South Charlotte

Monroe says yes (oui) to Paris Air Show

Monroe economic developers recently returned from the Paris Air Show and expressed optimism about eventually landing new business out of one of the world's largest aviation trade shows.

It's the first time the city was represented at the event, Monroe Economic Development and Aviation Executive Director Chris Platé said last week.

"Being that this was our first time going, I had high expectations, and the show surpassed them," Platé said. "We need a way to do that again."

The city, which paid $3,500 for sponsorship and attendance fees, was part of the N.C. Commerce Department's booth at the show. Costs also included another $8,150 in expenses for Platé and assistant economic development director Ron Mahle to attend the late-June show held more than 4,100 miles away from home.

The air show said it had more than 2,100 exhibitors and looked to attract more than 340,000 trade and general public visitors. Among the guests were French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said Platé, who was nearby when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin drove by with his security forces.

The key to the event, Platé said, was making personal contacts to tout the city's aerospace cluster and to try to convince companies to come to Monroe. Platé and Mahle also met with some of the leaders of international companies that already have Monroe operations.