Aviation: spearheading French industry in Florida
e-Toile: Raphael Bolzan, you are the President of Latecoëre International and have headed, for several years, an Aviation Committee that serves as a forum for industry professionals based in South Florida.
What assessment and lessons have you taken away from your participation in these activities?
Raphael Bolzan The U.S. market is highly competitive and the aviation market is no exception, what with the presence of so many global participants wanting a share of the market.
Although with a good approach one can achieve short-term success, which can prove encouraging, the sustainability of this success is the quintissential American challenge.
This market requires a thorough knowledge of demand dynamics and the only constant that exists in this market is that of change, which requires a continuous reappraisal and evaluation of our strategies and resources.
The concept is therefore complex and the group of French companies (or French-led U.S. companies) that I am pleased and honored to have headed for more than twenty years is a rich business experience and ripe with visions for those companies operating in the same market.
After reaching a certain level of growth and success in this market, companies have a similar perception of the differences between the U.S. and the French market.
* E-Toile: The French American Chamber of Commerce of Florida creates and establishes other professional committees based on your template.
This approach works well with other tools of which I am referring specifically to those of the agency Ubifrance, available to companies in order to allow for better access to markets.
In your own experience and within your area of expertise, what are the foundations required to enable French companies to breakthrough in Florida?
Raphael Bolzan We find it both useful and informative to meet on a regular basis in order to share our views, experiences (the experiences of one can benefit the other), "lessons learned," with the goal that everyone try to identify the "best practice" in approaching and succeeding in this market with it being as large and attractive as it is making it very difficult.
Sharing our experiences, whether they be good or bad makes us more efficient, and although some of our committee members are competitors, our meetings over the years have improved their services in this market and have increased their chances of success compared to the U.S. and other global competition that are equally attracted to this market.
The end result is positive for everyone.
Our meetings take place around lunch and sometimes we invite a "guest speaker" that will help shed some light concerning specific topics that are of particular interest to the Group.
These regular, local meetings, in which the common element to be found is friendship, are fruitful and effectively complement other events organized by other institutions such as Ubifrance.
The other goal is to inspire other French companies to come and do the same, to conquer this market within their own individual field of activities; our role is to advise them and help them avoid making common mistakes and to possibly start serving as their “piggy bank” to limit their risks.
To me, it makes judicial sense to extend this model to other sectors of French industry, replacing the word aviation with another variation according to sector. This approach will work well with those French wanting to succeed in this market, with the differences being played out within the nuances and details.
- e-Toile: The aviation sector is one of the jewels of the local economy and an area where the French presence is particularly strong in South Florida.
Do you think she will retain this competitive advantage in the coming years so that, overall and despite the economic crisis, the industry demonstrates good health?
Raphael Bolzan : The purpose of this Committee is to enjoy a French advantage, supported by the extremely strong and technologically modern French aviation expertise, However, I stress the need for learning to adapt and to Americanize our performance as well as achieving a level of excellence compared to our American and international competitors in terms of quality, price and delivery, and most importantly, innovation.
Aviation has always been important to Florida, but it is interesting to note that Florida, being in the south eastern region of the U.S. which has recently developed a reputation for being the most competitive in terms of production, benefits from advantageous economic conditions which attracts more and more aviation companies. .
South Florida with Miami / Fort Lauderdale offers an additional advantage in being the "Door" to South America (La Puerta de las Americas).
Companies already established here will naturally benefit from the growth of this market and the strategic location is well positioned for future opportunities.
Chairman of the Aviation Committee
French American Chamber of Commerce of Florida
Article published on April 5, 2012.