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EVENTS NEWS Last modified on April 20, 2015

All roads lead to Atlanta

Joe Folz, chairman of the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance and vice president, general counsel and secretary of Porsche Cars North America reflects on how the alliance is helping the Hartsfield-Jackson area power Metro Atlanta’s future.

Everyone knows Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest. It serves 250,000 travellers and moves 2,000 metric tons of freight daily.

It is Georgia’s economic engine, directly responsible for over 50,000 jobs and indirectly responsible for thousands more. Passenger and cargo traffic are increasing dramatically and Hartsfield-Jackson’s positive impact will continue growing.

We need to use the airport’s power to deliver maximum economic benefit, while preparing it to drive Georgia's economy for coming decades.

It makes sense to use this fabulous asset to generate excellent development in surrounding communities. The Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance will do that.
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Alliance members are committed to creating a community around the airport that will attract headquarters, businesses, retail, and housing. Development will improve the lives of everyone in the adjacent communities.

Places with less to offer than metro Atlanta have used airports as anchors for thriving communities. Our airport is bigger, better, closer to our fabulous city, and its neighbours need and want great jobs.

The seeds of the Alliance were planted during the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Fifty Forward visioning effort. Participants all cited the importance of development around Hartsfield-Jackson.

That idea was incorporated into ARC’s PLAN 2040. ARC engaged local governments, chambers of commerce, businesses, and others in the vicinity of Hartsfield-Jackson to build support. Now, we have an organisation to help develop an aerotropolis with Hartsfield-Jackson as its centrepiece.

Our aerotropolis is further along than some might think. Delta Air Lines, Chick-fil-A and other great companies have their headquarters near the airport, and my company, Porsche Cars North Americ, is proud to join them there.

There will be redevelopment not only at the old Ford plant site, but also a logistics hub at Fort Gillem and new airport hotels, with great promise of more to come.

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The Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance will focus leadership and resources by bringing local government and business leaders to the same table. Together we will create a vibrant business hub and a gateway to the region.

Alliance members have identified several goals. We will enhance aesthetics, branding, and safety around the airport and in nearby communities by improving signage, cleaning up roadways, and similar activities.

Funding will come from members and, potentially from the new Airport West Community Improvement District and other CIDs to be formed.

We will sponsor an international airport development conference that will attract hundreds of global airport and development professionals to see the potential power of an aerotropolis in metro Atlanta.

Longer-term, the Alliance will create a blueprint for development and a marketing strategy to attract high-wage technology, manufacturing, cargo, and logistics companies to the airport area.

Government and business leaders know that development in any of the airport area communities will improve the quality of life in all of them.

Our commitment to better amenities and more livable communities will attract more top companies like Porsche to the area. Porsche is excited about the opportunities in our new neighbourhood and we are confident the entire region will join in supporting the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance.
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• Joe Folz will be one of the key speakers at the upcoming SMART Airports & Regions Conference & Exhibition in Atlanta hosted by the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on May 4-6, 2015.

More than 650 senior airport and industry executives are expected to descend on Atlanta for the show, which will feature over 75 speakers, more than 40 exhibitors and a host of airport leaders.

They will include: Craig Richmond, President & CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority; Emilio Gonzalez, Aviation Director, Miami-Dade Aviation Department; Mark Gale, CEO, Philadelphia International Airport; Skip Miller, Executive Director, Louisville Regional Airport Authority; Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, Executive Director, Lambert - St Louis International Airport; and Phillip Brown, Executive Director, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

For more information about the event and to book your place at the show, please visit http://www.saandr.com

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