AGM Container Controls, a Tucson-based manufacturer with 150 employees.  He is currently the longest serving member on the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Board of Directors.  His local workforce/economic development achievements, include no AGM layoffs in 27 straight years, having over 25% of his workforce attend college, and his “FlyTucsonFirst” initiative is to get Tucsonans to understand the vital economic impact that will only occur if we fly in and out of our own Tucson International Airport.

In 2018, Howard was named Tucson’s CEO of the Year.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/howard-stewart-ba267112/


Grant Anderson co-founded Paragon in 1993. Now President/CEO, he has held diverse positions at Paragon including Chief Engineer, VP of Engineering, Treasurer/Secretary, CFO, Sr. VP of Operations, Chief Operating Officer and others.

Anderson holds a Bachelor and Master of Science from Stanford University. He is married with 3 children.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/grantatparagon/



Dan Rice is the Director of the Mechanical Subsystems Directorate within the Engineering at Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) in Tucson, Arizona. In this role Mr. Rice leads 1150 engineers, scientists, and engineering support staff. 

Mr. Rice’s 39-year career in defense electronics has provided him a wide-range of background with RMS products where he has gained experience across numerous product life cycles. 



Thank you to our series sponsor:

Cox Business provides Internet, transport, cloud and managed services, voice, video, network and physical security services to businesses across the country. Cox recently formed Cox2M to leverage smart technologies for its customers.  Within Arizona alone, Cox owns and manages a network in excess of 25,000 miles, covering both the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas. In addition to the technology Cox provides, the company is committed to the local communities which it serves through programs and charitable giving with primary focus on education, sustainability, and diversity.  





7211 S. Park Avenue
Tucson , AZ 85756


Pima Community College Aviation Technology Center


February 26, 2020


3:00pm - 5:00pm


Free for Council members; $20 for non-members