By JERRY UNDERWOOD, Alabama News Center
The Alabama business development team entered Day 1 of the 2019 Paris Air Show with a full slate of appointments with major aerospace companies that could have the state in their future growth plans.
“We begin Day 1 of the air show with the goal of working with the governor to connect with a number of companies,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“It’s an important day for us. It’s going to be a busy day. We believe it will be a very productive day.”
Canfield said he and Ivey have nine scheduled appointments at Le Bourget, the historic Paris airfield that provides the setting for the aerospace industry’s largest business event in 2019.
The day will also include impromptu encounters with company executives, military officers and top elected officials.
“Several of them have near-term growth opportunities, meaning one to three years, so it’s important for us in this venue to get a better understanding how they envision their future,” Canfield said.
“We need to understand what these businesses are going to be like, not today, but five to 10 years from now.”
The team’s first appointment today focused on ULA, which produces Atlas Vand Delta IV rockets at a sprawling factory in Decatur. That factory is now being prepared to build ULA’s next-generation launch system, the Vulcan Centaur.
The Alabama team met with ULA CEO Tory Bruno and other company officials. Joining Ivey and Canfield were Jo Bonner, the governor’s chief of staff, and Bob Smith, the Commerce Department’s point man on aerospace.
Ivey, who spoke at a kickoff breakfast for the mission on Sunday, said she has a simple message she is delivering in Paris.
“The future of the aerospace industry is being Made in Alabama,” she said. “That’s the message I’m taking to decision-makers at the 2019 Paris Air Show.”
Canfield said aerospace companies in Alabama are most keenly interested in how the state can help meet their workforce development needs and how their supply chains can be supported.
He said the Paris Air Show mission is a critical priority for Alabama’s business development team. “Aerospace is important to Alabama because it is technology-driven. It is an industry that is highly dependent on technical skills, and that translates into high-wage career opportunities for Alabamians across the state.”
Business development teams from Huntsville, Mobile, Auburn, the Wiregrass area, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham/Jefferson County are also present at the air show.
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.