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Mid-South Aerotropolis Conference

On April 10, industry leaders in logistics and distribution will converge in Memphis for the Mid-South Aerotropolis Conference (MAC). Christina Meek and Christina Bradway will be live-blogging from the event beginning around 8:30 a.m. So please, bookmark this page and come back often. Also, join the conversation on Twitter with @AEROMemphis using the hashtag #MAC12.


In The Media:

Memphis floats strategy at Mid-South Aerotropolis Conference » Cargo Crunch
"Outside the Fence" vital for Aerotropolis » The Daily News
Lamar Alexander extols Memphis' virtue as an aerotropolis » Memphis Business Journal
Arnold Perl talks Aerotropolis » WREG's Live at 9
Aerotropolis champion urges Memphis to look beyond airport-area blight
» The Commercial Appeal 
Business leaders want to create aerotropolis in Memphis » WMCTV



4:44 p.m.-John Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber closes the conference out: "The people that make up our Aerotropolis Steering Committee all volunteer to make this region better. It's their passion and heart that bring them to the table." /cm

4:42 p.m.-Mayor Wharton: I'm not going to say what success looks like because we're not going to stop pursuing success for our communities. /cm

4:38 p.m.-Mayor Wharton: Aerotropolis is airport centric but it encompasses all four Rs: Runway, Rail, River and Road. But we need to add two more Rs: Regional Relationships. This is not a Memphis-Shelby Co. initiative. We must have a meaningful working relationship with our regional partners for this economic development strategy to succeed. /cm

4:35 p.m.-Mayor Wharton on Moving Forward with Memphis: America's Aerotropolis.  "When we brought this Aerotropolis concept to Memphis back in 2007, it was a name then, but it has become a reality for Memphis now." /cm

4:31 p.m.-Question from the audience about skilled workforce availability: several reps from the companies say that qualified workers in distribution is not hard to find in Memphis since there are so many distribution companies here and many workers come from those other companies.  IDEXX works with local schools and often do their own training. /cm

4:23 p.m.-Next up is City of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. on Moving Forward. /cm

4:19 p.m.-Spicer: our steel is shipped all over the world including: Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Korea, India, Spain, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic and Saudi Arabia. We definitely see export as an opportunity for us. /cm

4:17 p.m.-Spicer: We're the largest recycler in this industry. We have scrap coming from over 20 different states that we use to melt down and make steel. /cm

4:15 p.m.-Spicer: Logistics at Nucor Steel Memphis includes access to 5 Class 1 Rail Lines, the opportunity to take advantage of the strong interstate system, 250 Rail cars per month, 10-15 Barges Per month, 800-1,000 trucks. /cm

4:13 p.m.-Randy Spicer from Nucor: We're currently at 800,000 tons and we're growing. We've recently been approved for $113 million in investment for improvements. /cm 



4:09 p.m.-EBRO North America: (Riviana) We chose Memphis as our facility location because of the logistics assets.  We ship internationally out of here as well. /cm

4:07 p.m.-EBRO North America: (Riviana) Average weekly shipping in Memphis: 87,000 CWT shipped per week via all four modes. /cm

4:05 p.m.-EBRO North America: one of the largest pasta company in the world and Riviana (which EBRO owns) is the largest rice company in the world and the Memphis facility is our largest facility. We're heavily intermodal: 29% truck, 58% intermodal, 8% rail, 6% Buyer PU. /cm

4:04 p.m.-IDEXX: 60% of our sales goes through our Memphis distribution hub.  We have very strict demands on time frame on our products, so it's important to get the product to our customers in a timely manner. /cm

4:01 p.m.-IDEXX:Our partnership with FedEx is vital. FedEx provides early package extraction from the Memphis Hub; samples arrive in lab between 1 am-4 am. It's allowed our business to grow. /cm

3:59 p.m.-IDEXX: Leveraging the transportation system in Memphis: Samples can be picked up in the late morning and then results are delivered by 6:00 p.m. We use commercial airlines to ship large volumes of samples for testing to core lab or route consolidation. /cm

3:55 p.m.-IDEXX is the only global reference lab in the world and our largest facility in the world ir right here in Memphis. We're a veterinary diagnostic lab--so how do we use transportation? We use courier routes, commerical air freight and FedEx. /cm

