Connections – December 21, 2016

Message from the AMAC Foundation chair

headshot_heather_berry Dear AMAC Family,

You have the power to help make dreams come true. Those of you who have achieved your own dreams have so much to offer.

Your training, passion, and hard work have propelled you forward as a professional and/or stakeholder in the airport industry. You can share gratifying stories of attainment with those who would follow in your footsteps.

Now, a new generation is hoping to give rise to legends of success and accomplishment. You can become the wind beneath the wings of our future airport and aviation leaders with a gift to the AMAC Foundation.

Over the years the Foundation and the AMAC family has had significant impact on young people interested in careers in the airport industry. Through our scholarships, Project LIFT, internships and mentoring programs, we have supported and guided a diverse group of men and women. We are working to assure that the industry reflects the varied mosaic that is America.

This holiday season, we ask that you remember support and guidance that you may have received on your own career path and reach out to aid these hardworking and deserving young people.

Your gift can help them realize their dreams.

Heather Barry,
AMAC Foundation Board Chair

AMAC membership spotlight

Thompson Hospitality siblings
(from left) CEO Warren Thompson, Senior VP Benita Thompson Dyas and CAO Fred Thompson

Spotlight on AMAC Business Member Thompson Hospitality

As a youngster, Warren M. Thompson, made it abundantly clear to his family that he was a born entrepreneur. His educator parents and his brother and sister saw, from an early age, the drive that still guides Warren today.

“He had a grass cutting company, a hog raising company, and a pest control company,” says his younger sister Benita Thompson-Byas, with delight. “We all knew he would be a success and have his own company.”

Once he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Managerial Economics from Hampden-Sydney College and a MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, Thompson was unstoppable.

In 1992, he bought thirty-one Bob's Big Boy restaurants, which he converted to Shoney's restaurants and several other proprietary restaurant concepts. He expanded the company’s interests into the contract food service arena, and in 1997, created Thompson Hospitality Services, LL ( by forging a strategic partnership with Compass Group, the world’s largest food service company.

Today the AMAC member company is one of the largest food and facilities management firms nationwide. With 4,000 associates and revenues of more than $500 million dollars in 2014, the company operates in 45 states and six foreign countries, providing a wide range of services. Its restaurant brands include American Tap Room, Pizza Studio, Austin Grill and Austin Grill Express, brb (be right burger) and Willie T’s Lobster Shack.

In 2013, Thompson Hospitality ventured into the airport concessions industry in partnership with Atlanta-based Concessions International and MBC Inc., a certified Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE). That team now runs an American Tap Room at Reagan National Airport and a brb at Dulles International Airport. In 2015 an additional American Tap Room opened at Dulles International Airport and is operated by MCA, an ACDBE out of Miami.

“Our membership in AMAC was extremely valuable during this progression,” says Thompson Business Development Vice President Stephen Pierce.   “They introduced us to the right people and helped us find ways to stay in front of them throughout the lengthy sales process,” he adds.

“AMAC is well respected in the industry,” he continued. “People listen when you mention the name. We are proud of our association.”

Despite its size, the Thompson enterprise is run like a family business. “We are a family company both literally and figuratively,” says Byas, who is Senior Vice President of Joint Ventures and Development as well as Vice Chair of the Board.   “We support one another beyond the work environment.”

Thompson’s older brother Fred Thompson, Jr. is Chief Administrative Officer, responsible for monitoring and maintaining corporate relationships.

“Our partnership with Compass Group has been win-win for everyone,” says Byas. “It provides Compass with an effective and experienced minority partner so they can compete for a variety of contracts and it helped us grow faster. Now it’s our turn to pay it forward.”

“We are always going to reach out to partner with ACDBEs and DBEs,” Pierce says. “Thompson Hospitality’s goal is to help the next generation of entrepreneurs grow and build their capacity.”


foundation focus

Focus on AMAC Scholar Roderick Griffin

In the November 9th Connections Issue, we announced the winners of our annual Foundation scholarships. Over the last few issues, we have provided profiles of each of these engaging young men and women, their backgrounds and their aspirations. Our focus in this issue is on our AMAC Scholar Roderick Griffin. Griffin received the AMAC Member Scholarship which is awarded to young people whose parents are members of the AMAC family.

