History of ADSE

The Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo (ADSE) is a world-class aerospace exposition hosted each August in Abbotsford, British Columbia, in conjunction with the Abbotsford International Airshow. Hosted by the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC Pacific), 2017 marks the seventh year of the exposition, which continues to grow in size and stature.

ADSE is one of a kind in Western Canada, and the largest aerospace event in B.C. It provides an opportunity for the industry to hear government views, provide feedback and help shape future initiatives and policies. Furthermore, ADSE provides valuable networking opportunities to encourage the continued growth and improvement of the aerospace, defence and security industries in B.C. – and across the country.

ADSE takes place at TRADEX in days preceding the Abbotsford International Airshow. Although ADSE and the Airshow are separate events, they provide participants a unique opportunity to attend a high-profile event, and to see a popular public airshow. The addition of the Twilight Show and Chalet Dinner is a fantastic finale to ADSE, providing additional networking opportunities in a unique and relaxed environment.

ADSE began with humble beginnings with the help of Brigadier General Dwayne Lucas (retired). In 2010, Dwayne recognized the need to promote the Western Canadian aerospace industry. As such, on the opening day of the Abbotsford International Airshow, local dignitaries and key local aerospace companies got together for a working breakfast, a tour of Cascade Aerospace, an airshow lunch and networking. A tent was set up on the ramp for showcasing companies and presenting announcements of various success stories.

It quickly became apparent this would not be big enough and Dwayne challenged the team to increase the broaden the focus to Western Canada. Dwayne’s team rose to the challenge, and 2013 marked the first time ADSE took place at TRADEX in Abbotsford. Government officials and RCAF leadership were in attendance alongside Western companies and OEMs. In 2014, AIAC’s new Pacific division assumed the leadership role from the City of Abbotsford.

Various people and companies have contributed to the success of ADSE since. Local MLA and B.C. Finance Minister, the Honourable Mike de Jong, and his team have played an instrumental role in engaging and motivating governments to participate in and support ADSE. Various local companies have supported ADSE and have been able to help expand and energize the program. While it has been hard work, the event has proven successful in showcasing B.C. aerospace capabilities; and now, it is now the largest event of its kind west of the Ottawa valley.

In 2017, ADSE will step up to a new level as the exhibition will be co-located at Abbotsford with the Canadian Business Aviation Association’s (CBAA) annual convention.  Between the two shows, over 1,000 delegates are expected to converge on Abbotsford and shine an even brighter spotlight on Canada’s – and Western Canada’s – aviation, aerospace and defence industries.

Over the past six years, ADSE has come a long way, and in the words of the exhibition’s founder, Dwayne Lucas: “From humble beginnings great things happen.”