Auburn Showcases its Role in Alabama Aerospace at Paris Air Show

Alabama was the star at a panel discussion held at the world-famous Paris Air Show held in June at Le Bourget Airport in France, highlighting the state’s numerous resources and opportunities for aerospace companies and its already flourishing aerospace industry that includes major companies such as GE Aerospace, Airbus Industries, Boeing, Sikorsky and GKN Aerospace. The panel was sponsored by Southeast Gas, an Andalusia-based utility involved in aerospace-related economic development in 18 southeastern Alabama counties, in coordination with the Alabama Department of Commerce (ADC).

Auburn University was represented by Dr. Steve Taylor, senior vice president for research and economic development, who joined the panel chaired by Dr. Kimberly Robinson, director of Huntsville’s U. S. Space and Rocket Center. Other members included Dr. Chuck Karr, president of the University of Alabama-Huntsville, and Todd Shackett, president of Southern Union State Community College. Philip Dunlap, director of economic development for the City of Auburn, was also a key participant in activities at the air show.

According to Taylor, Auburn’s participation in the discussion and as part of Alabama’s delegation served a variety of purposes. “The ADC attends these shows to recruit new industry to the state, and they have been very successful,” he noted. “Traditionally, representatives from the City of Auburn and Auburn University have accompanied these groups to assist in that recruiting by illustrating the city, state and university commitments to providing a highly trained workforce and other technical support. It is also an opportunity to seek out potential new research possibilities as well as to scout out possible job opportunities for our students.”

Taylor added that aerospace companies provide a rich employment environment for Auburn alumni, from all manner of engineering graduates to others in business, public affairs and a wide variety of other disciplines. During the panel discussion, Taylor outlined Auburn programs such as internships, co-op education, and many others in these areas that provide added value to employers seeking a highly trained and competitive work force

“One of our roles in research and economic development at Auburn is to help provide solutions for the state’s industrial partners and to provide the skilled workers they need to continue to improve their technology and operations,” Taylor concluded. “That is a key component to helping Alabama’s already impressive aerospace industry continue to thrive and expand and to bring more jobs and other industries to our state in the future.”