About Us

Staff Directory

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.




R. Christopher Platé     

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 in 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.


Ron Mahle, KPPAE 

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 / Marketing Specialist





Jan Ball  

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.


Lynell Hillhouse 

Administrative Assistant II


Lynell started with economic development in 2016.  She is responsible for managing the office's daily operations and supporting special events, like the annual Groundhog Day event and annual "Hook & Slice" Industry Appreciation event.  Lynell is the administrative support for the Monroe-Union County Economic Development Board of Advisors and maintains all activities of their meetings, minutes, and member assistance.

Lynell is originally from Australia and studied at the American Institute of Banking and has an Early Childhood Development Certification via the United States Air Force.  She comes to our office with a background in banking, office administration, and governmental tax administration and clerk duties.  She resides in Union County, is married and has three sons.




Feature News

Gander Mountain to reopen three Charlotte-area stores under a new name

05 January 2018 - The popular hunting store Gander Mountain is reopening three stores in the Charlotte area under a new name: Gander Outdoors. Monroe's store is one of the stores that are re-opening.

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