Veteran executive returns to head Commerce Department’s Aerospace Division



After leaving the Oklahoma Department of Commerce three years ago to join a start-up aircraft company, Vince Howie has returned to be State Director of Aerospace & Defense for the agency.

The Commerce Department announced this week that Howie will lead Commerce’s Aerospace & Defense team, also known as ACES, as they work to strengthen the industry in Oklahoma by enhancing workforce efforts, providing assistance for business retention and expansion, and recruiting new companies in the state. Aerospace and defense is one of the fastest growing industries in Oklahoma.

Vince previously served in the same role at Commerce from 2015-2020 before leaving to serve as part owner, Senior Vice President and CEO of Aircraft Towing Systems Worldwide (ATS), LLC, an Oklahoma aerospace startup.

“We are extremely fortunate to welcome Vince back to Commerce in this role,” said Hopper Smith, Brigadier General (Ret.), Interim Executive Director of Commerce.

“He is a well-known leader in the aerospace and defense sector and will be able to lead this team and continue the momentum as we work to grow existing Oklahoma companies and bring new aerospace and defense operations to the state.”

Prior to his time at Commerce and ATS positions, Vince retired from the U.S. Air Force in April 2012 after 29 years of civil service. He is a former member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) working at the Pentagon, Air Mobility Command and Tinker Air Force Base (AFB). His Air Force career began in August 1984 at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker AFB.

Vince has a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from University of Central Oklahoma. He was a National Securities Study Management Fellow from Maxwell School of Business, Syracuse University, and Senior Professional Military Education from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Washington, D.C. Vince has served on the Strategic Military Planning Commission, the Governor’s Unmanned Aerospace Systems Council, F-35 Task Force and Oklahoma Careers Pathways Sub-committee.

Source: Commerce Department