MESSAGE FROM THE AMAC CHAIRMAN
Dear AMAC Members and Airport Industry Stakeholders,
As champions of airport diversity, AMAC has a responsibility to monitor and support laws and policies that further our mission. We also need to champion the men and women who make those laws and create the policies.
To that end, we are in the process of developing a Political Action Committee (“PAC”) to support the election of officials who are aligned with our goals--to promote the inclusion of minorities and women in employment and contracting opportunities throughout the aviation industry.
PACs are necessary because the Federal Election Campaign Act (“FECA”) prohibits nonprofit associations and other corporations from using treasury funds to support federal candidates or political parties. Additionally, the FECA places strict limits on how nonprofit associations may use facilities and resources in connection with political activities.
A PAC, however, as a separate entity from the Association, can raise funds and make contributions to candidates for public office of up to $5,000 per election with the funds it raises.
We want to support legislators who are, or would be, staunch advocates for diversity and inclusion. An AMAC PAC is unquestionably an important and effective way to have a meaningful impact.
In the coming months, as we make our way carefully through the process of forming this new highly regulated entity, we will keep you informed.
Have a happy holiday season!
Spotlight on AMAC's Shirley Roberts
When AMAC member Shirley Roberts, 77, chose to pursue a degree in civil engineering in the 1950’s, she was among a handful of women in the field. When she decided in the 1960’s, despite her husband’s objections, to go after a pilot’s license, she was once again in rare company.
“I made up my mind to do it, and went and did it,” Roberts says.
That adventurous, trailblazing attitude has defined a full life that is now spent running a successful airport consulting business, Aviation Alliance, Inc. (www.aviationallianceinc.com), and one of her two sons works with her. The Colleyville, TX, resident also enjoys making use of her favorite form of transportation and flies to and from meetings in her Beechcraft A36.
Roberts began her career briefly as a structural analyst for NA Aviation (now NA Rockwell). She followed that as a designer with the Ohio Bureau of Bridges, then as a structural designer in bridges for what is now HNTB. But, in the early 60’s a woman engineer was not likely to advance in her career. She was passed over for supervisory positions.
“I’ll never forget my boss chomping on a cigar, leaning back in his chair and saying ‘A women can’t supervise men. You’re a woman!’” Roberts recalls. “I was not happy.”
Shortly after, however, she got a letter -- addressed to Mr. Shirley Szabo -- from the Federal Aviation Agency (now the Federal Aviation Administration). They were looking for civil engineers in the Airports Division and she was hired.
“That was when I had my first airplane ride,” she recalls. “It was in a TWA ‘Super Connie’ (Constellation).” It was, however, her first flight in a Cessna 150 that persuaded her that she wanted to learn to fly. “The small plane was so much fun! I asked the gentleman I had gone up with if he thought I could learn to fly such a plane. He encouraged me.”
At the FAA, Roberts was determined to learn everything she could about the airport industry which was burgeoning in the 1960s. “I listened and asked the right questions,” she says, “and after one field visit was initially given five airports to oversee.” She left that position as Planning Manager.
She later moved to Texas, and ultimately finished her federal career as an Airport Certification Safety Inspector. “My job was to make sure that state airports met all the special conditions of safety. While I was over qualified for the position, it was fun and satisfying.”
Roberts started her business in early 1981. “My children were grown and I wanted a challenge. As a DBE, she was soon encouraged to join AMAC. “There I met a lot of very impressive women in the industry,” she says. “My networking led to a different kind of business. Instead of going it alone on small projects, I began working as a sub consultant on large teams working on bigger airports.”
“I’m very pleased with my AMAC experience,” she adds. “It has led to some very exciting and important work.”
AMAC FOUNDATION FOCUS
Focus on AMAC Scholars Crystal Young and Ubaldo Ozaeta
In the November 9th Connections Issue, we announced the winners of our annual Foundation scholarships. Over the next few issues, we invite you to learn more about each of these engaging young men and women, their backgrounds and their aspirations. Our focus this issue is on Crystal Young who received the PJ & Dietra Benton Scholarship and Ubaldo Ozaeta, recipient of the Bernie Johnson Scholarship, both In Memoriam.
