PARIS – Alabama’s economic development team this morning held the first appointments in an aggressive Paris Air Show meeting schedule that will see Governor Kay Ivey talk with representatives of 21 aerospace companies over two days.
Governor Ivey and Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, joined economic development specialists from Huntsville in the initial meetings today at the industry’s premiere global trade event.
They spoke with officials from Panalpina, a worldwide transport company with a major presence in Huntsville, and the United Launch Alliance, which assembles Atlas V and Delta IV rockets at a massive plant in Decatur.
Matt Frey, senior vice president at Panalpina, said connecting with Governor Ivey, who took office in April, is beneficial to its extensive Alabama cargo transport business.
Huntsville is the U.S. hub for entire Panalpina network. The Alabama operation has 35 to 40 employees and handles about 880,000 pounds of cargo per week.
“It was an introductory meeting for the governor to explain to her that Panalpina has been doing business in the state of Alabama for close to 27 years,” Frey said. “We’re looking forward to working with her and her team.
Frey said he also had a meeting this morning with officials from the Mexican state of Queretaro to boost their relationship, which could result in Panalpina bringing more cargo to Alabama.
Governor Ivey also greeted Francisco Dominguez Servien, the governor of Queretaro, which boasts one of the most advanced aerospace clusters in Mexico.
Secretary Canfield said Alabama’s working team, which includes Governor Ivey and Commerce business recruiter Bob Smith, has 10 scheduled appointments today at Le Bourget, the scene of the air show.
“Today’s appointments are opportunities to have the governor connect with some of Alabama’s biggest aerospace and aviation companies,” Secretary Canfield said. “This is also an opportunity for her to connect with CEOs and C-suite executives in a way that she has not had since she became governor.”
Secretary Canfield said the Paris Air Show appointments are primarily aimed at building relationships. But the talks often turn up new information about economic development possibilities for the state, he added.
“There are also a couple of meetings today where we expect to learn that there are expansion opportunities looming on the horizon for us,” he said.