Photo by Jerri Mann
A Porsche executive has been selected to lead the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance, officials announced at the launch of the economic development organization Friday.
Joe Folz, general counsel and secretary at Porsche Cars North America, will chair a 20-member board that serves as a wide cross-section of public and private-sector stakeholders from the airport area.
He called for the alliance to embrace the same spirit of collaboration that helped attract the automaker’s North American headquarters. Porsche’s relocation to the former site of a Ford plant in Hapeville was widely seen as the tipping point for the region’s development.
"If we can bring the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance together where we are sitting around the same table and all generating the same level of commitment to a common goal that Porsche found when it was looking for its new headquarters site, the aerotropolis will be a tremendous success,” Mr. Folz said.
Pedro Cherry, Georgia Power’s vice president of community and economic development, will serve as the alliance's vice chairman. He said one of the first actions of the alliance would be to put a strategic “blueprint” in place by the end of the year. He stressed that the alliance would help spur and guide development, not fund it.
According to the alliance, the blueprint will focus on how, when and where to enhance aesthetics, branding and safety within the designated geographical area..
The airport will be leveraged to create more high-wage manufacturing, cargo and logistics jobs. The blueprint will also address ways to attract more international business headquarters. Execution of the plan will begin no later than the first quarter of 2015.
Interim airport General Manager Miguel Southwell said the alliance will help solidify the airport as a primary economic engine for the region while showing its commitment to the areas outside its fences.
"While this airport has grown our passenger service, air cargo capabilities and global businesses opportunities, we are also a vital part of the communities around us. I look forward to working with the Aerotropolis Alliance to further develop Hartsfield-Jackson’s economic impact for the surrounding areas and the broader region,” he said in a statement.
The alliance received initial funding from donations from the Clayton County Development Authority and Georgia Power totaling $65,000.
The board is comprised of representatives from Porsche Cars North America, Georgia Power, Delta Air Lines, Prologis, Duke Realty, Grove Street Partners, Invest Atlanta, Clayton County, Fulton County, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, City of College Park, City of East Point, City of Hapeville, Metro Atlanta Chamber, Clayton Chamber of Commerce, South Fulton Chamber of Commerce and Woodward Academy.