Welcome to the Alliance weekly update. This is one of the hardest reports that I have faced in my nearly 6 years with the Alliance. The week started with something that I was truly proud of. I sat Monday with several hundred of my closest friends and watched the Martin Luther King celebration at the Ashland Transportation Center. I heard speakers, that were always better at speaking than me, celebrate the life of a man that fought to overcome hardship, that wanted to bring prosperity to all and knew what right was often hard.

I watched as our community honored one of our own in awarding Dr. Larry Ferguson the NAACP award. I heard the quotes of the man the day was to honor. I want to use one of his quotes to show where we are today with the news that followed this week.

I have never had a day in my professional career where we lost 1,000 jobs in one day. As of today, we don’t know the total impact this will have on our economy but, we do know it is large. There are partners that want to fill the gaps of this closure. There are competitors that need the talent. But it is a hard day for all. For those 1,000 families directly effected we are working day and night to build a new economy here with new opportunities. This is why we are here. To deal with the hard, to give a voice to the chance of building a new course, one with hope.

We do not take lightly this undertaking. We can be successful here and now! I meet with a new company today that if we are successful will add 40 jobs. It’s not 1,000! But it is a start. I met with two companies this week that are looking for an opportunity. They want to build their own way, hire people and build a future. For all those 1,000 families, I am sorry. For others that employ and drive this economy we appreciate you and your service to all.

We all have a dream that we desire to see unfold. If you can’t fly then run….we just have to keep moving. We are worthy. Let’s make all our dreams into reality. You have my commitment this is not just a dream, we will and are going to offer even more to change the pathway forward.

This is our commitment to you.

— Tim, Missy, Susan, and Kari
Ashland Allinace