Good Friday the 13th to you, our members, friends, and partners. I start this report off sitting in the Orlando Airport waiting on flights to bring me back to the Commonwealth. This week has been a special week for the Ashland Alliance and me. We partnered with One East Kentucky, our economic development friends from the south to recruit aviation-based businesses at the MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Operating) Americas Show in Orlando.
Before you think, Florida, wish I was there; these shows are a lot of work too! Over the last 3.5 days, our group had 12 meetings with companies that are actively looking for expansion locations. In each of these meetings, we had the chance to share what we have to offer and make a business case for Northeast Kentucky. Not only did I get to sit down, one-on-one one with decision makers but we also had a booth at the show.
Our team (Amanda Clark and Kari Huffman represented the Ashland Alliance) made contact with many companies who stopped by to find out all about what we do. These conversations brought us home with additional companies to contact about their expansion or relocation plans. What is interesting about many of these meetings is the lack of knowledge of our area. It's not that we have to overcome any negative stereotypical conceptions it's that they had never thought of us when it was time to consider locations for expansion. Well, those times are changing!
We have an economic case to make. We have people with skills that want to work. Across the country, there is a shortage of skilled labor. With our location, workers, and momentum, we have a chance to change the future of our region. This week, we were blessed to share who we are and how we can compete and win. Creating a pipeline of opportunity is a laborious process but, in the end, is very rewarding for you and our area.
I have to give a shout out to the staff of the Alliance. When I'm gone duties, don't stop, everyone has to step up. The support and professionalism of the Alliance staff is first rate. I don't believe there is a more dedicated group of professionals anywhere than what we have. The work we do is indeed a job but, if you ask any of them, it means more than that. It is a way to make their community stronger, give their families a chance to live here and have a good life.
Thank you for the few minutes to share what we have been working towards this week. Not all weeks of the year are we able to build the pipeline of projects for the future and this was one of them. Yes, we missed the snow of Monday and the 80- degree temperature of Friday. But, this was a good week and hopefully one that can pay rewards for years to come.
Have a great weekend and let us build a stronger community and region.
—Tim Gibbs, Ashland Alliance President and CEO