The staff of Monroe-Union County Economic Development has extensive experience assisting companies, both large and small, in a variety of ways to ensure the companies remain globally competitive. Our focus is first and foremost on taking care of the existing businesses we have in Union County, but are very focused on recruitment strategies to strengthen our local economy.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SERVICES
Executive Director of Economic Development
Chris Platé leads the team of economic development professionals for Monroe-Union County Economic Development which executes business development initiatives for all of Union County and its 14 municipalities. Platé has been bringing jobs and investment to Union County and Monroe since 1999. Prior to coming to Monroe, Platé worked in economic development in York and Chester Counties, South Carolina and as a business analyst for Moody’s Investors Service.
Platé is an expert at industrial business marketing and recruitment (specifically aerospace), product development, and economic cost-benefit analysis. He works with elected officials from all the municipalities and the Union County Board of Commissioners to increase job opportunities and capital investment into Union County.
Platé started the Aerospace Initiative in Monroe in 2002. Since then, the aerospace cluster has become internationally known and now employs nearly 3,500 employees among 19 companies within a 7-mile radius, making it the highest geographic concentration of aerospace companies in both Carolinas. In 2016, Platé was named the NC Economic Developer of the Year by the North Carolina Economic Development Association.
Platé holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Clemson University, with dual minors in Law and Political Science. He is married with two children.
Assistant Director of Economic Development / Existing Industry
Ron Mahle first joined the City of Monroe’s Department of Economic Development in 2005 and served as their Existing Industry Coordinator until being promoted to Assistant Director in 2009. Ron’s responsibilities include connecting existing manufacturing companies with resources available from local, state, and federal providers as well as helping in the recruitment of new manufacturers to the community.
Ron has been instrumental in initiating the Monroe-Union County Manufacturing Awareness Campaign , a marketing effort intended to convey the positive realities of today’s modern manufacturing as a preferred career choice for young people. This awareness campaign is a true partnership among the manufacturing companies of Monroe and Union County, the Union County Public Schools, South Piedmont Community College, and Monroe-Union County Economic Development.
Ron has over 20 years of economic development experience at the municipal level. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in History and Political Science from Hiram College of Ohio and a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) from Cleveland State University. He and his wife reside in Mint Hill, North Carolina with their daughter.
Project Manager / Existing Industry
Gretchen Carson focuses on building relationships with existing industries in Union County, helping to resolve issues th at manufacturers experience. Assistance provided to companies covers a wide range of areas including municipal issues, infrastructure, grant funding, and support for expansions and relocations in the County and more. Additionally, Gretchen coordinates with the local community college and university systems to support workforce development and skills training for Union County industries.
Prior to working in Union County, Gretchen was the Executive Director for the French-American Chamber of Commerce - NC. Carson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Art History from Indiana University, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in International Business from UNC Charlotte and graduated from the Oklahoma University Economic Development Institute in 2012. She is married with two sons and a step-daughter.
Economic Development Specialist
Jan Ball started with economic development in 2008. In her role, she was instrumental in the City of Monroe securing the expansion of Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) #57 for the majority of sites in the Monroe Corporate Center. The FTZ's General Purpose Site 16 adds to the marketability of the Monroe Corporate Center as we work to recruit and retain companies. Jan also provides assistance to existing industry working with grant funding and special projects. She is responsible for coordinating the annual Groundhog Day event and annual "Hook & Slice" Industry Appreciation event.
Jan studied Business at Wingate College and comes to our office with a background in legal, construction, insurance, human resources, and finance. She resides in Union County and has one daughter.
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