3:51 p.m.-Richard Smith: On the panel: Bill Flaherty, Director and General Manager of IDEXX Reference Labs and George Ercolino as the Memphis Distribution Manager for IDEXX; Brett Beckfield, Senior Vice President of Operations of Ebro North America Foods which owns Riviana here in Memphis; Randy Spicer, the Controller at Nucor Steel Memphis. /cm

3:48 p.m.-Richard Smith, moderating the next panel: The World is Flat: Memphis Logistics Models. "Aerotropolis isn't just about the airport. This panel will demonstrate that from the various businesses represented here. We see a variety of customers from medical devices, equipment, food, pharmaceuticals, etc." /cm

We're going to take a ten minute break. /cm

3:24 p.m.-Smith: Aligning our aerotropolis's global partners with FedEx's hub has been key.  It has allowed us to build partnerships and business opportunities with growing international cities. Last year Memphis signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CDG Airport in Paris and we're continuing to grow that partnership. It's my job to help build the global brand of Memphis: America's Aerotropolis./cm

3:19 p.m.-Smith: We've also sought out media stories, including Inbound Logistics Magazine, Business Facilities Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Memphis Crossroads Magazine, HUB Magazine, and others. /cm

3:15 p.m.-Richard Smith: First step to getting the word out about Memphis: America's Aerotropolis is establishing a trademarked logo which we did in 2010:



3:12 p.m.-Richard Smith, Managing Director, Life Sciences and Specialty Services, Fedex Express; Chair Aerotropolis Steering Committee, Marketing & Branding: "I've met with folks in China, Japan-they know what an aerotropolis is and they want to be one.  The rest of the world is catching on to this concept." /cm

3:04 p.m.-Julie Ellis, Senior Counsel, Butler Snow O'Mara Stevens Cannada, PLLC; Co-Chair, Aerotropolis Steering Committee, Master Planning & Redevelopment. "Thanks to the leadership in our city and hopefully with the Tiger grant from the federal government, we're going to redevelop Elvis Presley Boulevard which is where Graceland is, one of the biggest draws in the region." 

Graceland on Elvis Presley Boulevard:



2:54 p.m.-Jensen: "We won't go anywhere as a community until we as Memphians believe in our potential.  We hear from people all over the world talking about what Memphis has, but Memphians have to believe in it.  This Aerotropolis initiative is a job creating juggernaut." /cm 

2:48 p.m.-Larry Jensen is the President/CEO of Commercial Advisors; Co-Chair of the Aerotropolis Steering Committee and Master Planning & Redevelopment Work Group.  "The question I have for us as leaders from various communities: What do we think about this as an opportunity? The opportunity we have with this master planning grant is pretty remarkable.  We need to align around our assets as a community." /cm

Picture of John Moore, Councilman Collins, Arnold Perl, Dr. Raines, Councilman Conrad and Jim Covington planting trees around the airport:



2:43 p.m.-Dr. Raines: I've been very interested in the gateways of the city, not just for prospective students but for businesses as well. So the Gateways & Beautification Work began through the Aerotropolis Steering Committee. /cm

2:34 p.m.-Dr. Martin Lipinski is the moderator for our next session: Aerotropolis: the Memphis Model with panelists: Dr. Shirley Raines, Richard Smith, Julie Ellis and Larry Jensen.  Read more information about them on the MAC page. 

2:32 p.m.-Berry: infrastructure drives growth.  We've outgrown the infrastructure we've built in the last 20 years so we're very focused on highway building and improvement. /cm

2:23 p.m.-Berry: we don't have a terminal for passengers at the Alliance Center but we have a FedEx hub there and many other businesses around the airport.  /cm

2:18 p.m.-Berry: today, the TexasAlliance project has over 30,000 employees, over $7 billion in investment from a public/private partnership. /cm

2:07 p.m.-Mike Berry: Many of the planning and strategizing ideas we used 20 years ago for the TexasAlliance project we took from Memphis, so I feel humbled to be invited here today. /cm

2:04 p.m.-Arnold Perl, conference moderator, is bringing up Tommy Jackson, the Senior Vice President of CB Richard Ellis to welcome the next speaker, Mike Berry of Hillwood Properties in Texas. /cm

1:42 p.m. - Secretary Donovan: "With all its assets, rich cultural heritage, remarkable local leadership, and for the first time a flexible Federal partner," there's nothing holding us back. "Let's go build an Aerotropolis."

Memphis International Airport: 



"There are no limits to growth and human progress when men and women are free to follow their dreams." - Ronald Regan  /cb

1:37 p.m. - Secretary Donovan: "Memphis has the team in place to see this plan through long after the grant as been exhausted." Read more about economic development accomplishments in 2011. Then, read more about about the five-year MemphisED plan and its accomplishments. /cb

1:33 p.m. - Secretary Donovan: There are leaders already pursuing economic development in this region, including the sponsors of this conference: FedEx, Graceland, the Greater Memphis Chamber and the University of Memphis. Grants have been pursued and achieved. It isn't always Federal boundaries that stand in the way. You need the plan in place to overcome local and regional boundaries. /cb

1:30 p.m. -  Secretary Donovan: A flexible, locally-driven, Federal partner - that's not an oxymoron. HUD no longer follows a failed, one-size-fits-all model for urban renewal. "I'm here today ... to deliver a very simple message. Memphis knows what's best for Memphis." /cb

1:22 p.m. - Secretary Donovan: EDGE merged seven agencies under oen roof so they could compete regionally. "Just because you have an advantage doesn't mean you always win." Secretary Donovan is not ignoring some failed HUD projects that exist in the Aerotropolis, blighted neighborhoods that push middle-class families further away from the Aerotropolis core. But these challenges are not unique. /cb

1:17 p.m. - Secretary Donovan: "[FedEx] is an operation, and [Memphis is] a city, that proves its value 24/7." /cb

1:13 p.m. - Mayor Wharton: "HUD has changed the face of our community." "Secretary Donovan has laid the groundwork to reshape this region." /cb

1:10 p.m. - Mayor of the City of Memphis, the Honorable A C Wharton Jr., will be introducing our keynote speaker today. /cb

1:08 p.m. - Sen. Alexander: "Why would Memphis try to be an average something else when you already have what it takes to be the best Aerotropolis in the world?" /cb

1:05 p.m. - Memphis has some changing to do, and probably some big thinking. Senator Alexandar's grandfather used to tell him, "Aim for the top. There's more room there." /cb

1:02 p.m. - Senator Alexander: "Take a fresh look." Taking a look at Memphis, a lot of things are no longer true. It's not the cotton capital anymore. It's not a lot of things it used to be. What it is, is an Aerotropolis. And that is what we want to be. Aerotropolis means a lot more than America's Distribution Center. /cb

12:50 p.m. - Smith: "About one in three jobs in this community are related to the airport." Mr. Smith is thanking Senator Lamar Alexander for his contributions when FedEx was in its early years. /cb

12:45 p.m. - We've begun our Leadership Luncheon, featuring special guest speakers Frederick W. Smith, the Honorable Lamar Alexander, and a keynote by the Honorable Shaun Donovan. /cb

11:43 a.m.-Question from John Moore to Congressman Duncan on Next Generation Technology. Answer: It's been a good project over the years.  Without any question, we have the best air traffic technology in the world. /cm

11:41 a.m.-Congressman Crawford: We're going to rely on Memphis and Shelby County and their ability to emerge in this global economy. As Memphis goes, I believe so goes the region. /cm

11:39 a.m.-Congressman Crawford: From someone who lives in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Memphis is important to this region in growing the economy. You have no greater cheerleaders for Aerotropolis and Memphis than Larry Cox and Arnold Perl. /cm

11:35 a.m.-Congressman Cohen: We need to have a transportation bill that improves our infrastructure. We need to invest in the river.  It's my hope that the transportation bill will pass. /cm

11:31 a.m.-Congressman Cohen: one of the reasons businesses come here is to do business with FedEx so we're working on the area around the airport. /cm

