CHARLOTTE – In 17 months, Charlotte will host the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Thursday night, Charlotte business professionals met, to begin their efforts in ensuring local companies get work, make money and give back to the community during the week-long event.
Charlotte Special Events Coordinator Peter Cuocolo has his mind squarely centered on September 2012.
"It's a once in a lifetime event here in Charlotte," Cuocolo said.
The Democratic National Convention will not only thrust the Queen City onto the international stage, it will also give local businesses a rare chance to show off Charlotte and accommodate thousands of new visitors.
"All of us, the entire hospitality industry is completely overwhelmed by this opportunity,” Cuocolo said.
Charlotte business professionals are already brainstorming ways to ensure businesses can benefit from the DNC convention. Founder Jason Mckinstry has taken input and ideas from officials in Denver, the 2008 DNC convention host.
"What they told me is that you have to be ready to go and get the work and prove yourself once you're there,” Mckinstry said.
Mckinstry said if local companies succeed in providing convention services, he's confident the event will also create a new buzz for business relocation, long after the confetti is picked up.
"When the drapes close for the DNC, it's wide open for us," Mckinstry said.
Meanwhile, Cuocolo said his company is rolling, as its finalizing a tour and event package from Democratic party delegates in the far flung destinations of Guam and Alaska.
"What it's going to be bringing into Charlotte is an unlimited amount of business, galas, special events," Cuocolo said.
The DNC Convention is expected to bring 30,000 to 35,000 visitors and pump in an economic impact of between $150 and $200 million.