A team of Central Florida Development Council representatives will be heading to the Paris Air Show to represent Polk County at the Enterprise Florida pavilion. Their goal: Recruit aviation and aerospace business to Polk County.

“One of CFDC’s objectives is to promote Polk County as a global business hub, and the Paris Air Show, being one of the largest in the world, provides a unique opportunity to highlight the advantages granted by our community assets to companies looking to establish a presence at one of our four airports in Polk County,” said Javier Marin, the CFDC’s director of business development and global trade.

Aviation Assets

Marin, Alex Price, business development associate, and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Jake Polumbo, vice chairman of the CFDC board, will attend the June show in partnership with Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency. The team encourages anyone interested to drop by the Enterprise Florida pavilion to learn more about the burgeoning industry in Polk County, where aviation provides an economic impact of more than $878 million a year.

“CFDC recently established an Aviation Committee to coordinate activities and improvements between our airports in the region,” Polumbo said. “In this case we believe a modernization plan at all our airports will lead to future international business expansion in the state of Florida. There’s a lot of upside to improving the airport infrastructure in the area — high-quality jobs will follow if the county and cities continue to invest in their airports”

Polumbo praised local officials for supporting aviation growth by providing money for necessary upgrades. “These investments, coupled with federal and state money available to our airport directors and their planning teams, posture us well for future economic development, and will pay huge dividends for decades to come.”

Working with Enterprise Florida allows the trio to promote Polk County as a potential base for aviation operations, especially among companies that may already have explored Florida, Marin said.

“We believe this business sector will continue to grow as a contributor to economic development and higher-wage jobs in Polk,” Polumbo said. “Aviation and aerospace is a growth industry, and we are set to meet new business leaders who want to relocate to this beautiful area in Central Florida.

Goals for the Paris Air Show Team

Marin said the team has several goals for the trip:

  • Meet with companies, such as Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) firms.
  • Connect with companies that are looking for commercial exchanges (goods or services) with Polk County firms.
  • Engage with colleges and universities abroad that are contemplating educational partnerships with one or more of the seven institutions of higher learning in Polk County.
  • Look for ways to collaborate and exchange opportunities with foreign economic development organizations and aviation clusters.

A similar trip to the Farnborough Airshow in 2018 proved fruitful.

“A contact from Farnborough last year recently came to Polk County to meet with different organizations, and we expect to see results in the next year or so,” Marin said. “Foreign investment and foreign trade are more about fostering relationships than transactional. We continue to nurture and build upon existing relationships.”

Polumbo said as a result, this trip is an extension of Farnborough. “We established relationships with international aviation and aerospace companies on previous trips to Europe and want to further those this year at the Paris Air Show.”

Explore photos from the team’s trip to the Paris Air Show HERE.