Why we go to Paris

by Mayor Sandy Stimpson

Why do we go to the Paris Air Show? One word: Jobs. You can’t be any more specific than that.

Mobile has a generational opportunity because of Airbus and we are 100 percent focused on making the most of that opportunity. Aerospace jobs are some of the most highly-skilled, highest paying jobs in the world, and the competition for them is fierce. To get them to Mobile, we must come here to recruit them.

Our mission is simple. Business is all about relationships. To be successful, we must build upon our existing relationships and while constantly working to establish new ones. The great thing about the air show is that it’s a unique opportunity to network with top-level executives from the world’s leading aerospace firms. Mobile has a great story to tell, and this is the best possible audience to share it with.

Just because Airbus is in Mobile and assembling planes, our work is not done. In fact, it’s just beginning. We are actively recruiting additional aerospace companies with a particular focus on potential Airbus suppliers. The good news is that the interest level is high, our brand is strong and our leadership team is in sync.

One of our primary targets is Airbus itself. Part of our strategy is to continue recruiting Airbus because there are tremendous opportunities for Mobile beyond assembly of the A320 family. The great thing about that is, nobody knows what we’re capable of in Mobile better than Airbus.

Our momentum is stronger than ever. The recent decisions by Amazon and Wal-Mart to build distribution centers in our community are being noticed around the world. The Port of Mobile already was named one of the fastest growing ports in America even before those investments. We are continuing to add jobs in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology. Tourism is growing, entrepreneurship is booming and, of course, our quality of life is improving every day.

We have a busy schedule of meetings at the air show and we have great support from our state delegation led by Gov. Kay Ivey. While I won’t give away anything to our competition, I am looking forward to engaging with industry leaders such as Airbus, ST Aerospace, Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation. We will make sure they know that Mobile is open for business.

We like to say that, when it comes to aerospace, even the sky is not the limit for where Mobile can go. Future generations will look back at this time in our history and hopefully be able to say that we made the most of the opportunity we were given. Paris is just a step on that journey.