A Cessna used for pilot training at the Shreveport Downtown Airport.
The City of Shreveport and surrounding communities were certified today as the first AEROready region in Louisiana. Mayor Ollie Tyler, City of Shreveport; Director Henry Thompson, Shreveport Airport Authority; President Scott Martinez, North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP); Eric Basinger, Economic Development Manager, Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO); and Tucson Roberts, President, Tucson Atlantic Consulting, highlighted why the Ark-La-Tex is ideally suited for aerospace companies during an announcement at the Shreveport Regional Airport.
“This is another great opportunity for us to attract new industry to our city and continue to grow our economy, “said Mayor Ollie Tyler, City of Shreveport. A statistical data analysis of the Ark-La-Tex, a region within a 100-mile radius around Shreveport, identified both the labor force density as well as the skills and workforce necessary to support the aerospace industry.
Additionally, the presence of three-FAA certified airframe and power plant mechanic training facilities at Southern University in Shreveport; LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas; and Southern Arkansas University Tech in Texarkana, Arkansas serve as major draws for aerospace-related assembly and test operations. Louisiana Tech University’s Department of Professional Aviation also addresses the workforce needs of the aviation industry. Louisiana Tech conducts both ground and flight training year-round. “It’s unusual to find as many aviation assets located in and around a city the size of Shreveport,” said Tucson Roberts, President, Tucson Atlantic Consulting. “This should ensure that Shreveport can successfully compete for aerospace projects. The Ark-La-Tex region surrounding Shreveport offers excellent training, airports, support business and pro-business leadership to support aerospace. We are therefore pleased to certify the community as AEROready!”
A consulting team of Common Sense Economic Development and Tucson Atlantic Consulting surveyed and examined the Shreveport area, and its potential to target, recruit and support aerospace-related business and industry. Ten essential qualities in aerospace site location searches were evaluated, and many secondary aviation-support criteria were assessed to determine the potential for aerospace corporations to operate successfully in the region. The study further outlines a high-level recruitment strategy to attract aerospace companies to the region.
“The AEROready Certification is a great accomplishment and validates what we already know about our region,” said Henry Thompson, Director of Airports for the Shreveport Airport Authority. “Now, companies that are looking to locate in our area will know that we are ready for them. We have strong support for aviation and a good foundation for growing this industry in our area. But having all of the elements in place are not enough. We must now work with our regional partners with a clear and determined vision and the necessary plans to present our great region to prospective businesses, and to help them see all that we have to offer. By doing this, over time, we will attract even more of these good paying jobs to our community,”
One of the biggest assets that will help attract aerospace companies and jobs to the area is Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier. Military personnel exiting active military service annually supplement the workforce with valuable aviation skills and provide a ready-pool of trained personnel.
“This AEROready analysis demonstrates that the Shreveport-Bossier City region has the ingredients to compete with any area in the world for new aerospace investments,” said Eric Basinger, Economic Development Manager, SWEPCO. “In particular, the region sets itself apart from others with its workforce. According to the analysis, Shreveport-Bossier City offers a strong level of aviation workforce training programs and value for those skills.”
Other competitive advantages also allow aviation and aerospace companies locating in Shreveport to compete successfully on a global scale: the nation’s lowest cost of doing business; a pro-business environment; a strategic position near Dallas-Fort Worth, a major aerospace cluster; ready sites and buildings at the Airport and nearby Port of Caddo-Bossier; and superior transportation logistics.
“Aerospace companies like Metro Aviation know firsthand why operating from Shreveport makes sense,” said NLEP President Scott Martinez, CEcD. “The rankings repeatedly validate that Shreveport is a great place to do business. We have all the necessary training programs and assets. The next step is to market our community to aerospace and aviation companies, that will create high-paying jobs.”