Ivey leading delegation to Europe for business development mission — ‘The ideal location for new investment and jobs is Sweet Home Alabama’
Governor Kay Ivey and Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield will travel to next week’s Paris Air Show for scheduled meetings with high-ranking aerospace industry executives and to Germany for discussions with the leadership of Mercedes-Benz.
In Paris, Governor Ivey will lead a delegation of the state’s economic development specialists, elected officials, university representatives and others attending 2019’s premier global aerospace industry event.
The mission will begin Sunday with networking events connecting the Yellowhammer State team with industry officials.
Then, Ivey, Canfield and a small Alabama working team on Monday will engage in pre-arranged meetings with executives from aerospace companies such as United Launch Alliance (ULA), Raytheon and Blue Origin.
“Alabama has long been a leading state for aerospace, and we have set a strategic goal of growing our base in this important industry,” Ivey said in a statement. “At the Paris Air Show, I want decision-makers in the aerospace industry to know one thing: The ideal location for new investment and jobs is Sweet Home Alabama.”
Canfield said the Paris Air Show represents a unique opportunity for Alabama’s economic development team to forge new relationships with industry titans and to strengthen existing connections through focused meetings in a single location.
“The aerospace sector is one of our key targets for growth, and the sky is our limit as far as opportunities,” he remarked. “While in Paris, we will have the opportunity to meet with C-suit executives for some of the world’s most notable aerospace companies and to position Alabama for future growth in this sector.”
The air show mission comes at a time of robust growth for Alabama’s broad-based aerospace industry, whose activities include aircraft assembly, rocket development, maintenance and overhaul, raw material production, research, flight training and much more.
Last year alone, aerospace and defense companies announced plans for over $650 million in new capital investment in the Yellowhammer State, spurring the creation of nearly 1,450 anticipated jobs, according to projections by the Alabama Department of Commerce.
On Tuesday, Ivey and Canfield, joined by representatives from Tuscaloosa County, will depart Paris and travel to Stuttgart, Germany, the global headquarters of Mercedes.
The visit is designed to renew relationships with key leaders at one of Alabama’s biggest corporate investors and to demonstrate the state’s commitment to the company at a time of global trade tensions.
Mercedes has invested over $6 billion in its Alabama operation, based around the massive Tuscaloosa County assembly plant that employs 3,700 workers and produces approximately 300,000 vehicles per year.
Additionally, Mercedes is developing a second campus in Bibb County anchored by a battery pack plant for future electric vehicle production as well as a global logics center and an after-sales parts hub.
“We’re proud to call Mercedes a partner, and we’re excited about the future that we are building together in Alabama,” Canfield emphasized. “Mercedes has been a great ambassador for Alabama, and we are fully committed to supporting the company and its hard-working employees in the state.”
Bob Smith, assistant director of business development-European strategy and Commerce’s point man on aerospace, will remain at the Paris Air Show for additional meetings with industry executives on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn