Pella Corporation wishes to express our ongoing appreciation [to The Honorable Jim Mueller, Members of the Pella City Council, Members of PACE, Members of SCRAA] for your important and thoughtful work regarding the future of air transportation for the City of Pella and the surrounding region. Pella Corporation has supported a new airport since 1998.
At that time, it was discovered that Pella’s city-owned airport was not rated to safely operate, under all weather conditions, the type of aircraft needed to support the business. While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted a temporary “waiver” for us to operate at the current airport, authorization can be rescinded at any time. Safety has been a major driver in our decision to support a new airport. In addition, numerous studies over the years concluded that the Pella Airport could not be expanded to meet the current and future air travel needs.
As a large employer in the region, creating and providing jobs for more than 2,200 team members from rural Iowa who work at the Pella, Iowa site, and more than 6,000 people company-wide, Pella Corporation believes a new regional airport is in the best interest of all residents of the region.
To best serve our customers, it is essential that Pella Corporation has access to local air travel to host visits to the corporate headquarters. We fly hundreds of current and potential customers to Pella on our corporate jet annually. In addition, large customers fly their aircraft into the local airport. We must be able to accommodate this locally to attract them to visit and to use their time most productively. These opportunities to increase business by impressing existing and new customers with on-site tours and presentations, and highlighting the talent and commitment of our Pella team members, are essential to the health and future success of our company.
• Pella Corporation team members at all levels of the organization use the local airport for business travel. Eighty percent of that travel is by those employed at the middle management level or below, allowing them to have faster access to our facilities, customers, and suppliers, and therefore spend more time at home with their families and in community activities.
• Numerous studies over the years have concluded that, based on the dollars earned by employees and spent on area products and services, a major manufacturer like Pella Corporation provides thousands of additional jobs to the surrounding area economies. Revenue earned by local suppliers to Pella Corporation creates many local jobs as well.
• There is continual pressure for corporations to operate in more metropolitan areas due to challenges in attracting and retaining talent in a very tight labor market. Pella Corporation is experiencing that challenge. It is nearly impossible to find direct flights out of Des Moines to areas to which our team members must travel. Access to quality air travel services allows rural areas like ours to better compete with metropolitan areas when our team members have travel needs in support of the business. Pella Corporation must be able to attract and retain top talent in order to achieve success in our highly competitive industry.
• At a time when Iowa’s population is not growing at the rate of other states, it is essential to connect Iowa and Iowans with others in the country and the world through convenient, safe and cost effective local air travel options.
Pella Corporation joins other regional entities in supporting this very important project. We thank citizens in the area who appreciate the positive economic impact we provide, and who support our ability to grow our business and provide quality jobs and careers in Marion and Mahaska counties.
We encourage you to continue planning efforts for the construction of a new airport to serve this wonderful city and region. It is essential to our ability to thrive as a large corporation with headquarters in small-town Iowa.
Very truly yours,
President & CEO Pella Corporation