What challenges does the Alliance to make its goals a reality?
Our main challenge is increasing awareness. Essentially, here are the assets we have, now how can we make more companies aware of them? For example, we’re trying to promote the fact that we have a composites cluster, because the more businesses you can get in the area in a key industry, the more you’re able to attract qualified employees. Those employees realize that if something happens to their job at one company, they’re more likely to be hired by another, nearby company in the same field. Also, another challenge is that anytime you have business organizations, they’re trying to run those businesses, so networking and other efforts are not always on the “front burner.” We try to keep leaders meeting and sharing information through regularly scheduled events, and to constantly promote the value of the region to prospective new alliance members.
What issues today seem to be increasingly important to the cluster of composites firms?
One thing the alliance is trying to do is make companies more aware of the impacts of globalization. That’s a huge deal today. As we try to raise awareness about those effects on our area, we are spreading the message that we need to be uniting, not just competing. No one knows what businesses need more than the businesses themselves and uniting can make all companies in the area stronger, so they can keep and grow jobs here.