11:22 a.m.-Congressman Duncan: I'm enthusiastic about East Tennessee, the region I represent but if I lived here in Memphis, I would be enthusiastic about it too: you've got 5 I-Class Railroads, one of the largest inland ports in the country, you've got a great cargo airport. No other city has as much going on with transportation as Memphis does. /cm

 11:15 a.m.-Mayor Luttrell introduces the Congressional Panel: Representative John J. "Jimmy" Duncan, Jr., Tennessee, 2nd Congressional District; Representative Steve Cohen, Tennessee, 9th Congressional District; Representative Rick Crawford, Arkansas, 1st Congressional District. /cm

11:12 a.m.-Arnold Perl is introducing Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr. who was instrumental in creating EDGE, the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County. /cm

11:10 a.m. - Murphy: Don't get stuck in the "it'll do" rut. Plan everything well. There will always be those who say not to do it. Where will the new roads lead?  /cb

11:07 a.m. - There are six ingredients important to changing direction: leadership, strategy, institutional capacity, financing infrastructure, education and design excellence. /cb

11:05 a.m. -  Murphy is explaining his experience in Pittsburgh, and their intentional decision to change the face of the city. /cb

11:02 a.m. - Other cities around the country have made investments in changing their direction, whether from car-based transportation to more public-based transportation, expanding their airports, light-rail projects, downtown bike and pedestrian paths, reducing or increasing sales tax, improving regional amentities, etc. /cb

10:58 a.m. - U.S. Trend: Almost 75% of transportation-related ballot measures have passed in the past 4 years. Citizens have chosen to tax themselves to build the necessary infrastructure to compete. Where would we be with our interstate highway system? /cb

10:55 a.m. -  Murphy: We are looking at the rules fundamentally being changed. Cities around America have intentionally made decisions to change. Memphis, since 1990, has lost manufacturing but gained professional and businesses services and education and health services. The Research Triangle (Raleigh-Durham, NC) made a conscious effort to change the direction of their city by evaluating their raw materials and committing to education. /cb

10:47 a.m. -  Floyd Harvey, Senior Vice President of Regions Bank is introducing Tom Murphy, Senior Resident Fellow and ULI/Klingbeil Family Chair for Urban Development with the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C. He will be discussing Regional Collaboration in Aerotropolis. /cb

10:29 a.m. - We're going to take a short break. /cb

10:24 a.m. -  Where does greater Memphis stand? We have strong industry clusters, but they could be better positioned. It's not enough to ship the products, we must originate those products that customers want to buy. Memphis is strong in entrepreneurship but low in high-tech development. Memphis has strong freight infrastucture, but the jobs are decentralized from the core. To transform Memphis' trajectory, we must be hopeful but honest. The Aerotropolis project is working toward making those transformative investments. /cb

10:20 a.m. - Leaders will make transformative investments in those three growth markets: manufacturing, services, and clean industries. Our competitors are not resting. Metro areas like Memphis will drive the next economy. Memphis must action with intention to leverage its strengths and transform its future. The Goal: put greater Memphis on a better economic course.  We must leverage and integrate 5 market clusters: governance, clusters, human capital, innovation, and spatial efficiency. /cb

10:18 a.m. -  There were more than 20 markets around the world who did not suffer from the recent recession or have recovered already. They were all outside of the U.S. /cb

10:14 a.m. -  Problem: The bulk of the U.S. growth came from no-tradeable sectors. Growth markets are increasingly located outside of the U.S. Winners in the next economy will be those who innovate in manufacturing, innovate in services, and be at the vanguard of the clean revolution. The next issue of Memphis Crossroads Magazine will feature clean industries in the Memphis area. /cb

10:10 a.m. -  Mr. Lipscomb is introducing Amy Liu who you can follow at @Amy_Liuw on Twitter. She will be discussing repositioning greater Memphis for global competitiveness. Amy Lui is a Senior Fellow, Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.  /cb

10:08 a.m. - Mr. Perl has taken the podium mentioned how Time Magazine labeled Aerotropolis as the idea of the year. He has introduced Robert Lipscomb, Director of Housing & Community Development, Executive Director of the Memphis Housing Authority for City of Memphis. /cb

10:06 a.m. - All of the aspects to a great Aerotropolis exist, just not in the United States. "Memphis has a chance to do this." /cb

10:03 a.m. - We are watching a short video outlining the steps of developing an Aerotropolis.

