Dittus firm promotes Gulf jobs coalition

WASHINGTON: Story Partners, the firm founded by public affairs veteran Gloria Dittus, helped develop a coalition to advocate for jobs, including a $40 billion federal contract, in the Gulf Coast.

WASHINGTON: Story Partners, the firm founded by public affairs veteran Gloria Dittus, helped develop a coalition to advocate for jobs, including a $40 billion federal contract, in the Gulf Coast.

The “Ready 4 Takeoff” coalition represents 55 regional business groups, companies, and municipal agencies in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

It was launched to address job creation and sustainability in the Gulf, following Hurricane Katrina, the oil spill and the ensuing moratorium on offshore drilling, said Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, one of the coalition's member companies.

“It's important to come together to address these issues,” he said.

Smith, who noted that the coalition is not being funded by BP, said the goal is to “bolster the economy along the Gulf.”

The coalition is pushing the federal government to buy domestic seafood for the military as well as for school lunch programs as a way to increase demand. It is also advocating to secure Mobile, AL, as the site for a $40 billion contract from the federal government to build the KC-45 Real Tanker, which could create "thousands" of jobs in Alabama, said Smith.

Coalition members include Airbus Americas, the Merrill Land Company, Greater New Orleans, SmartSynch, and the Gulf Coast Business Council. More than 30 of the coalition's members are based in Alabama.

The launch event was held August 26 in New Orleans. Federal officials and members of the Administration visited New Orleans the same week to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The firm is handling communications for the coalition, including the use of its website, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube pages. It is also planning events in Washington and town hall meetings in the Gulf Coast.

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