Chairing the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Corporate Committee for the last two years was a tremendous experience, even accounting for the fact that most of our meetings were held virtually this past year due to the pandemic. While the pandemic certainly brought its challenges, the good news is that we seem to slowly be moving toward normalcy—or at least a new normal: my role started out in-person at the AAAE Annual Conference in Denver 2019 and was able to end in-person at the 93rd AAAE Annual Conference in Las Vegas.
The mission of the committee is to foster communication, participation, and value between corporate members and AAAE. Over my two years as vice chair and two years as chair, we were able to expand the content of our meetings and invite several industry leaders from non-hub to larger hub airports, transportation network companies (TNCs), urban air mobility, and airlines. This expansion in the diversity of content and attendees is a key part of fostering a collaborative, successful environment industry-wide. Topics for each meeting were planned to ensure that the discussions were timely and interactive for our attendees. Almost always, there is a portion of the discussion that includes looking ahead to what needs to be addressed in the near term. For example, our meeting topic at the 93rd Annual conference was “Looking Forward to Recovery.” We heard from both airports and airlines regarding what they are planning for as we move toward a semblance of normality and work to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
Additionally, we have updated our committee governing rules by incorporating diversity and inclusion statements to ensure the committee has representation comprising many different perspectives, company sizes and airport services performed. It is vital to foster a diversity of perspectives if we want our industry to thrive as we move forward.
One lesson learned during the pandemic was that virtual meetings can be effective. I am still a firm believer that in-person meetings provide higher value, but now we know that in-person meetings can be supplemented by virtual meetings to increase networking time. This could be a valuable tool moving forward.
Becoming involved in professional organizations and committees can be tremendously beneficial on both the individual and industry level. Specifically, being involved in the AAAE Corporate Committee provides you the opportunity to work side by side, in complete cooperation, with your clients and partners, developing friendships and achieving shared common goals. It enhances synchronicity and allows for increased cohesion as we work to find mutually beneficial solutions.
Shout out to Amy Trivette, AAAE Vice President, Corporate Engagement and Partnerships for your exceptional support of the committee. I would also like to thank all the committee members, AAAE staff, the AAAE Board of Directors, and Mead & Hunt for allowing me to experience what this position had to offer.