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Collaboration at Work: Connecticut at the International Air Show in Paris

Posted on by Kristi Sullivan

Since 2006, Connecticut annually has had a strong presence at the International Airshow for the aerospace industry – and this year, I had the great fortune to attend first-hand, in-person, on-site. CERC has been a part of the team behind-the-scenes for 14 years (wow!) – from coordinating the booth graphics and shipping of materials, to overall logistical details, branding and PR. This year’s show took place in Paris, and I accompanied the Connecticut contingent, which included reps from 11 aerospace companies led by the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

 Numerous tasks happened during the week to help make this show a success for the participants. From ensuring the booth buildout to arranging for van transportation to hosting a special reception at the trade show for companies and guests -- the “devil is in the details” so to speak and made for an intense five days.

The companies from Connecticut are annually asked to track their business meetings and results for the state to determine the overall success. Last year, for example, Connecticut companies exhibiting in the booth reported making 122 significant contacts at the show and estimated $19 million in sales 18-24 months out. Since 2010 alone, CT companies in the booth estimate $381 million in sales.

 The show is an important part of Connecticut’s economic development efforts, and CERC is proud to be a part of the collaborative efforts. Check out some of the posts on our social media channels to see photos and news straight from Paris!  And meanwhile, below is a media pitch that provides more information about the 2019 efforts:

Fifty years ago next month, two men landed on the moon using things like the space suit and fuel cells that were developed in Connecticut. Today, Connecticut’s aerospace sector boasts some of the state’s fastest-growing companies, and the world is about to find out why. Eleven of those companies comprised the Connecticut delegation to the Paris International Air Show June 17-23.

They showed off their products and capabilities in a pavilion sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.

This year’s roster included:

  • Aero Gear, Windsor, which designs, engineers and manufactures gears and gearbox assemblies;
  • Connecticut Coining, Bethel, which makes housings, shields, rings and other parts for aerospace contractors; 
  • DRT Aerospace, Meriden and Winsted, new to the Connecticut pavilion this year, which makes small and large airfoils and complex contoured machined parts, and which is experiencing significant job growth;
  • EDAC Technologies, in Cheshire, Glastonbury, Newington and East Windsor, which makes precision components for original-equipment manufacturers and maintenance-repair-overhaul services, and which has added about 200 employees in the last three years;
  • First Aviation Services, Westport, which provides repair and overhaul and related services to the aviation industry;
  • Fluid Forming Technologies, New Milford, which provides equipment used in sheet metal process and forming applications for the aerospace industry;
  • Jonal Laboratories, Meriden, which makes elastomer seals and provides elastomer sealing solutions, and whose workforce has doubled to 125 in the past 18 months;
  • New England Airfoil Products / Pietro Rosa TBM, Farmington, which makes parts and components for gas-turbine engines, and which has added 40 employees in the last six months;
  • PCX Aerostructures, Newington, which makes large structural airframe assemblies including wing, fuselage and engine components;
  • Precision Sensors, Milford, which provides switches and sensors for commercial and private aircraft, missiles and launchers, and whose workforce has been growing 10 percent a year for several years; and
  • Whitcraft Group, Eastford, which makes sheet-metal assemblies and precision-machined components.

Being part of the Connecticut pavilion affords these companies face-to-face access to customers and potential customers they most likely could not afford on their own. Company executives elaborated on this partnership between state and industry, the benefits of attending the air show and how Connecticut's aerospace industry competes on the global stage.

“The state’s support for our participation in the PAS means we can bring two more employees, which gives us more opportunities to meet with current and potential customers,” says Ken Keegan executive vice president, Jonal Laboratories.

“The opportunity to participate, with the state’s assistance, is of tremendous value,” says Dan Cleary, director of business development for EDAC Technologies. “The partnership opportunities provided by the state are invaluable. This has proven to be instrumental in EDAC’s growth.”

“It gives us a very easy, low-cost method to get international exposure,” says Clive Cunliffe of New England Airfoil Products. “The Connecticut pavilion is well recognized and has ‘blue chip’ status at the air show, which adds to our credibility on the international stage.”

“Paris will help us gain relevance in the aerospace marketplace,” says Sam Delaney, regional accounts manager for DRT Aerospace.

And the exposure pays off – in fact, it’s led to more than $381 million in sales for companies in the Connecticut pavilions at the semi-annual Farnborough and Paris airshows.

In addition to co-sponsoring the pavilion, DECD helps companies apply for and obtain grants from the State Trade and Expansion Program, which defray some of the costs of building their exporting businesses.

This year’s Paris International Air Show featured more than 2,300 exhibitors from 48 countries and drew more than 200,000 visitors.