(MOBILE, Ala.) If employees at Bayou Concrete noticed their boss's parking spot was empty this morning, it's because he wasn't there.
Mike Pepper was at the Battle House Hotel in Downtown Mobile.
Pepper was with other Chamber of Commerce members eager to share lunch with Airbus America's chairman Allan McArtor.
"We've been in the market and been here a long time," said Pepper, "and we're proud to be a part of Mobile and call Mobile home and we're very excited about it."
But Pepper and dozens of other local business owners weren't at the luncheon to simply socialize.
They wanted to know when they can get their businesses on the runway when Airbus takes off from Brookley Aeroplex.
The Airbus Americas chairman did lay out some key events and dates for the construction portion of the project, expected to employee thousands.
By the first of the year, Airbus should have chosen it's program manager.
That will allow them to choose an architectural and engineering firm by spring.
A building plan will follow, with a ceremonial groundbreaking set for April.
It's about that time that participating construction companies will be chosen, with serious construction beginning in late summer.
McArtor says, while any company in America can apply, Gulf Coast companies should have an advantage.
"Clearly, having experience in Alabama, understanding how the permitting process works, understanding how the local zoning ordinances work, that's a benefit," he said. "So I suspect most all of our construction will come from either the immediate Gulf Coast area or Alabama."
That's the kind of thing the president of a concrete company likes to hear.
"Well, we certainly hope so," said Pepper. "We've been in the market and been here a long time and we're proud to be a part of Mobile and call Mobile home and we're very excited about it. We want to help them succeed."