Connections – October 11, 2016

message from the president

Dear AMAC Members and Friends:

Recently we witnessed a momentous event with the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).  Called “a museum that seeks to understand American history through the lens of the African American experience,” the NMAAHC helps us all understand what it means to be an American.  It reminds us of the strength and survival of a people who are “optimistic, spiritual and resilient.”

AMAC celebrates these very American values every day.  Throughout our organization’s history we have seen proof of these qualities reflected in AMAC members of all cultures.  We are proud of our stellar membership and we enjoy highlighting their successes at every opportunity.

In my message today, I want to shine the spotlight on AMAC member Thompson Hospitality, the largest minority-owned food service, and one of the largest retail food and facilities management companies in the country.  Among its facilities are restaurants in airports all across the country.

Thompson has been awarded a 10 year contract to provide food at the NMAAHC.  The contract is in partnership with Restaurant Associates, which runs most of the cafes on Smithsonian properties.

“We can promise you that no one will ever leave the Sweet Home Café at NMAAHC hungry,” Benita Thompson-Byas, Senior Vice President of Joint Ventures for Thompson told me.     

She also said that when the ribbon was cut at the Café opening, there was not a dry eye in the house.

Chef Carla Hall has crafted a menu that reflects the history of African American culture as well as new more healthy classics, Benita noted.  “Our food reflects history, culture, family, struggle, truth, endurance, and memory. And, it tastes good too.”

She’s right!  The Café has been getting rave reviews.  Take a look at this one:

Congratulations Thompson Hospitality and the Thompson family. We wish you good luck and continued success!



Krystal Brumfield

Chefs Carla Hall, Aaron Andrews, Robert Rivera and Jerome Grant celebrate opening the Sweet Home Café at the National Museum of African American History and Culture


catalyst Award winner courtney thornton

For Courtney Thornton, winning an AMAC Catalyst Award has special meaning and poignancy.   The award helps her to carry a torch that a mentor and dear friend passed to her more than 18 years ago.

Thornton is an attorney who, since 2014, has served as Vice President of Partner Relations and Business Diversity for the Hudson Group, a travel retail powerhouse.  She manages diversity and business partner relationships across the country for the company.

But, before joining Hudson, Thornton served as In-House Legal Counsel and Deputy Director of Legal Affairs to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport for 16 years.

“When I started at the airport, I was in my 20s,” she recalls.  “I’d practiced law for a few years in various capacities, but this was a big responsibility.  I relished the challenge.”

At that time, Justice Revius O. Ortique, Jr. was serving as Chairman of the New Orleans Aviation Board which oversees the airport.  Ortique, who died in 2008 at age 84, was winding down a distinguished career as a public servant, with a long list of “firsts” under his belt.  Among many other achievements, he was the first black member of the Louisiana State Bar Association's House of Delegates; the first black Civil District Court judge; and the first African American to win election to the state Supreme Court.

Ortique took Thornton under his wing and shared with her his passion for equal opportunity advocacy.

“First thing, he insisted that I attend a conference in Washington, DC for AMAC,” she recalls.  “He told me that this was an organization that was doing great work leveling the playing field for minorities in the aviation industry.”

Over the years, Thornton’s commitment to AMAC grew and evolved.  She served on the Board for four years as Southwest Regional Director, helped bring the annual conference to New Orleans after Katrina in 2010, and served as AMAC’s 2015 National Conference Chair in Fort Lauderdale.

Meanwhile, she was gaining visibility and credibility as a savvy and assertive industry lawyer who didn’t shy away from advocating for small businesses at the New Orleans airport.  She not only had the skill set and training to play that role, but, she says, “I was passionate about building relationships and opening lines of communication for the good of all.”

Hudson operates numerous retail establishments at the airport and her energy and successes did not go unnoticed by the company’s leadership.  They invited her to apply for the position she now fills.

"I was attracted to the company not only because Hudson Group is the best retail concession operator in the industry, but because I respected the company's powerful record of giving back to the communities in which they do business, like New Orleans. Hudson Group has an impressive track record for corporate social responsibility," she says. “I knew I could count on them to support my work on behalf of small businesses nationally."

