Governor talks Alabama aerospace growth at Paris Air Show

Gov. Kay Ivey is heading the Alabama delegation at the 2017 Paris Air Show. (Made in Alabama)

Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama team in France for the Paris Air Show connected with aerospace industry leaders at an exclusive gathering sponsored by a partnership that promotes the Gulf Coast aerospace cluster for long-term growth.

The Aerospace Alliance’s event in Paris brought together delegations from Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana with invited guests from aerospace companies and government agencies on the eve of the industry’s premier trade show.

Ivey is leading an Alabama delegation at the Paris Air Show that includes business development specialists, government officials, university representatives and others.

Gov. Kay Ivey speaks with Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller at the Aerospace Alliance event in Paris. (Made in Alabama)

The Aerospace Alliance cruise on the River Seine gave Ivey her first chance on the Paris Air Show mission to talk business with high-level executives in the field and share her commitment to supporting aerospace industry growth in Alabama.

Made in Alabama caught up with Ivey to capture her thoughts on what she wants the team to accomplish at the 52nd installment of the Paris Air Show, which started Monday at Le Bourget Airport.

Made in Alabama: Why is it important for Alabama to be at the Paris Air Show?

Gov. Kay Ivey: The aerospace industry in Alabama is thriving – and we want to see even more growth in this vital sector. At the Paris Air Show, we’ll get a chance to talk with many industry decision-makers in private meetings, telling them Alabama is open for business. It’s a perfect opportunity to tell them about our advantages.

To make sure Alabama remains a leader in aerospace, we must be strategic and work on building the relationships that will bring more jobs and investment to the state.

The Paris Air Show is the best place in the world to do that.

MIA: What are your goals for the Paris Air Show mission?

Ivey: The primary mission of Alabama’s economic development team at the Paris Air Show is to promote the state to aerospace companies from around the globe. I want to personally share with the leaders of these companies my commitment to make Alabama the ideal location for them.

Recruiting companies like Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation has made Alabama a force in the aerospace industry. In Paris, we’ll be working hard to position Alabama for a new wave of growth.

Aerospace is lifting off in Alabama, and we have to make sure it continues climbing.

Arista Aviation CEO Rich Enderle talks with Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey at the Paris Air Show. (Made in Alabama)

MIA: What specific messages will you convey at the Paris Air Show?

Ivey: That’s easy. Alabama has a rich history in aerospace, going back to the Wright Brothers, who set up a flight school in Montgomery more than a century ago. Rocket scientists and engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville made the moon landing possible. We have a great heritage.

Today, Alabama has everything an aerospace company needs to succeed. We have the skilled workforce and top-rated training programs. We have a pro-business environment and a solid transportation infrastructure.

For aerospace companies, we really have it all.

MIA: Why do you want to see the aerospace sector grow in Alabama?

Ivey: Aerospace in Alabama is all about high-level jobs, thriving opportunities, advanced technology and dynamic innovation. Growth in this industry will continue to propel Alabama forward, and is a sign to the world that Alabama is open and ready for businesses to invest in our state.

As the former chair of the Aerospace States Association, I know how critically important this sector is across the nation. Alabama is home to 400 aerospace companies from 30 different countries. More than 83,000 Alabamians are employed in aerospace and defense.

I want to see us build on the solid base of this industry. The growth prospects are good. We just need to keep working to bring home that growth – and the jobs that come with it.

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

Republished with permission of Alabama NewsCenter.