Connections – October 12, 2015


Dear Friends and Colleagues:

AMAC is mourning the recent passing of former Orlando International Airport Director Bill Jennings, a founder of our organization.

Mr. Jennings was one of a small, but distinguished, group of nine airport leaders who met in the fall of 1983 at FAA Headquarters in Washington D.C. to begin a national dialogue on how to achieve enhanced opportunities and success for women and minority businesses in U.S. Airports.

This collaboration led to the formation of AMAC, which has become the only national non-profit association dedicated to promoting women and minorities in employment and contracting in the aviation industry.

Mr. Jennings' friends say he was a visionary, passionately committed to improving the challenges facing minority businesses within the aviation industry and beyond. His death is a great loss to us, the industry and the nation. The AMAC family extends our deepest sympathy to Mr. Jennings' family. We will forever be grateful for his dedication to making a difference.

His bio follows in Connections and on our website here.

Also in Connections is our first regular Legislative Update column. Of importance to AMAC is new legislation that would increase Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs).   AMAC supports additional resources for airport development but we are also strongly advocating that DBE participation goals be made a part of the PFC program.

In the Member Spotlight is Carl Newman, head of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority and our host for AMAC's Southeast Regional Forum on October 15th. Meet Carl in person when we see you all at the Forum!

Shelby M. Scales
President and CEO

AMAC Founder Bill Jennings Passes Away

Bill JenningsBill Jennings, who led Orlando International Airport through the travails of 9-11 and a solid spurt of growth during the early 2000s, passed away after a long illness Sunday. He was 68.

Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) remembered Jennings as "very soft-spoken, very smart. He knew how to work with people."

He was a founding member of the Airport Minority Advisory Council, who in 1983, with eight other forward-thinking individuals, saw a need and an opportunity to encourage airport operators to promote the inclusion of minorities and women in employment and contracting opportunities throughout the aviation industry.

Jennings spent most of his 30-year professional career at Orlando International, holding a variety of positions, including human-resources director. He was the executive-director from 2000 to 2006.

Frank Kruppenbacher, who now chairs the airport's board of directors, called Jennings a "giant" in the aviation industry.

"Mr. Jennings was a steady hand," Kruppenbacher said in a prepared statement, "which helped guide our airport during the tragedy of 9-11, making us all more secure as a community and an industry."

The airport grew dramatically during his tenure, and he guided the development of initial plans to build a second terminal a mile to the south of the existing one. That proposal was shelved after the recession hit in 2008, but has been resurrected in recent months.

Read more here.


Carl Newman PortraitJMAA's Newman Has High Hopes for SE Regional Forum

When Carl D. Newman, chief executive officer of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA), welcomes AMAC members to the Southeast Regional Forum this week, his top three hopes are that visitors will:
  • Get to know and enjoy the city of Jackson, MS;
  • Network with AMAC members and find new business partners and supporters, and;
  • Become aware of the many opportunities to do business at Jackson's airports and other airports across the Southeastern region.

"This is a chance for stakeholders in the airport industry to make connections, find people to partner with to do business on upcoming projects and to learn from experts how to grow and thrive in the aviation field," he says.

Newman has more than 30 years of experience in aviation having served as general manager for the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) before coming to JMAA and as assistant aviation director at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) before that.
He joined the Airport Authority in January 2015, and is responsible for the management of both Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN) and Hawkins Field (HKS).
"My favorite thing about this job is the variety," he says with a smile. Whether it's making sure that the widow of the airport's namesake Ms. Myrlie Evers-Williams is given special care when she travels through, engaging with young people enjoying a career day at one of the airports, or coordinating with the Airport Authority's own police department, there is always something happening, he notes.
Newman shares AMAC's commitment to providing a level playing field for all businesses interested in working in the airport industry. "I want to make sure we find any unfair impediments and eliminate them," he says. "If there are bonding issues, for example, we might look at ways to break down the contract into smaller pieces to make bonding more affordable.
"We take the time to review bids with participants who are not successful to determine how they can improve their presentations in the future," he continued. "We also look at promising businesses that dropped out or did not participate in an RFP to find out why."
A thriving airport with successful contractors and business partners are all part of a prosperous community," Newman notes. "Ultimately that's our goal."