Crystal Young, 26, is a crisp and articulate young woman who is pursuing a degree in Aviation Management while serving in the Marine Corps. Ask her a question and she snaps out a perky “yes, ma’am” or “no, ma’am.”
Stationed at a Marine air base in Cherry Point, NC, the Mobile, AL native attends an extension of Southern Illinois University and is in her junior year. She also works on Harrier Jets as part of her service. “Not a girly job,” she says with a smile.
“My goal is to one day work for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB),” she notes. But, she adds, “I’m keeping an open mind, because entrepreneurship appeals to me as well.”
With a father who is a retired Marine and a mother who works in ship building at Northrop Grumman, Young says she was directed early toward service in the armed forces. “Actually my father tried to steer me to the Air Force. He didn’t think I was up to the challenge of the Marines. I guess you could say he’s had to eat his words.”
While the Marine Corps helps to pay for her college tuition, it does not cover everything. She needed additional help in order to make ends meet. “So I checked out a scholarship book from the base library and began searching for help for women interested in the aviation industry. I found AMAC.”
“I could not be more grateful for this help,” she says. “And, I’d love to have an AMAC mentor to help guide my career path.”
Ubaldo (‘Oz’) Ozaeta, 26, is a seasoned Marine with 5 ½ years of service and tours of duty in Africa, Afghanistan and Korea under his belt. As a child, he lived near an Air Force base in Wichita, KS and was fascinated by the planes that took off and flew over his home.
“I knew that was for me,” he says. Now, a licensed private pilot, he is close to earning his instrument license. He is also a sophomore on his way to a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management from the University of Arizona.
He intends to extend his studies an additional year to earn a Master of Science degree, he notes. “More education is better,” he says with a smile.
His parents are delighted. His mother emigrated to the U.S. from Venezuela and his father from Mexico. Ozaeta is the first in his family to attend college.
With money tight – he has a young family to care for-- he began looking for scholarship help. With the assistance of his University counselor, he found the AMAC Foundation.
Recently, he searched the web to learn more about Bernie Johnson, the man who left the AMAC scholarship legacy he received. “I was really interested to know about him, his career and his generosity.” Ozaeta says. “I hope I make him proud.
EOY Appeal for Donations
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
Amid the cheer and hope of the holiday season, we also remember those who are no longer with us.
The AMAC Foundation is proud to partner with the Charlotte Trade Foundation to commemorate Bernie Johnson and PJ and Dietra Benton -- members of the AMAC family who lived out the mission of our organization. They were inclusive of other DBEs at the Charlotte airport and built a strong network in their community. Always ready to give back, they had a special focus on students as well, leaving a legacy of scholarships in their names.
Crystal Young and Ubaldo Ozaeta were awarded the PJ & Dietra Benton and Bernie Johnson Scholarships In Memoriam, respectively -- and reading their stories reminds me of the hope and drive it takes to launch a successful career. We're proud to remember PJ, Dietra, and Bernie, and in turn recognize Crystal and Ubaldo, and all of our scholarship winners, as hardworking and passionate students looking to join our industry.
While remembering those who have unwaveringly supported us in our journey, we are able to honor others and share their spirit of generosity, ensuring that everyone has access to opportunities.
Please consider a gift to the AMAC Foundation to help support the next generation of airport and aviation professionals. Join me this holiday season in celebrating, remembering, and spreading hope and cheer.
Lance Lyttle Named Managing Director of Sea-Tac
With Seattle-Tacoma International Airport finalizing plans for an International Arrivals Facility and facing record-breaking passenger traffic, the Port of Seattle has tapped an airport veteran to succeed Mark Reis, who is retiring after 27 years with the Port.
Houston Airport System Chief Operating Officer Lance Lyttle has been named Sea-Tac’s new managing director. He is expected to join the Port on Jan. 26 and work with Reis for several weeks of transition
PHL Airport CEO Retiring
Airport Pay Isn't Soaring (Editorial)
Lack of Competitive Contracting at BWI Airport Questioned
Annapolis -- Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, during a recent meeting of the Board of Public Works, called on the Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) to issue a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) for the food and retail concessions program at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in 2017. The MAA has the opportunity to put the BWI Thurgood Marshall concessions contract out to bid in 2017, or it can keep the current operator, German owned Airmall, for another five years, until 2022, with no competitive bidding process.
