Kay Ivey kicks off Paris Air Show: ‘It’s a new day in Alabama’

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, center, is heading a team of economic developers, elected leaders and university officials at this week's Paris Air Show.

Gov. Kay Ivey urged an Alabama economic development team in France for the Paris Air Show to work hard to position the state for more growth in an industry critical to Alabama’s future.

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield speaks to Gov. Kay Ivey after the Paris Air Show kick-off breakfast. (Made in Alabama)

Ivey spoke to economic developers, elected leaders, university representatives and others at a breakfast meeting that marked the start of an intensive four-day effort to secure new aerospace jobs and investment for Alabama.

“It’s a new day in Alabama, and we are open for business,” the governor told the group.

She urged them to use their moment on the “world stage” to facilitate the creation of new jobs and investment in Alabama, which is already home to around 400 aerospace and defense firms.

At the industry’s premier trade event, Ivey will join Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, in more than 20 scheduled appointments with leaders from top aerospace companies, beginning today.

Targeting aerospace growth

The team from Mobile holds a planning session for the Paris Air Show after Sunday’s kick-off breakfast. (Made in Alabama)

The kickoff meeting for the Alabama delegation at the Paris Air Show drew economic development specialists from areas of the state where the aerospace industry plays an important role — Huntsville, Mobile, the Wiregrass and areas such as Auburn-Opelika.

Canfield said the ultimate goal of the Paris Air Show mission is build relationships with key industry contacts and to lay the groundwork for additional job creation and aerospace investment in the state.

“We know that when companies come to Alabama, they succeed, and it happens time and time again,” Canfield said. “That means well-paying jobs for Alabama citizens and enhanced vitality for communities across the state.”

Last year, aerospace and defense companies announced new investment exceeding $242 million in Alabama projects expected to create more than 1,550 jobs, according to figures from the Alabama Department of Commerce.

The growth has continued in 2017, and Alabama economic developers are optimistic that the Paris Air Show mission will set the stage for additional expansion.

“Aerospace is huge in the Wiregrass. It’s well over $1 billion in economic impact to our region of the state,” said Jonathan Tullos, executive director of the Wiregrass Economic Development Corp. “Because of Fort Rucker, we already have a pipeline of workers who are trained and skilled. It’s really the cornerstone of what we do.”

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

Republished with permission of Alabama NewsCenter.