Energy supply and cost is always a critical consideration when a company decides on a location for their business or expansion, and representatives from Alabama Power, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative and North Alabama Industrial Development Association, which represents the TVA power distribution region, participated in select meetings and fielded questions about pricing, timing and ability to serve company needs.
However, representatives of each of the providers said their attendance at the air show was about far more than relaying information about their services.
“The reason that we participate in economic development at places like the Paris Air Show is because we want to create jobs for the people we serve,” said Seth Hammett, Vice President of Business Development for PowerSouth. “It’s not about selling electricity, it’s about creating quality of life. … Our three different companies all work together in a statewide fashion to support the Department of Commerce in job creation.”
Patrick Murphy, Economic and Community Development Manager for Alabama Power, said the electric utility has been involved in economic development for decades. “Quality growth in our state is good for Alabama Power as it is good for any company operating in Alabama,” he said.
Murphy said his focus at the air show was not on discussions around energy but rather around a broad range of topics such as workforce, infrastructure and real estate.
“We are able to speak to our experience on the ground with all of these things, and I think companies appreciate hearing that from the corporate side,” he said.
Tate Godfrey, President and CEO of the North Alabama Industrial Development Association, participated in air show meetings as part of the Huntsville delegation, which was the largest city delegation on the trip. He said he has been proud to be a part of the event this year.
“The win for Alabama this year has been the buzz and the presence that everyone is noticing about our state,” Godfrey said. “Everyone in the state should to be proud of that. There are a lot of economic development organizations here. You walk around their booths and see what’s going on and it just doesn’t have the same energy that Alabama is delivering.”