EADS means better times for south Alabama
On Wednesday, an announcement was made confirming a growing number of rumors which had been floating around.
The North American division of European Aeronautics Defense and Space Company (EADS) announced they had selected Brookley Air Field in Mobile as the site of their new aerospace engineering center. Moreover, should EADS win the final bid to construct the Air Force's new KC-330 tanker, we will see a new aircraft production facility employing more than 1,000 Gulf Coast workers.
The process of site selection, which began in January of this year required site visits and detailed proposals for 70 locations throughout the United States. As exciting as it was to receive news several weeks ago that the Brookley complex had placed as one of the final four contenders for this facility, winning the competition was better still.
This announcement, without question, ranks as one of the most significant accomplishments in our region in the past several decades. The total future investment by EADS in south Alabama – which could ultimately total $600 million – puts Mobile in an elite category with other American leaders in aerospace technology: St. Louis, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Seattle.
The selection of south Alabama is also the end result of an extremely concerted and unified recruitment effort on the part of the entire state of Alabama. Without fail, our elected officials, community leaders, and development representatives put forth from the start of this process an extremely unified and concerted effort to win the EADS facility.
At the risk of failing to offer my thanks and congratulations to everyone involved, I would like to say that I am particularly grateful for the hard work put into this process by Gov. Riley, Neal Wade of the Alabama Development Office, my colleagues in the Alabama congressional delegation, the Mobile Airport Authority and the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.
In the hours and days since the selection of Mobile by EADS, I have given a great deal of thought to what this announcement really means for south Alabama. First, there are some important facts to point out about EADS, particularly with regard to its involvement here in the United States: