Gov. Ivey at Paris Air Show: ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ is ideal location for aerospace investment

Gov. Ivey at Paris Air Show: ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ is ideal location for aerospace investment
Gov. Kay Ivey speaks to Matthias Frey, an executive of Panalpina, after the kickoff breakfast for the 2019 Paris Air Show mission. (contributed)

Gov. Kay Ivey on Sunday urged a team of Alabama economic development specialists in France to work diligently at the 2019 Paris Air Show to position the state’s aerospace industry for more growth and job creation.

Ivey spoke to the economic developers at a breakfast that served as the kickoff for the team’s air show mission, which officially began today when the aerospace industry’s premier event this year got underway at Le Bourget airport.

“Our job here at the air show is made easier because Alabama has a great product to offer,” she told the group. “Along with our business-friendly climate, we have an unmatched workforce. I am confident our hardworking men and women will set the tone for aerospace around the globe.

“The ideal location for new investment and jobs is Sweet Home Alabama.”

She reminded the group that Alabama just received a Gold Shovel award from Area Development magazine for economic development success in 2018, an honor granted to only six states.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle speaks to Gov. Kay Ivey after Sunday’s kickoff breakfast for the 2019 Paris Air Show mission. (contributed)

High-level meetings

Economic developers from around Alabama will engage in meetings with industry decision-makers at this year’s Paris Air Show, which takes place during a period of strong growth for the state’s aviation, aerospace and defense sectors.

Since 2016, aerospace companies have announced Alabama projects involving more than $1.4 billion in new capital investment and the creation of around 3,200 jobs, making this key industrial sector one of the state’s fastest growing.

“The Paris Air Show mission is very important to us because aerospace is a prime economic driver for Alabama,” Canfield said. “We have a great heritage in aerospace, and the industry is very robust in terms of cutting-edge activities that take place in the state.

“It’s a strategic priority for us to sustain the growth in aerospace that we are seeing in Alabama.”

Today, Canfield will join Ivey in a full day of scheduled appointments at Le Bourget with high-ranking representatives from aerospace and aviation companies that could include Alabama in their future growth plans.

Discussions at previous European air shows have kick-started Alabama projects from GE AviationGKN Aerospace and other aerospace and defense companies.

On Tuesday, Ivey and Canfield, joined by officials from Tuscaloosa County, will travel to Stuttgart, Germany, the global headquarters of Mercedes, one of Alabama’s key industrial partners.

The Stuttgart visit is designed to renew relationships with top leaders at the automaker and to demonstrate the state’s strong commitment to the company during a time of heightened global trade tensions.

‘Tremendous momentum’

At Sunday’s breakfast, Mike Lanier, president of HPM, a Birmingham-based firm that manages construction projects for companies in aerospace and other industries, told the Alabama group to work together to make the air show mission successful. HPM sponsored the kickoff breakfast.

“We’ve got tremendous momentum in our state in the aerospace and aviation industry,” Lanier said. “We’re proud to be part of it on so many fronts, both with communities and companies.”

Later Sunday, Ivey and Canfield attended a business-to-business networking cruise on the Seine sponsored by the Aerospace Alliance, a trade group that promotes Alabama and three other Southeastern states to the industry.

Top government officials and industry leaders were on hand for the cruise.

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

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