“Given the administration’s admirable commitment to saving taxpayer money … Why wouldn’t you ask the MAA to take the opportunity in 2017 to test drive the marketplace to see what else is out there,” asked Franchot. “Doesn’t seem to me to do any harm, and potentially gets quite a benefit, from initiating bid competition in 2017 just to simply get us the assurance that we’re still getting the best possible deal in the marketplace. We’ve been locked in to this relationship obviously for 12 years and 3 administrations.”
The Board of Public Works oversees all state procurement and contracting. The Board is comprised of the Comptroller, Treasurer, and Governor Larry Hogan. The majority of the Board now believes that the BWI airport concessions contract should be rebid to increase revenue to the State and improve the passenger experience.
The current contract between the MAA and Airmall ends in 2022. There is, however, an opportunity for the State to end the contract as early as 2017. Several large airport concession management companies expressed interest in operating the BWI program by responding to a Request for Information (RFI) last year. The RFI had been issued under the O’Malley administration. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn had come before the Board of Public Works for permission to go forward with 17 contracts with vendors past the expiration date of Airmall’s contract. This request to extend contracts with vendors as much as three years beyond the expiration of Airmall’s contract prompted the comments from Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Kopp.
"Expanding the horizon is always a good idea,” said Kopp. “If we continue going down this route, especially if you all don’t decide to take the option to see what else is out there and just continue the way we’re going, I think there is a secondary high threshold of credibility for [leases] that go beyond 2025.”
Other major airports have seen significant increases in capital investment through the issuance of competitive RFPs. In 2014, at Detroit Metropolitan Airport’s McNamara Terminal, four concessions operators committed to $31.2 million in capital investment over an average lease term of 13.5 years. Six of Airmall’s industry competitors responded to a Request for Information early last year, submitting ideas and proposals on how to improve BWI’s concessions program and increase revenue to the State.
“Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Kopp should be commended for their leadership on this issue and for calling on the State to make sure BWI airport is not leaving money on the table,” said Roxie Herbekian, President of UNITE HERE Local 7, which represents airport concessions workers at BWI.
Free Digital Magazines Available to 2015 AMAC Conference Attendees
Attention AMAC Conference Attendees! To commemorate the summer 2015 annual conference, attendees are invited by AMAC and DiversityComm to enjoy FREE digital issues of:
To access issues, please use the following code:
DiversityComm, Inc. (DCI) is the publisher of five nationally recognized diversity focused magazines: Black EOE Journal, Hispanic Network Magazine, Multicultural Professional Woman’s Magazine, U.S. Veterans Magazine and Diversity in STEAM Magazine.
AMAC Issues RFPs for Conference Fundraising
AMAC is seeking energetic local small businesses to identify and deliver sponsorship opportunities and partnerships to assist in fundraising in support of each of three upcoming conferences. They are:
- AMAC's 22nd Annual Airports Economic Opportunity and Policy Forumhosted by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority at the Renaissance Hotel on March 22, 2016.
- The Great Lakes Regional Forum hosted by the Wayne County Airport Authority in Detroit, Michigan on April 20th and 21st, 2016.
- The Airport Business Diversity Conference hosted by the Cleveland Airport Authority. The conference is being held August 19-23, 2016 at the Cleveland Convention Center.
President Obama Signs Transportation Reauthorization Bill
A 5-year, $305-billion bill to address the nation's aging and congested transportation systems was signed into law Friday by President Barack Obama, who said it will put Americans to work and provide states with the federal help they need to commit to long-term projects
After years of public pleas from the construction industry, a forceful lobbying blitz backed by Big Business and labor groups, and billions of dollars in bailouts, the Senate easily passed the bipartisan bill on a 83-16 vote just hours after the House approved the measure.
The 1,300-page bill, which was nearly a decade in the making, was signed not a moment too soon, since the authority that allows the Department of Transportation to cut checks for highway and transit projects expired Friday.
AMAC had been actively engaged with respect to Congress’ work on the new, multiyear authorization of federal surface transportation programs or more commonly referred to as the “Highway Bill”. As you may know, the highway bill authorizes spending on federal highway and public transportation programs, surface transportation safety and research, and some rail programs. The current surface transportation authorization had been extended several times and the current authority expired on December 4th.