10:01 a.m. -  Almost half of Memphis area businesses feel their economic future is linked to the airport. The entire Memphis region is better connected and therefore more competitive. Memphis' challenge is that the aeras of industry and jobs have moved away from the core area of the Airport, weakening the economic region. The Aerotrpolis project is revitalizing that core. It will be a marathon, not a sprint. /cb

9:54 a.m. - Hong Kong Disneyland passed on free land and money from other cities to choose Hong Kong purely based on connectivity. /cb

9:51 a.m. -  Hong Kong built their airport city in phases. /cb

9:44 a.m. -  Kasarda is explaining where other airport cities have succeeded and some common themes in their development, including office complexes, industrial centers, high-tech clusters and corridor strings, etc. He's using case studies of Amsterdam and Hong Kong. Amsterdam has grown the core and the peripheral at the same time. /cb

9:36 a.m. -  An Aerotropolis is when the city airport transitions to an airport city, growing hotels and entertainment, office and retail complexes, convention and exhibition centers, foreign trade zones, time-sensitive goods processing, etc. There is a tremendous business impact to this transition. 40 million people last year travelled to Disney World, Graceland, and the Grand Canyon last year alone. /cb

9:33 a.m. - Kasarda is graphically describing the assembly and distribution of an iPhone 4 as an example of our global economy. Memphis' logistical capabilities are an integral part of that global economy. /cb

9:31 a.m. -  What's the future hold? Before 2030, world air cargo traffic is expected to more than triple. Global commercial passenger traffic will likely increase from 4.9 billion to approximately 13.3 billion (over 36 million passengers/day). /cb

9:25 a.m. - Kasarda is forecasting growth in global tourism to the area. Memphis already has strong international tourism to the area, and improving our Aerotropolis industries would only increase that - make us a more global economy. Currently, Memphis enjoys strong working partnerships with two other major global hubs: Paris, France, and Guangzhou, China. /cb

9:24 a.m. -  Kasarda says there are lots of factors involved in developing the economy of the products we move through our Aerotropolis, including such factors as our global reach and the perishability of the products themselves. /cb

9:17 a.m. - Kasarda has done his homework on this topic, showing us a brief slide on the history of logistics through the centuries and their impact on economic development of areas. He's broken the development down into waves - the fifth wave being the inclusion of the airport and creation of the Aerotropolis. You can read about his projections of where our economy is going in his book "Aerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next" with co-author Greg Lindsay. /cb

9:16 a.m. - Inside of the Aerotropolis concept is the surface transportation infrastructure including rail and trucking. Kasarda is not only specifically talking of Memphis, but also comparing to other large cities and airport complexes. /cb

9:12 a.m. - Kasarda is explaining the Aerotropolis concept and how it affects a region, including creating jobs, attracting investment, and improving tax base. He's also explaining the airport's role in the in the concept, beginning with the airline working through the airport and extending out to the region. /cb

9:10 a.m. - And we are back after some technical difficulties. Mr. Moore has introduced us to John Kasarda, who coined the term Aerotropolis and who is the leading authority on Aerotropolis development. /cb

8:59 a.m. - About 75% of Memphis' gross revenue comes from a 50-square-mile area around Memphis International Airport. Memphis is America's Aerotropolis. /cb

8:56 a.m. - The Chamber's President and CEO John Moore has taken the stage, and he's discussing the Fast Company Magazine article describing the definition of an Aerotropolis. Memphis has always been a leader in the industries required to make a strong Aertotropolis. Read more about Kasarda's vision here: http://www.aerotropolis.com/ /cb

8:53 a.m. - Mr. Perl is explaining the specifics of the Chamber's $1 Billion dollar year, bringing new projects and job creation to Memphis. Read more here. /cb

8:51 a.m. - Arnold Perl is opening our conference. He's recognized the Chamber's own Dexter Muller for turning this conference into such a success. /cb

8:50 a.m. - Dr. Shirley Raines is welcoming us to the University and the Mid-South Aerotropolis Conference. She says a fifth R should be added to our Runway, Road, Rail and River tag, and that R should be Research. /cb



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