Roderick Griffin

With a mother who has a leadership role in the airport industry ( AMAC member Shanneta Griffin is Senior Director of Planning and Development for the Indianapolis Airport Authority) Roderick Griffin, 19, has a head start in understanding the vast career choices available there.

"My mother helped me understand that aviation is more than engineering," says Griffin, "It's a lot bigger. Marketing and business management are a key part of the industry."  And that's important to Griffin because, he notes, he was also influenced by his father, who is in sales for Procter and Gamble and by a sister in marketing at General Mills.

Currently Griffin is a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a focus on marketing.

He has a couple of marketing internships under his belt -- a summer working for General Electric Company and one working for a company called Sur Seal that specializes in business to business marketing providing sealing materials and applications.

He is still exploring his options, Griffin says and is eager to learn more about the aviation industry from an AMAC mentor.

"There are so many choices," he notes with a smile. "I'm going to take my time and examine all the possibilities."

Make Your Donation to the AMAC Foundation Today

Generous ​contributions ​from ​our ​supporters ​have ​enabled ​the ​AMAC ​Foundation ​to ​grow ​both ​its ​mission ​and ​its ​programs. ​Since ​1998, ​the ​Foundation ​has ​awarded ​more than ​$300,000 ​in ​scholarships ​to ​more than ​150 ​students. ​The ​Foundation ​also ​partners ​with ​airports, ​communities, ​and ​aviation industry ​businesses ​to ​host ​high ​school ​and ​college ​students ​during ​Project ​LIFT (Leaders Inspiring Future Talent), ​exposing ​them ​to ​career ​opportunities ​in ​the ​industry.

All ​donations ​to ​the ​AMAC ​Foundation ​and ​sponsorships ​of ​AMAC ​Foundation ​events ​are ​tax ​deductible. ​


Aviation News

Congress sets its Sights on FAA Funding

The U.S. House and Senate have begun consideration of a sweeping government-wide funding and tax package that would provide nearly $16.3 billion for the FAA in fiscal 2016 and renew key tax breaks such as the research and development credit and bonus depreciation. Lawmakers unveiled the package late on Dec. 15, shortly before the deadline of the most recent stopgap funding extension.


USDOT Audit Reports on DBEs and ACDBEs Available

The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (OIG) has been tasked with providing three annual reports to Congress on the number of new Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and Airport Concession DBEs (ACDBEs) at the nation’s airports, as well as any best practices or barriers. The first and second reports of the three year audit can be found at:

The OIG identified several airport best practices that foster the use of new DBEs and ACDBEs. These are covered in detail in the reports, but in summary they include:

  • Unbundling large contracts;
  • Entering into direct contracts or leases with DBE/ACDBE firms;
  • Utilizing technology to facilitate concessions services’ access to passengers;
  • Promoting Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization’s (OSDBU) short-term lending program and bonding education program;
  • Posting prime contractor payment information to airport databases;
  • Implementing mentor-protégé programs;
  • Posting bid information to airport databases;
  • Encouraging DBE and ACDBE firms to utilize services provided by the OSDBU-sponsored Small Business Transportation Resource Centers;
  • Conducting outreach; and
  • Providing financial assistance.

A few additional best practices that have been observed by the FAA include:

  • When airports are seeking something new and fresh, identifying unique concession concepts that reflect the flavor of the region;
  • Proactive efforts to certify small firms that could likely do business on airports, and in particular, in areas that traditionally have low participation of DBE and/or ACDBE firms;
  • Establishing small business goals and/or set-asides as race and gender neutral methods of obtaining DBE and ACDBE participation; and
  • Allowing concession primes to mentor new ACDBE firms without counting the ACDBE participation until such a time that the ACDBE firm can fully participate in a joint venture and be counted consistent with the regulations and joint venture guidance.

Ethiopian Airlines Celebrates Women with All Female Flight Crew

All Female Ethiopian Airlines Flight Crew

Addis Ababa-based Ethiopian Airlines recently gained attention by promoting an all women-operated flight.

On November 19th, an all-women crew smoothly operated the Addis Ababa to Bangkok route. All operations from the deck and cabin to ticketing, ramp operations and traffic control were handled by women.

Ethiopian’s CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam said: “Above all, this is an ample opportunity to inspire young African female students to believe in their dreams and embark to fill the skill gap for aviation professionals.”