The bill reauthorizes the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. The final conference agreement retains this important policy reauthorization; however AMAC will continue to advocate for a change in current law that conforms DOT’s size standard for DBE certification in line with the Small Business Administration’s (SBA).
Current law requires the DOT to use the SBA definition regarding firm size for certification, yet, also requires the Agency to consider a gross receipts threshold roughly 35% less than the SBA standard. This lack of consistency adversely impacts AMAC member companies and must be addressed by lawmakers. We are appreciative of the efforts of our congressional allies that are working with us to address this inadequacy―most notably Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS).
Lastly, you may recall AMAC went on record last month in opposing H.R. 1694, a bill offered by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) entitled the “Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act of 2015”. The Fitzpatrick proposal would significantly and adversely alter the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program by defining a veteran-owned small businesses concern as a DBE for purposes of federally-assisted transportation programs. Under his proposal such firms could self-certify. AMAC worked very closely with a bi-partisan group of House members led by Rep. Elijah Cummings, Jim Clyburn and Eleanor Holmes Norton to keep Rep. Fitzpatrick’s proposal from being included in the Highway Bill. Accordingly, this measure is not included in the broader Highway Bill. H.R. 1694 was subsequently passed by the House (by four votes) as a separate measure. At present no similar proposal has been introduced in the Senate. AMAC will continue to work with Congressional supporters of the DBE program and stakeholders to oppose this bill. While efforts to support the entrepreneurial efforts of our former service members are most certainly laudable, establishing a specific veteran’s small business contract participation goal—separate from the DBE program represents a better legislative and targeted approach to support veteran-owned business interests. We are thankful to our congressional ally, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) for introducing H.R. 3997, a bill that establishes a veteran’s participation goal, separate and apart from the DBE program. Rep. Cummings bill has been co-sponsored by 38 other House members.
AMAC, led by the Government Affairs Committee and the Council’s Washington, DC legislative consultant, will continue to actively engage lawmakers and their staffs regarding AMAC priorities. Stay tuned! We will need your help. We will continue to keep you apprised of emerging developments and actions that you as an AMAC member can undertake to make a difference.
FAA Reauthorization Bill
As we previously reported, the prognosis for seeing an FAA reauthorization bill enacted prior to its expiration of September 30th was less than positive. On September 29th, Congress passed and President Obama subsequently signed H.R. 3614, the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2015. The extension measure, approved one day prior to a lapse in authorization, extends funding for the Agency and its associated programs through March 31, 2016 at current levels. Lawmakers feel the aforementioned extension will provide the necessary time needed to complete their work on a comprehensive reauthorization bill. However, you may recall it took lawmakers five years and twenty-three consecutive short-term extensions to get the current authorization to the President’s desk for signature.
While it is our understanding the House and Senate are making progress on their respective bills, neither chamber has introduced a bill. Moreover, it remains unclear whether consensus exists amongst aviation stakeholders on a proposal by House T&I Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system. Chairman Shuster has indicated that upon completion of his committee’s work on a federal highway bill reauthorization, it is his desire to immediately pivot to completion of an FAA bill. With time winding down on the calendar, it is unlikely any substantive work on an FAA Reauthorization will occur prior to calendar year 2016.
AMAC Annual Report Available on Website
Advertise with AMAC
AMAC introduces all-inclusive advertising opportunities for 2015-2016! This unique opportunity provides a cost-effective vehicle to promote your business to thousands in the aviation industry. All-inclusive pricing is available for printed programs at national and regional events, AMAC's website, and Connections, with a hyperlink directly to your company's website in electronic communications.
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AMAC's Membership Directory Now Available!
Get Involved in the AMAC Committee of Your Choice
The following committees are looking for volunteers: Professional Development, By-Laws, Communications, Corporate Development, Elections/Nominations, Ethics, Awards, Finance, Government Affairs, and Membership. A description of each committee can be found here. Click and select Committees from the menu
March 22, 2016
22nd Annual Economic Opportunity and Policy Forum
Hosted by Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority
March 23 & 24, 2016
Leadership Summit on Capitol Hill
April 20 & 21, 2016 (Note Corrected Date)
Great Lakes Regional Forum
Hosted by Wayne County Airport Authority
August 18-23, 2016
Annual Airport Business Diversity Conference
Hosted by Cleveland Airport System
For job postings click here.