April 16, 2008

Christie Miller
(804) 545-5805
State export activation program accepts Bluefield company into March 2008 class

RICHMOND - The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) Division of International Trade today announced that Charlatte America of Bluefield was accepted into the March 2008 class of the Accessing International Markets (AIM) program. The year-long export development program helps Virginia companies pursue new business opportunities overseas. The March 2008 class will target countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Charlatte America is a leading manufacturer of battery-powered electric airport ramp vehicles. Products include a wide range of AC-and DC-powered baggage tractors, belt loaders, maintenance utility carriers, aircraft pushback tractors and smaller tractors used for other industrial applications. Charlatte serves the expanding market for battery-powered vehicles by supplying the industry with rugged equipment that is well designed for the demanding airport ramp environment. The company serves a business segment that operates virtually non-stop.

“International sales offer significant opportunities for Charlatte America,” said Todd Goins, Account Manager. “We are eager to expand our sales in the Americas and AIM will help us to do just that. In addition to valuable capital funding, research and expert counseling, AIM’s export training will give us the foundation we need to explore new export leads on our own in the future.”

AIM jump-starts exports by encouraging a proactive, systematic approach to exporting in order to minimize risks and maximize returns. Participants learn the basics of export while they simultaneously explore sales in a new market overseas. Companies do not need prior export experience, but must agree to visit their target export market prior to graduation, and must attend quarterly seminars covering the basic steps of exporting.

“To support their efforts, AIM connects participants to the tools and resources needed for successful export sales,” said Elizabeth Morgan-Brown, AIM Program Manager. “VEDP looks forward to supporting Charlatte America as they develop and implement their international business strategy.”

Participants have access to $5,000 that will be refunded to offset approved export-related expenses. They also receive pro-bono counseling from six private-sector export specialists including an attorney, a Web designer, a banker, a translator, a freight forwarder and a U.S. export compliance specialist.

AIM draws upon public and private-sector resources to help participants develop and implement a custom Market Access Plan (MAP) for their target market that incorporates the 10 basic steps of export. The AIM “MAP” approach can be replicated to target new markets in the future. Participants are also encouraged to initiate projects to support their overall exports, such as conducting a compliance audit, translating marketing materials, updating Web sites or purchasing export software.

Based on a competitive quarterly application process, 20 companies will be accepted into the AIM program each year.

To learn more about the AIM program visit

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a marketing organization, was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. The Partnership is a state authority, which is governed by a 21-member Board of Directors appointed by the Governor and the Virginia General Assembly. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business recruitment, expansion and international trade. VEDP has offices in Virginia, Belgium, Hong Kong, Mexico, Brazil, Korea and Japan.


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