Q&A with Leslie Orr, ADS manager

ADS manager for Northern Ireland Leslie Orr is passionate about helping member companies within the region’s aerospace, defence and security industries to survive and thrive in the global downturn.

How did you get your start in aviation?

As a 16-year-old school RAF Air Cadet, I remember being strapped into a glider at Lossiemouth air base in Scotland. Fear grew as the “bungee” rope attached to the front of the glider was stretched by the launch winch. As the tension in the rope was cracked up it was like that moment of trepidation at the start of a roller-coaster ride. Then the pilot released the tail hook and we launched. There was rush, g force and amazing wind noise, then we were up, the rope was released and as we glided there was silence, peace and the thrill of flight.

What does your job at ADS NI involve?

The aerospace, defence and security industry is a major contributor to the Northern Ireland economy, with more than 8,000 employees. Major firms like Bombardier, Thales, B/E Aerospace and RFD Beaufort have substantial operations in Northern Ireland and there is a very strong SME base of design and supply chain companies. The industry is supported by world-class research centres at Queen’s University and the University of Ulster.

My role is to help grow the sector, to provide member value. This involves working closely with government and particularly Invest NI. It involves business development, delivering business events, international business leads and contacts. It involves bringing the sector together to help form clusters. It also involves promoting business improvement and quality excellence through programmes such as SC21 (Supply Chains for the 21st Century). Read more…

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(Photo: ADS Northern Ireland)

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