June 27, 2018, © Leeham News: A coalition of four Southern US states that joined to win the US Air Force tanker contact site location for Mobile (AL) will likely link up again to bid for the assembly line of the prospective Boeing New Midmarket Aircraft, officials of three of the states said yesterday.
An official of an economic development commission for Charleston (SC) said Charleston will also likely throw its hat into the ring.
The comments were made at the Leeham Co./Airfinance Journal Southeast Aerospace & Defence Conference yesterday in Mobile. The conference continues today.
Washington State already launched its campaign to win the assembly line for the Boeing wide-body plant in Everett.
Leeham News and Comment asked representative of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi who appeared on a panel at the SADC event whether the Aerospace Alliance would reconvene to bid in competition for the NMA assembly line.
“Why would we not?” asked Becky Thompson, Global Recruitment Bureau manager of the Mississippi Development Authority, in response.
Shawn Welcome, senior director of Business Development for the Louisiana Economic Development department, and Bill Sisson, president of the Mobile Chamber of Commerce, agreed.
Becky Ford, director of Global Business Development for the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, which is not part of the Aerospace Alliance, said Charleston and South Carolina would likely bid for the NMA assembly site.
The panelists waved away results of a study commissioned by Choose Washington NMA that concluded Washington is the No. 1 choice nationwide for the best place to locate the assembly site for the NMA.
The study, by the consulting firm The Teal Group, ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Key states likely to be competitive for the assembly site were ranked as follows:
Time didn’t allow the panel to be quizzed about the rankings. But Thompson, the Mississippi representative, said earlier that state officials recognize there are some competitions they won’t win and it’s in the state’s interests to combine with neighboring Alabama and Louisiana to bid for business that will benefit the state and its residents.
Geography places Mississippi between the two states, with residents often within an hour’s drive of key economic centers of the neighboring states.
Mobile likewise is situated within a short distance of Florida’s Panhandle, able to tap workers who live just across the state line in the Sunshine State.
Thompson said that a key to attracting companies to the Aerospace Alliance states is “workforce, workforce, workforce.”
Workforce will be a key consideration for Boeing, which faces retirements of more than 5,000 each from its engineering/technicians and touch-labor work groups in the next 5-10 years.
The Teal Group study considered workforce as one of its state ranking metrics but failed to focus in the executive analysis the importance Washington State needs to place on workforce training and its importance to Boeing.