Know of a AMAC member with a dynamic or inspirational story?
Submit your recommendation here.



Athina Holmes is Teacher, Pilot, World Traveler, Racer and Role Model

Young women - or men - looking for an exciting role model in the aviation industry can't do better than Athina Holmes, a teacher, a pilot, a world traveler and an annual participant in cross country air races!

"If you are interested in a career in aviation, you have to have a passion for it and a commitment to it," she says emphatically. "People, who are in it, love it."

A professor at Florida Memorial University at Miami Gardens, Holmes earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from Texas Woman's University in 1991 and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Science Specialization in Aerospace Safety Systems and Aviation Operations from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Ft. Lauderdale Campus. She holds a Commercial Pilot; ASEL, AMEL, Instrument Rated and a Ground Instructor Certificate.

She teaches a variety of courses from introduction to aeronautics to understanding aircraft engines.

Holmes started her career as a flight attendant, then "I got curious to know what those guys in the cockpit were doing," she says. She decided to pursue her pilot's license and then went on to further studies.

She learned that the key assets to success in the aviation field were organization, discipline and an interest in math and science. For those who are attracted to the airport management field, those same qualities apply with added talents for business administration, critical thinking and conflict resolution.

For high schoolers looking for a good aviation college or university, she recommends first being sure that the staff at the institution is knowledgeable and caring. "Do your research and talk to recent graduates in the industry," she suggests.   She notes that top schools also have excellent organized programs and all the equipment and tools you need for learning.

Her favorites include her alma mater Embry-Riddle, as well as Western Michigan University, and Purdue University.

An AMAC Foundation Celebrating Women in Aviation awardee, Holmes has been a spokesperson for Embry-Riddle Career Fairs Ft. Lauderdale Campus; member of Women in Aviation International since 2006, Pilots in Schools Volunteer, member of the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals since 2007 and an Air Race Classic Participant Racer in 2009 and 2011.

She recommends that young people take advantage of internship opportunities like those offered by the AMAC foundation to get training and experience that will guide them in their career decision making.

Holmes also notes that women have been interested in aviation for decades, since Amelia Earhart flew solo into history in the 1930s. "But the field is more open today for women. Walk through that door," she says.



Salt Lake City Renovation photoSalt Lake City Airport Renovation Renderings on Display

SALT LAKE CITY -- For the first time, the public is now getting to see what the Salt Lake City International Airport will look like after the renovation.

Construction on the nearly decade-long, $1.8 billion project is now underway.
The renderings released last week show what it will be like to navigate the three-story terminal and the 4,000-foot linear concourse.

The new design includes moving walkways, art to showcase Utah's natural beauty and a new parking garage with double the amount of spaces.

It'll also feature more amenities like shops, restaurants, bars and seating areas.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said they'll add more security checkpoint stations, as well as a special meet-and-greet area separate from baggage claim.

Becker said Tuesday that the new airport renderings showcase what this terminal is all about: convenience, sustainability and inspiration.

See more here:

U.S.-Cuban Aviation Deal Possible This Year

Cuba and the United States advanced toward restoring scheduled airline service during two days of talks that concluded in Havana last week, with the potential to reach a deal this year, a U.S. official said.

"One more meeting might be enough to finalize an arrangement. I can't be sure," said the U.S. official, who was familiar with the talks and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The two sides planned to meet again, possibly before the end of this year and most likely in Washington, the official told Reuters.

Scheduled commercial airline service has been suspended for decades as a result of Cold War animosity, but both sides quickly made resumption a priority upon detente last December.

Learn more here:

Jet Blue Opens Farm at JFK Airport

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - JetBlue Airways is trying to bring a little bit of country to the city - opening its own "farm" at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The 24,000 square-foot space - less than half the size of a football field - outside JFK's Terminal 5 is meant to educate travelers more than actually feed them. Although eventually JetBlue would like to serve items grown there in terminal restaurants and even make some blue potato Terra Chips that are served on flights.

