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A grand Boeing opening

Charleston Post and Courier
June 13, 2011

The biggest business investment in South Carolina history would be encouraging news regardless of the national economy’s condition. But with the sluggish nature of the “jobless recovery” renewing fears of a dreaded double-dip recession, Friday’s ribbon-cutting grand opening of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner assembly plant in North Charleston provided particularly exhilarating cause for celebration.

And though most of the recent news about the plant has focused on the National Labor Relations Board’s dubious court complaint against Boeing’s 2009 decision to put it here, that couldn’t obscure this reassurance from Friday’s ceremony: Boeing is here to stay — and is bringing plenty of well-paying jobs with it.

Assorted dignitaries and hundreds of workers showed up for the auspicious occasion. The crowd roared its approval when Boeing vice president and general manager Jack Jones proclaimed: “This building is open for business.”

That outcome is the result of effective teamwork among state and local officials in their winning courtship of Boeing.

As North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey aptly put it at Friday’s opening: “In order to come together like everybody did to make this happen, you have to have something to sell.”

So now our community — and state — can sell the impressive fact that Boeing chose to place this $750 million assembly plant right here. That’s already produced thousands of jobs — and will produce thousands more, not just with Boeing, but with other companies that benefit from its presence.

Meanwhile, that misguided NLRB complaint is another editorial for another day. But elected officials and Boeing executives did offer assurances Friday that the legal wrangle poses no risk of the assembly plant going anywhere else. After all, as of Friday, it’s already opened.

Mr. Jones’ pep talk including this rousing reminder: “In this building, our talented Boeing South Carolina teammates are going to assemble the finest, most technologically advanced commercial wide-body airplane in history. Airline customers from around the world will come to the South Carolina Lowcountry to take delivery of their 787s, and we look forward to demonstrating what ‘made with pride in South Carolina’ is all about.”

All South Carolinians should look forward to it, too — and share the special pride of a remarkable economic success story during these tough times.

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