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Team Volusia Economic Development Corporation represented Volusia County at the International Paris Air Show in June. The event put local representatives elbow-to-elbow with movers and shakers of the aviation, aerospace and defense industries and is considered, along with the UK's Farnborough Air Show, to be the most important events in the industry.
More than 2,300 exhibitors from 48 countries participated. There were 27 national pavilions, 140 aircraft presented in flight and/or at static displays, and 3,450 credentialed journalists covering the event. France's president Emmanuel Macron opened the event and welcomed 290 official foreign delegations from 98 countries, along with 322,000 trade and consumer attendees.
Volusia County's presence was highlighted by the collaboration of Team Volusia with Space Florida, Enterprise Florida, Florida Power & Light, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and others. Team Volusia alongside representatives from Miami/Dade County, Palm Beach County and Brevard County were housed in Powering Florida exhibit hosted by Florida Power & Light located directly across from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's exhibit, all within the Florida Pavilion.
"Florida had the strongest representation of all U.S. states," said Keith Norden, CEcD, President and CEO of Team Volusia. "There were many private sector Florida companies in attendance, which underscored the state's prowess as a player in aviation and aerospace. Having the privilege of being invited to exhibit with FP&L in its Powering Florida exhibit, we could retrieve information on specific sites, data and details displayed on a large interactive screen for all attendees interested in Volusia County.
While delegate traffic was substantial throughout the show, Team Volusia had pre-arranged appointments with eight prospects who were in attendance. "Conversations with all eight prospects were positive and have led to subsequent contact," said Norden. "The Paris Air Show also provided a forum for reconnecting with prior leads and prospects – and there is so much good news emanating from Volusia County that our story was met with great enthusiasm. To be surrounded by leaders of the industry, only strengthened our story."
Space Florida's Frank DiBello, Bernie McShay and Todd Romberger, collaborated with Volusia County representatives, as did Stan Connally, Jr., Vice Chair of Enterprise Florida and Chairman, President and CEO of Gulf Power Company. Embry Riddle's presence at the show was substantial with a contingent led by President Dr. P. Barry Butler and including Senior Vice President Rodney Cruise, College of Engineering Dean Dr. Maj Dean Mirmirani, Chancellor of Embry-Riddle Worldwide Dr. John Watret and others.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University officials announced a new customizable cyber security program tailored to the aviation industry – from aircraft systems to the infrastructure that supports them. Known as the National Security Agency Certificate of Completion program it was introduced from the main campus the following week. "Embry-Riddle is in the unique and trusted position as the higher education leader in aviation and cyber security to arm industry manufacturers and operators with the most proactive, advanced and up-to-date strategies in dealing with potential attacks on their infrastructure," said Embry-Riddle President Dr. P. Barry Butler.
"The importance of this event cannot be overstated," said Keith Norden. "It's essential for those engaged in aviation and aerospace. For us to have participated with so many leaders of those industries, elevated Volusia County's game immeasurably."