History of ADSE

The Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo (ADSE) is a world-class aerospace exposition hosted by the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC Pacific). 2023 marks the 13th edition of ADSE which will be held in Abbotsford, B.C. on August 10-11.

ADSE is the largest aerospace event in Western Canada. It provides an opportunity for the industry to hear government views, provide feedback and help shape future initiatives and policies. Moreover, 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.

The first 10 editions of ADSE took 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 combine business with pleasure and see a popular public airshow. The Twilight Show and Chalet Dinner is a fantastic finale to ADSE, providing additional networking opportunities in a unique and relaxed environment. The 11th edition was held in a virtual format. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the 12th edition was back in person in Vancouver and Abbotsford, B.C.

ADSE began in 2010 when Brigadier General Dwayne Lucas (retired) recognized a need – and an opportunity – 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.

Next, Dwayne challenged the ADSE team to increase and 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 leadership of the expo from the City of Abbotsford.

The success of ADSE can be attributed to the strong support from the federal government department of Western Economic Diversification along with the British Columbian provincial government. This support, in addition to the various people and companies have ensured ADSE continues to grow. Local federal, provincial and municipal elected officials have been instrumental in engaging and motivating governments to participate in and support ADSE. Various local companies have supported ADSE and been able to help expand and energize the program. While it has been hard work, the event has proven successful in showcasing B.C. and Western Canadian aerospace capabilities; and now, it is the largest event of its kind west of the Ottawa valley.

In 2017, ADSE was co-located in Abbotsford with the Canadian Business Aviation Association’s (CBAA) annual convention. Between the two shows, over 1,000 delegate attended, shining an even brighter spotlight on Canada’s – and Western Canada’s – aviation, aerospace and defence industries.

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