The weather outside was beautiful on July 20, 2017 and inside Henderson Hall on the campus of Tuskegee University, there was a blizzard of activity as community leaders engaged in highly productive brainstorming sessions.
The Stakeholders Engagement Meeting was organized by the Tuskegee Area Chamber of Commerce. Participants were asked to develop ideas for a campaign themed “100 Days of T-100 Support.”
During the brainstorming, stakeholders were divided into ten clusters; Aviation, Business, Education, Employment, Government, Grass Roots, Media/Public Relations, Religion, Social Media/Technology and Youth. All of the clusters developed a list of recommendations for their categories. Each team also talked about actions that can be implemented and what constituency would be touched.
Tia Pierrot and Joe Davis took on the two categories that are simply natural to them – Religion and Youth. Their teamwork led to this concept; “Pre-K to PhD – What T-100 Means to Me,” an idea that can be shaped into many educational formats for any and all grade levels. Elementary school art projects and high school aerospace/aviation career awareness lessons were also suggested as instructional strategies that can engage teachers and students.
Elected officials could pass resolutions of support for Leonardo DRS and the T-100 project. A day of writing T-100 support letters to the U.S. Congress and Senate was suggested. Innovative social media strategies were presented. Welcoming a spirit of regionalism was suggested as a way to gain strength and increase our clout with Washington DC Congressional and Senate officials.
Ribbons are popular nowadays for many causes. The idea of a wearing or displaying a colored ribbon as a symbol of support for the T-100 was raised. How about a billboard on I-85 proclaiming Tuskegee as the “Future Home of the T-100”?
The people at the brainstorming really got into the process and their energy was popping like fireworks at a Chinese New Year event. Their recommendations will get synthesized into a cohesive campaign under the theme “100 Days of T-100 Support.”
If Leonardo DRS wins the contract to assemble T-100 fighter jets, the “100 Days of T-100 Support” can morph into a celebration.
Leonardo DRS has pledged to build a $300 million manufacturing plant at Moton Field and create hundreds of new jobs. This was a powerful incentive for stakeholders to attend the brainstorming as a prelude to the “100 Days of T-100 Support” campaign.
That brainstorming experience was exciting for many reasons. We witnessed the power of collaboration involving Tuskegee University, Utilities Board of Tuskegee, Macon County Economic Development Authority, Macon County Commission, City of Tuskegee, Macon County townships, Macon County Schools, grass roots advocates, aviation executives, media and public relations experts, historic preservationists and the Chamber. They all support the T-100 project and recognize the transformative impact it could have on everything and everyone in this community.