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Locals make trek to Paris: Business opportunities abound at world's largest air show [The News Herald, Panama City, Fla.]
[June 29, 2009]

Locals make trek to Paris: Business opportunities abound at world's largest air show [The News Herald, Panama City, Fla.]

(News Herald (Panama City, FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jun. 29--PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- A Panama City software company and Bay County's economic development director made a trip to France this month as part of a Florida's Great Northwest contingent that attended the Paris Air Show.

The event is considered the largest international air show in the world, with close to 1 million visitors and thousands of exhibitors from the aviation, defense and national security industries.

Rob Stone and Moe Parker of Panama City-based Professional Systems Associates (PSA) attended the air show, held in Paris from June 15-21 at Le Bourget Exhibition Center, as did Bay County Economic Development Alliance Executive Director Janet Watermeier.

Florida's Great Northwest organized the trip.

Watermeier said her main focus at the air show was promoting Bay County and the new Panama City-Bay County International Airport, scheduled to open in May 2010.

She said she also went to be involved in discussions regarding a possible three-state aerospace/ aviation/defense corridor that would include Alabama, Mississippi and Northwest Florida.

"It's an important mission to look outside your borders," Watermeier said.

Watermeier said this year's air show included more of an emphasis on unmanned vehicles and their use, not only in military projects, but also commercial applications such as firefighting and weather measurement and observation.

FGNW spokeswoman Lori Smith said there were 23 people from Northwest Florida who attended the air show, which is held every two years in Paris.

PSA, which was founded in 1988 in Panama City and employs 26, was represented at the show by Stone, who noted the importance of the event. The company's CMPRO software tool had the largest user-base of any configuration management software product in the U.S. Navy, Stone said.

"As the Paris Air Show is one of the largest gatherings of aerospace companies in the world, and PSA makes software that helps companies that 'build stuff' manage their data and processes, PSA was very interested in participating in the show," Stone said.

Smith said other companies represented at the air show included Tallahassee's Capital Avionics, St. Joe and the Haskell Company.

The Farnborough, England, and Paris air shows are held in alternating years.

Stone said PSA might attend the 2010 air show in England.

"Given our positive experience with the Paris Air Show, and the fact that Farnborough is located in one of the English-speaking foreign markets, we would like to expand into (the U.K.). We will be giving strong consideration to participating in the Farnborough Air Show," Stone said.

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