One day, if the airport allows it, there might even be animals, such as bees and butterflies.

The goal is to try and teach people about farming and to improve the appearance of the terminal's exterior.

Read more here:



joeJacksonHartfield-Jackson Joe Jackson Receives AMAC Catalyst Award

Joe Jackson, Supplier Diversity Director for the multi-billion dollar Hartsfield- Jackson Development Program, has been honored with the AMAC 2015 Advocate of the Year Award. This award recognizes an individual within the industry who has been an outstanding spokesperson, educator, innovator and advocate for diversity inclusion in the workforce or small business participation in contracting.

Jackson received the award at the Catalyst Awards Luncheon during the recent 31st annual Airport Business Diversity Conference held in Ft. Lauderdale. The Hartsfield-Jackson Airport program is the largest public works project in Georgia's history, Jackson is responsible for managing the small, female and minority owned business enterprise technical assistance, training and outreach programs.

This department is also responsible for the Department of Aviation's Equal Business Opportunity and DBE program. To date, the program's Supplier Diversity scorecard has achieved $1.6 billion paid to MWBE/DBE firms or 37%.

AMAC and MBDA Sign Partnership Memorandum

AMAC and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that solidified an ongoing partnership.

This important document outlines MBDA's commitment to provide minority-owned firms with professional management and technical assistance through the MBDA and its nationwide network of Business Centers and promote AMAC's efforts in fostering the growth and expansion of small and minority businesses through this Strategic Partnership Agreement via a variety of support activities.

MOU signing 3
Pictured here at the MOU signing are, from left: Joann Hill, Chief, Office of Business Development, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA); Darryl Daniels, AMAC Chairman; Alejandra Y. Castillo, National Director Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA); Shelby M Scales, AMAC President/CEO; and Albert K. Shen, National Deputy Director, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)



AMAC Catalyst Award Winners Featured on American DBE Cover

AMAC Catalyst Award Winners are featured on the cover of the Fall 2015 issue of American DBE magazine. Pictured displaying their awards are eStudio owners Fabricio (L) and Emanuel (r) Esquivel flanking Rhonda Arnold of the Houston Airport System.

Click the image to read the magazine.


Affordable Space Available

Are you in need of affordable office or conference room space close to Washington, DC and Reagan National Airport? We are here to help! AMAC members may take advantage of renting space directly from AMAC. Centrally located in beautiful Arlington, VA, convenient space is available for you to conduct business within the District of Columbia/Maryland/Virginia areas and beyond!

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

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





FAA Programs (AIP and PFCs): On September 28, 2015, the House passed H.R. 3614, the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2015, temporarily renewing authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for six months by voice-vote. The Senate followed suit and passed the six month extension on September 29, 2015, by unanimous consent. The measure was signed into law by the President on September 30, 2015. Under the extension, funding for FAA now runs out on March 31, 2016. Lawmakers are expected to use the extra time to reach an agreement on a long-term funding measure.

Whether an increase in passenger facility charges (PFCs) will be part of a long-term agreement is still in question with airports (ACI and AAAE) lobbying in favor and with airlines opposed. AMAC supports additional resources for airport development but we are also strongly advocating that DBE participation goals should be made a part of the PFC program.

Since under current law there is no requirement for DBE participation on PFC-only financed projects, without this change by the Congress, DBE contractors will lose contracting opportunities as PFC-only projects become more common.

An AMAC study documenting this problem (financed by the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport) has been presented to law makers, to the DOT and other stakeholders.

Surface Transportation Program (DOT DBE Size Standard): On July 29, 2015, the House passed H.R. 3236, a bill to fund and extend the authorization for federal highway and transit programs through the end of October by a vote of 385-34. The bill then passed the Senate on July 30, 2015 by a vote of 91-4. The President signed the extension into law on July 31, 2015. The bill provides funding for federal surface transportation programs (e.g.; highways, transit and heavy rail) through October 29, 2015.

