The PPG Industries Foundation has donated $10,000 to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) Foundation in Huntsville, Alabama, for scholarships to AVIATION CHALLENGE programs at the center. Additionally, PPG Industries’ aerospace business, which operates a facility in Huntsville, has donated coatings to change the livery of an F-16 jet as a “Red Tail” commemorating Alabama’s Tuskegee Airmen who served the U.S. during World War II.
“We greatly appreciate PPG’s support of our Aviation Challenge program, which encourages science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) skills through the excitement of aviation, water and land survival training,” said Dr. Deborah Barnhart, USSRC CEO and executive director. “Both PPG and the city of Huntsville have a strong aviation history, and we delight in partnering with local businesses such as PPG.”
The PPG grant helped fund scholarships for underserved students ages 9 to 18 to attend the Aviation Challenge camp at USSRC. In honor of the donation, the week of July 6-11 was designated "PPG Week" for both the Aviation Challenge camp and the SPACE CAMP program, which focuses on space exploration. Preston Nesselrotte, PPG segment manager for military transparencies, aerospace, presented to trainees, and additional PPG representatives interacted with students during various activities through the week.
To recognize PPG’s donation of paint from a Kennesaw, Georgia, facility, in custom colors that replicate the original Red Tails livery, Dr. Barnhart said PPG has been named the presenting sponsor for a dedication event on Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Aviation Challenge facility for the F-16 Red Tail aircraft. “While this event will primarily honor the Tuskegee Airmen, who trained here in Alabama and served our nation bravely as fighter pilots, instructors, suppliers and mechanics during World War II, we would also like to acknowledge PPG for donating products that helped make our Red Tail project possible.”
Tom Meyer, PPG Huntsville plant manager, said, “At PPG, we’re strongly committed to helping advance the industries we serve by supporting educational initiatives associated with those industries. The USSRC and its Aviation Challenge camps offer in-depth information and hands-on experiences that directly relate to PPG’s aerospace business and encourage students to pursue STEM-related studies and careers. The camp trainees will be integral to the future of our industry, and the unique programming the camp provides shows the value of industry’s collaboration with the community.”