Northwest Florida delegation travels to air show

Special to The Log

A delegation of Northwest Florida economic development leaders is headed to France to meet with aviation companies to recruit jobs for the region.

Led by Florida’s Great Northwest, the four-member delegation was scheduled to leave June 14 for the Paris Air Show, the world’s leading aviation and aerospace event for more than 100 years. The delegation has meetings scheduled with 14 targeted aviation companies at the air show to discuss expanding their operations to Northwest Florida. 

The Paris Air Show, which began in 1909, will have more than 2,000 exhibitors from more than 45 countries and more than 290 official delegations from 82 countries.

“We believe aviation companies and their suppliers offer a perfect fit for creating jobs in our part of Florida,” John Hutchinson, Florida’s Great Northwest chairman said.  “With Airbus coming to Mobile, we are paying special attention to their suppliers in hopes they will locate along the I-10 corridor in Florida.”

The local group is coordinating its efforts with Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development organization.  The state delegation, led by Gov. Rick Scott, has meetings with more than 40 companies at the air show and Florida will also have a booth at the show touting the state’s favorable business climate.

“Working with Enterprise Florida and the Governor’s office will make our efforts much more effective,” Hutchinson, who is also Gulf Power Company’s director of Public Affairs and Economic Development, said.  “Air show appointments are all about creating business relationships with companies and helping them understand the benefits of doing business in our communities.”

Besides Hutchinson, other Northwest Florida delegates include Larry Sassano, president of Florida’s Great Northwest, Ed Gardner, vice-chairman of FGNW and manager of Economic Development for Power South, and Neal Wade, executive director of the Bay County EDA.