Gov. Ivey to lead Alabama team on European business mission

Gov. Ivey to lead Alabama team on European business mission
After two days at the 2019 Paris Air Show, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey will head to Stuttgart, Germany, to meet with Mercedes executives. (contributed)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield are traveling to next week’s 2019 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, Ivey will lead a delegation of Alabama economic development specialists, elected officials, university representatives and others attending the year’s premier global aerospace industry event.

The mission begins Sunday with networking events connecting the Alabama team with industry officials. On Monday,Ivey, Canfield and a small Alabama working team will engage in pre-arranged meetings with executives from aerospace companies such as Raytheon, Blue Origin and the United Launch Alliance.

“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.

“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.”

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield and Gov. Kay Ivey stand at the ‘Made in Alabama’ booth at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow. (contributed)

Growth targets

Canfield said the Paris Air Show represents a unique opportunity for Alabama’s economic development team to forge new relationships with industry leaders 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 said.

“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 and flight training, and much more.

In 2018, aerospace and defense companies announced plans for more than $650 million in new capital investment in Alabama, spurring the creation of nearly 1,450 anticipated jobs, according to projections by the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Already this year, Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation have announced growth projects at their manufacturing facilities in the state.

Mercedes visit

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 more than $6 billion in its Alabama operation, based around a massive Tuscaloosa County assembly plant that employs 3,700 workers and produces around 300,000 vehicles per year. 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 logistics 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 said.

“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 the Commerce Department’s point man on aerospace, will remain at the Paris Air Show for additional meetings with industry executives on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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

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