“Women are the continent’s greatest untapped resources,” she continued, “and we are fully dedicated to ensure the increase number of women in decision making positions on top of key operational areas by consistently grooming and mentoring successor female employees for top managerial, technical and operational positions.”

Read more here:



Hudson Group honors AMAC Founder Leon Watkins with Special Day

The Hudson Group, an AMAC corporate member, has declared February 24, 2016 as Leon C. Watkins Appreciation Day.

An official proclamation prepared by The Hudson Group notes that Leon C. Watkins was the Assistant Administrator for Civil Rights in the Federal Aviation Administration and "directed the aggressive implementation of the new DBE Program."

"He was instrumental in establishing the first educational conference on airport DBE matters, and he was instrumental in developing many subsequent DBE conferences, now known as the annual AMAC Business Diversity Conference which will mark its 32nd anniversary in 2016," the proclamation asserts.

Watkins was honored on his retirement by CEO Joseph DiDomizio at Hudson's recently held 13th Annual Management Seminar and Vendor Show themed "Inspired to Succeed" at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. The Management Seminar and Vendor show provides the Operations and Management team the opportunity to interface with vendors, managers, executive team and business partners.

"Watkins has been instrumental in promoting diversity, inclusion, and transparency of business in the nation's airports.  He has been a friend and role model to so many colleagues and has made a lasting contribution to Hudson and the airport industry," says Courtney Thornton, Hudson's VP of Partner Relations.

"We are pleased to join Hudson in proclaiming February 24th, 2016 as a day to reflect on Leon's accomplishments and express appreciation for his profound contributions in honor of his retirement," says AMAC President Shelby Scales. "We encourage other industry groups to participate as well."

View the official proclamation here.

Barry Rondinella John Wayne Airport

Rondinella is New Director of John Wayne Airport

The director of operations for Los Angeles International Airport has been selected to lead John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, CA.

Barry Rondinella, 54, was recently appointed by the Orange County Board of Supervisors. He is a licensed commercial pilot and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

Rondinella has been Los Angeles World Airport’s director of operations since 2010 and previously was deputy director of operations at Sacramento’s airport and airport director for Stockton Metropolitan Airport and the Santa Maria Public Airport.

View the full story here:




AMAC Annual Report Available on Website

The AMAC 2015-2016 Annual Report is now available for review on our organization's website. To learn more about AMAC's activities, growth, development and achievements, click here.

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.

Over 20,000 decision-makers and industry professionals are reached on a monthly basis through AMAC's electronic communications and AMAC's events draw from 200 to over 1,000 registrants per event. Your brand will gain widespread visibility with our newly redesigned communication tools.

Reserve your space now! Click Here to access the order form.

For more information or questions, contact
Anthony Barnes at or 703-414-2622, ext. 2.

AMAC's Membership Directory Now Available!

AMAC's Membership Directory is available to download. Search for, and connect with, members by following this link to access the Directory. The Membership Directory is only available to members. Please log in with your membership credentials. Contact AMAC membership at if you have trouble logging in.

Get Involved in the AMAC Committee of Your Choice

Choose an AMAC committee and join us! AMAC encourages all members to become actively engaged in the organization's activities by participating on a committee. Committees provide you with opportunities to participate in panels and forums with other business owners, airport executives, and corporate leaders who can become strategic partners, and more importantly potential clients. They also give you the opportunity to share your thoughts, suggestions, and innovations with our members, board, and staff.

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 bar.


The AMAC Job Board is a nationwide listing of active and upcoming job openings at governments and contractors across the country. If you represent a public or private organization that would like to post an open position, please contact us at


For job postings click here.


The AMAC Bid Board is a nationwide listing of active and upcoming bid opportunities at governments across the country. If you represent a government organization that would like to post opportunities, please contact us at

SFO Requests Bids for ATM Lease

San Francisco International Airport has commenced the Request for Bids (RFB) for the Domestic Terminals 1 and 3 ATM Lease. The Lease is intended for the management and operation of ATMs at the airport. The proposed minimum acceptable bid amount is $86,500, which will be the successful Bidder's minimum annual guarantee for the first year of the Lease, and a proposed term of five years with one two-year option.

Additional information and related documents may be obtained on-line at For a hard copy of the RFB document or if you would like additional information about this concession opportunity, please call Martin E. Farfan, Assistant Property Manager, Revenue Development and Management, at (650) 821-4500.
For bid opportunities click here.