February 25, 2016

Minutes of the Rotary Meeting – February 25, 2016
By: Henry R. Seawell, IV
Invocation, Song, Music and Pledge
Robbie McClure called the meeting to order. John Pisarkiewicz gave the invocation.
Tommy Blankenship led the song and pledge.
Introduction of Guests and Visitors: Tom Martenstein
Student Guest: The student of the week was Sara Taylor from St. Luke’s Episcopal School, introduced by Saty Putcha.
New Members: Thkisha Sanago and Suntrease Williams-Maynard, both of which were introduced by Rosie Chambers.
Announcements: Rotary Club of West Mobile has moved their weekly meeting to Briquettes on Montlimar Road, effective March 3, 2016. Ken Niemeyer announced a partnership between Rotary Club of Mobile and Big Brothers Big Sisters, which has led to the building of six free lending libraries.
Speaker: Bill Sisson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce was introduced by John Dukes and provided a presentation on “Mobile’s Economic Outlook.”
Mr. Sisson began his presentation by citing to the “State of the Economy” in Alabama, an arrangement that was developed by the Mobile Chamber of Commerce (“Chamber”) in December 2015. According to the Chamber’s research, 82% of Mobilians expect more growth in our economy in 2016 compared to the previous year, and a majority of employers anticipate growing their numbers this year. Additionally, local contractors are experiencing a backlog of work, but their progress is somewhat stymied by a lack of skilled laborers.
The top economic issues in Mobile were identified as increasing the number of skilled workers through enhanced job training, developing local and regional job growth, and improving our infrastructure. Key challenges include economic uncertainty, regulatory restrictions, and the monitoring of consumer spending.
A number of impressive accolades were mentioned that should offer excitement to all Mobilians, including:
– Forbes listing Mobile first among cities in new manufacturing opportunities.
– Business Facilities ranking Mobile as the city with the second highest growth potential.
– The United States Department of Commerce naming Mobile as one of its twelve nationally designated manufacturing communities.
Mobile has experienced a 38% increase in manufacturing jobs in the last five years, as well as a 23% increase in wages. The city boasts the second largest manufacturing facility in the state of Alabama, Austal USA, and is home to Airbus’ only “Center of Excellence” in the United States. Mr. Sisson pointed out that the Hamburg, Germany aviation center has afforded that community with 40,000 jobs in its twenty years of development. The Chamber is presently poised to open a “Business Incubator” at a facility on St. Louis St. for the stated purpose of assisting start-up companies to flourish in the areas of manufacturing and distribution.
In summation, the state of the city is strong!
The meeting was adjourned.