Alabama team held 10 meetings on first day of Paris Air Show

Alabama team held 10 meetings on first day of Paris Air Show
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield talk with Panalpina's Matt Frey in Ivey's first meeting at the 2017 Paris Air Show. (Made in Alabama)

Alabama’s economic development team this morning held the first appointments in an aggressive Paris Air Show meeting schedule that will see Gov. Kay Ivey talk with representatives of 21 aerospace companies over two days.

Ivey and Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, joined economic development specialists from Huntsville in the initial meetings today at the industry’s premier global trade event.

They spoke with officials from Panalpina, a worldwide transport company with a major presence in Huntsville, and the United Launch Alliance, which assembles Atlas V and Delta IV rockets at a massive plant in Decatur.

Members of Alabama’s Paris Air Show team are ready for a whirlwind of meetings with aerospace industry representatives. (Made in Alabama)

Matt Frey, senior vice president at Panalpina, said connecting with Ivey, who took office in April, is beneficial to its extensive Alabama cargo transport business.

Huntsville is the U.S. hub for the entire Panalpina network. The Alabama operation has 35 to 40 employees and handles about 880,000 pounds of cargo per week.

“It was an introductory meeting for the governor to explain to her that Panalpina has been doing business in the state of Alabama for close to 27 years,” Frey said. “We’re looking forward to working with her and her team.”

Frey said he also had a meeting this morning with officials from the Mexican state of Queretaro to boost their relationship, which could result in Panalpina bringing more cargo to Alabama.

Ivey also greeted Francisco Dominguez Servien, the governor of Queretaro, which boasts one of the most advanced aerospace clusters in Mexico.

Looming opportunities

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey greets Francisco Dominguez Servien, the governor of the Mexican state of Queretaro, at the Paris Air Show. (Made in Alabama)

Canfield said Alabama’s working team, which includes Ivey and Commerce business recruiter Bob Smith, had 10 scheduled appointments today at Le Bourget, the scene of the air show.

“Today’s appointments are opportunities to have the governor connect with some of Alabama’s biggest aerospace and aviation companies,” Canfield said. “This is also an opportunity for her to connect with CEOs and C-suite executives in a way that she has not had since she became governor.”

Canfield said the Paris Air Show appointments are primarily aimed at building relationships. But the talks often turn up new information about economic development possibilities for the state, he added.

“There are also a couple of meetings today where we expect to learn that there are expansion opportunities looming on the horizon for us,” he said.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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