And, it was a position that allowed her to fulfill her commitment to her mentor, Ortique.  “I felt like I was following in his footsteps as an activist on behalf of equality,” she says.

Thornton received the 2016 AMAC Chairman’s Award. This award honors a change agent from inside or outside the organization who has helped AMAC transform itself by focusing on such matters as organizational effectiveness, improvement, and development.

“Many years ago Justice Ortique was honored by an AMAC award,” Thornton notes.  “My receiving this honor brings us full circle.”

Pictured are, from left, former AMAC Board Chairman Darryl Daniels, AMAC Catalyst Awards Committee Chair Bridget Biagas, Courtney Thornton, and AMAC President and CEO Krystal Blumfield.

foundation focus

hadley-evansMeet the AMAC Foundation Board’s New Member

The AMAC Foundation is dedicated to advancing minorities and women pursuing careers in the aviation industry. The Foundation develops educational programs, scholarship and mentorship opportunities, and shares information to support aviation and airport industry professionals, from college students beginning their careers to seasoned professionals.

Hadley Evans, Jr.  recently joined the Board of Directors of the Foundation.  Learn more about him here:

Hadley Evans, Jr. is Secretary/Treasurer of the Board.  He brings a wealth of experience to that role.   He is Chief Financial Officer for Aegis Identity Software, a growing company that was founded in October 2011 with one mission: to create an affordable and effective identity management solution for the education market.

Evans has a background of leading, building, directing, and managing finance, accounting, auditing and operations functions.

He’s led financial planning and analysis functions and analyzed the financial impacts of business/product line changes or expansions.  At Aegis he has assisted in the development and management of the annual budget/SEC reporting and SOX.  Evans Interfaces with senior executive management, board of directors and audit committees to discuss plans, findings and provided recommendations to resolve matters.

Over the course of his career he has held finance, accounting and auditing positions of increasing responsibility.   For example, he oversaw and managed international finance teams and he implemented enterprise resource planning systems, including, PeopleSoft, Oracle, SAP, and Hyperion, among others.

aviation news

Approval for Miami International Airport's first $1B budget

The budget for Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) was approved by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners at the governing body’s final budget hearing recently.


Airports Investing in Technology and Training to Support Passengers with Additional Needs

Navigating through a busy airport environment can be a testing experience, especially for travellers with reduced mobility and additional needs. The likes of regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 and DoT 14 CFR Part 382 exist to protect the rights of passengers with disabilities, but service levels still vary from airline to airline, and airport to airport.


Memphis Airport Parking Deck is Big Money-maker

Labor Day weekend travelers jammed Memphis International Airport's 4,500-space economy parking garage, leaving only 207 spaces free on the top floor Sept. 3.

After a rocky start four years ago, the $121 million Ground Transportation Center has gone from scapegoat to game-winner.


seattle-tacoma-airportSeattle-Tacoma Unveils Designs of New International Arrivals Facility

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has unveiled designs of its new International Arrivals Facility.

Being built to meet record breaking demand for international traffic, according to the airport the multi-level 450,000 square foot facility will "significantly enhance the international passenger experience" and advance the Puget Sound region as a leading tourism and business gateway.

The project is scheduled to break ground in early 2017 and open in late 2019.


AMAC news

AMAC Issues Request for Examples or Documents

Used to Pre-Qualify Contractors

AMAC is seeking examples and/or documents used for a pre-qualification process from both airports and contractors.

We are looking for documents that can assist in improving the language for a pre-proposal process.  Please either forward documents or links to documents that can assist our efforts to

In an effort to identify the most responsive and qualified contractor or service provider to bid or propose on airport projects, some of the airports have used a pre-qualification process.

In the early days of the DBE/ACDBE (formerly M/WBE) program, the pre-qualification process was one method airport management used to assess the completeness and quality of the prime proposer’s response to inclusion of women and minorities in their proposal.  The method of pre-qualifying addressed the airport’s concern that a lower bidder may not be selected if their response to participation of women and minorities was incomplete or poorly structured.

