RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – If a picture is worth a thousands words then a new full-page ad from NetJets is worth ten times as many.

Sans shoes and ties but resplendent in white shirts, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates sit side by side aboard one of NetJets’ private corporate jets.

Oh, how the world’s mightiest and wealthiest travel.

Wouldn’t it be a nice tip of the hat to the Triangle if Gates, Buffett and their colleagues jetted into our neck of the woods?

Appearing in the new issue of Economist magazine, the ad is especially timely for the Triangle and North Carolina. Economic development folks from this region are locked in an ongoing battle to lure NetJets’ operational headquarters to Raleigh-Durham International Airport from Columbus, Ohio.

With jelly beans and fruit plus a deck of cards on a playing table, two of the world’s richest men seem to be enjoying each other’s company. (Buffett is indeed donating much of his wealth to Gates’ foundation that is largely run by Gates wife Melinda, a Duke graduate.)

The Buffett-Gates ad reflects many of the reasons why landing a NetJets operation is important to this region other than the jobs it would produce.

While Buffett, who owns NetJets, and Gates, who is one of the thousands who own shares in a NetJets aircraft, wouldn’t likely be jetting in out of RDU, the intellectual capital as represented by the airline would.

NetJets is disrupting the air travel industry by building a fleet of corporate jets that have many owners. To add a management team of NetJets’ caliber to the Triangle would would be a wonderful side benefit – from participation in organizations to in all likelihood serving as adjunct faculty at local universities and schools.

The region awaits word whether NetJets is coming. If Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway management team that owns NetJets give the Triangle the nod, the news will be good for many reasons – even if Buffett and Gates don’t fly in often.