AMAC is working to fix an anomaly in the law that adversely affects DBE contractors. Under current law and regulations, contractors whose revenue exceeds $23.98 million lose DBE eligibility. This is the case even though the Small Business Administration's standard for small contractors (used throughout the federal government) is $36.5 million.

This anomaly is very troublesome for DBE contractors working on DOT-financed airport as well as highway, rail or transit projects. There is no policy basis for a lower revenue cap for DBEs and AMAC is working in a focused way to have the DOT standard raised and conformed to the SBA.

More information on these issues and AMAC's government affairs activities will be discussed at the upcoming AMAC Southeast Regional Forum in Jackson, MS on October 15.



AMAC Southeast Regional Forum

There is still time to register for the AMAC Regional Forum in Jackson, Mississippi on Thursday, October 15th.
Held at the Hilton Jackson, 1001 E County Line Rd, Jackson, Mississippi 39211-1817 (601-957-2800), the event will further AMAC's mission of providing the most up-to-date information and policy as it affects business in our nation's airports.
The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA) will co-host this forum for approximately 200 attendees including Airport Operators, Airline Executives, Government Officials, Prime Contractors and M/W/DBE/SBE Contractors from across the region. The itinerary includes educational sessions on Doing Business with Airports; Regional Opportunities and Procurement; Navigating the Certification Process; Legislative Policy Updates and an Economic Forecast for the region.
Proceeds from the forum will support ongoing AMAC initiatives aimed at increasing the numbers of minorities and women represented in the airport industry and the AMAC Foundation's scholarship, career awareness and leadership development programs.
To register, click here!

AMAC Western Region Economic Opportunity and Policy Forum to be Held in LA  

AMAC is pleased to announce that our Western Region Economic Opportunity and Policy Forum will be held in Los Angeles this year on December 2nd and 3rd.

On December 2nd, the day will begin with a Project LIFT event for college students at the Skyview Building to introduce them to the variety of career opportunities in the aviation industry.

Also that day, a scholarship fundraising golf tournament will be held at one of our local golf courses by the ocean.  In the evening, enjoy a networking reception, "A Taste of LAX", at a facility that overlooks the LAX runways.

On December 3rd, there will be a full day of workshops with speakers discussing topics, including: legislative updates, concession and construction opportunities at the airports in the western region, how to finance your business and steps to success in the airports. Students in the Western Region who have been selected for scholarships will receive their awards.

Highlighting the second day will be a behind-the-scenes tour of the newly renovated, award winning Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX; Exhibitors' Booths; and an evening networking reception.  The events on the 3rd will be held at the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel, located on Century Blvd.

Register Now!

Help AMAC spread the word about upcoming events and opportunities. Email communications to Sydney Phillips to highlight your programs, events, and special announcements.



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

DFW Airport Announces New Contract Opportunities

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, a global superhub with 63M annual passengers, is excited to offer three unique opportunities that will continue to elevate the DFW Airport experience:
*             Commercial Advertising/Sponsorship Program
*             Beverage Pouring Rights
*             Snack Vending
A Pre-Proposal Conference and Airport Tour for all three opportunities will take place all day Monday, October 19, following the schedule below. Register for the Conference and Tour here:
A Second Pre-Proposal Conference and Tour for the Commercial Advertising/Sponsorship Program ONLY will take place all day Friday, October 30, to further discuss DFW's unique opportunities. Register for the October 30 Conference and Tour.
Proposals for the Beverage Pouring Rights and Snack Vending are due Thursday, December 4, 2015, at 2:00 PM CST. Proposals for the Advertising and Sponsorship Program are due Tuesday, January 5, 2016, at 2:00 PM CST.
Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport warmly welcomes more than 63 million customers along their journey every year, elevating DFW to a status as one of the most frequently visited superhub airports in the world. DFW Airport customers can choose among 149 domestic and 57 international
nonstop destinations worldwide.
DFW is elevating the customer experience with modernized facilities and updated amenities, as well as through a $2.7 billion Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program to renovate its four original terminal buildings and the implementation of the International Terminal D Concessions Master Plan.

For bid opportunities click here