In effect, the two-step process permitted the airport to affirm that all those approved in the first phase, an acceptable DBE/ACDBE plan, would be permitted to propose in the second phase – the dollar amount.

From time-to-time airports also use a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process. The RFQ process has permitted the airport to assess which proposers are qualified to propose on certain projects.

Thank you in advance for your assistance with this urgent matter!

Indianapolis Airport Issues RFQ and RFI Opportunities

The Indianapolis Airport Authority has announced a Request for Quote for road access at the Indianapolis International Airport and a Request for Information (RFI) for On-Call Services for a Safety Consultant.

The Request for Quote, QTA Road Access Control at IND, Project No. Q-16-013 invites qualified contractors to quote to install the required infrastructure to support new parking access control equipment on the rental car quick turnaround (QTA) road at the Airport (IND).

The timeline and requirements for submitting questions, submissions, and other details for both the RFQ and the RFI are specified in the documents at:

Email if you have additional questions per the RFI instructions.

Concession Opportunity at San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport is accepting proposals for two Pop-Up retail locations post-security in Terminal 3, Boarding Area E.  These agreements are intended for the nonexclusive sale of specialty retail merchandise.  The Minimum Annual Guarantee for the term of the agreement is $27,000.00 for Space 1, which measures approximately 304 square feet, and $36,000.00 for Space 2, which measures approximately 429 square feet.

The terms are twelve months for each space, commencing on the first day Permittee is open for business.  Annual Rent shall be the higher of the Minimum Annual Guarantee or 8% of Gross Revenues.  In addition to the Annual Rent, tenant shall pay a Tenant Improvement Reimbursement Fee over the twelve month term of $20,523.00 for Space 1 or $28,962.00 for Space 2.

An informational conference to review the Request for Proposals and to answer questions about the Pop-Up Retail contracts is scheduled for Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at 2:00 pm in the Terminal 2 Partnering Conference Room, at San Francisco International Airport.  At this meeting Airport staff will explain the selection process, and discuss the desired concept, minimum qualification requirements, and address any questions relating to this Permit.  Small, local, and disadvantaged businesses are encouraged to participate.

The proposal submittal deadline is 2:00:00 pm San Francisco Time – Wednesday, November 9, 2016.

Please see for additional information or should you have questions, please contact Mr. Trevor Brumm, Principal Property Manager, Airport Revenue Development and Management Department, (650) 821-4500.

Upcoming Events


Save January 17, 2017 for Mississippi Aviation Industry Day

The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority invites interested individuals and businesses to their 2017 Aviation Industry Day on January 17.

The Authority will kick off the new year with a day of establishing business connections, information sharing, meeting representatives from the commercial airports in the State of Mississippi and hearing first-hand about potential business opportunities for 2017 and beyond.

For additional information visit

TRB Webinar: Improving and Enhancing the Airport Customer Experience

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) will conduct a webinar on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, from 2:00PM to 3:30PM ET that features research conducted by TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) that provides support to airport management as it transitions from stereotypical, predictable airport experiences to a more engaging one.


membership corner

New Member Benefits Program

AMAC has engaged Affinity Group Underwriters (AGU), a leading national association benefits consultant and administrator, to create and manage a portfolio of group and individual insurance coverages exclusively for our members.   

Benefit programs offered:

  •  AffinityChoice - voluntary employee benefits (life, dental, vision & disability)
  •  Gap Insurance – supplementary coverage for high deductible health plans
    • Government Contractor health & welfare group benefit plans
    • MEC Plus – low cost solution for compliance with the Affordable Care Act
    • Individual & Family Dental & Vision insurance
  • Healthcare Discount Program – savings on dental, vision, telemedicine, lab tests, chiropractic care and more


for all AMAC members, families and employees of members
WellCardRx pharmacy savings card.  Save up to 65% on prescriptions.

Download to your smart phone.

For more information, visit our program website:


jobs board

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.

bid board

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

For bid opportunities click here.