Connections – November 9, 2015


Dear Friends and Colleagues:

In this issue of Connections, our Special Legislative Update column focuses on two key amendments that are currently being discussed in Congress.  One amendment we heartily support and the other we consider a threat to the fundamental purpose of the DBE Program -- to eradicate historical discrimination in contracting and procurement against a protected class of people.

We support Congressman Elijah Cumming's (D-MD) efforts to conform DOT DBE size standards to SBA standards. His amendment is simple and straight-forward: it corrects and rectifies an anomaly in current law that discriminates against women and minority businesses by measuring the size of firms owned by them differently than businesses owned by others.  

We urge USDOT to use the same SBA standards that are used in every other direct federal contracting or federally-assisted contracting program.

We oppose an amendment filed by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) that would define veteran-owned small businesses as "disadvantaged business enterprises" or "DBEs".  Let us be clear.  AMAC is in full support of efforts to assist veteran-owned businesses and their ability to compete for small business contractual opportunities.   

However, defining veteran-owned small business as a class of DBEs without a clear showing of discrimination or of social or economic disadvantage evidence would adversely alter and undermine the purpose of the DBE program.  Moreover, the current amendment by Fitzpatrick to include veteran businesses and providing for the same test as current DBE certified firms, would weaken the overall program and leave it vulnerable to future legal challenges.

I urge our members to study the posted details on both of these measures in the expanded overview by clicking here. We also urge each of you to be active in your grass roots advocacy by contacting your local legislative representatives and encouraging their support of our legislative agenda items.  As individuals and as an organization, we can have an impact by engaging in the political process.

Finally, I'd like to issue a special Thank You to our Washington, DC law firm K&L Gates, LLP and, in particular, Attorney William Kirk, who has been spearheading our lobbying efforts on these issues.


Shelby M. Scales
President and CEO

Special Legislative Update

Multi-year Surface Transportation Bill Approved by the U.S. House or Representatives

By William Kirk K&L Gates, LLC
Following three days of debate, during which over 100 amendments were considered, on November 5, 2015,  the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bipartisan, multi-year surface transportation bill to reauthorize and reform federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs.  The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (the "STRR Act") was approved by a vote of 363 to 64.

Like the U.S. Senate-passed version, the House-passed bill reauthorizes the DOT "disadvantaged business enterprise" (DBE) program citing evidence and making findings for the continuing need for the program.  This was a key priority for AMAC, and we worked hard with a bi-partisan group of House members to ensure that these provisions were included in the House.

Several additional DBE-related issues were part of the House consideration of the bill.  The House agreed to an amendment offered by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) expressing the sense of the House that US DOT should better enforce its existing rules requiring that DBEs are promptly paid for their work on federally assisted transportation projects.  A second Rep. Moore amendment would also require US DOT to review its requirements regarding the gathering of state specific data on DBE payments and participation to ensure that its data is accurate and being made publically available.  Both amendments would include airport projects.

AMAC has also been working with Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and a bi-partisan group of Members to prevent amendments that would harm the DBE program.  For example, during the Transportation Committee’s work on the bill, AMAC helped ensure that a proposal to set a 5-year term on DBE certification was not part of the bill that went to the House floor.  In addition, during House floor debate, AMAC worked with these members to prevent a proposal to make “veterans-owned small business concerns" eligible for DBE certification.  Finally, we are continuing to work with these members to correct an arbitrary provision of current law pertaining to how the size of DBEs is measured.

A "conference committee" between the Senate and the House will meet soon to resolve and reconcile differences between the bills passed by each body.  The short-term authority for surface transportation programs that was passed by the Congress at the end of September and signed by the President expires in two weeks.


Pastorelle Puts Experience to work helping ACDBE's Grow and Prosper

With more than 20 years of experience as an airport concessions professional, AMAC member Tanja Pastorelle, President of the Elmhurst IL- based Pastorelle Marketing Group, knows all the ins and outs of the business. When consulting with aspiring ACDBEs, she is quick to advise them that success does not come easy.

"This is a business that is not for everyone," she says.  "First, it's tough to get your foot in the door.  It can take years of active involvement at industry conferences, networking and pre-proposal training. Opportunities to bid are scarce, because leases are long and openings are rare."  “Then, too,” she adds, “The bid process is arduous and time-consuming.” As a consultant, Pastorelle helps DBEs work through the process, attending conferences and networking on their behalf.

Once through the door with an airport concession, "It takes fierce tenacity, flexibility and hard work," Pastorelle says. The concessions business has lots of moving parts, with long hours, difficulty finding and keeping good workers and a need to interface efficiently with the Airport Authority, she notes. "But, if you like it, you love it. And it can be quite lucrative."

Pastorelle started her career with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from DePaul University. From there she worked as a marketing director for the International Council of Shopping Centers.  In 1994, she was recruited as part of a team developing a system of management for concessions at Midway Airport and ultimately provided airport concessions management and planning, airport finance, and business management services to Chicago O'Hare and Midway airports, with combined 2001 sales of $200 million.

Today, her thriving firm provides business development support for established businesses looking to enter or grow in airport concessions.  Her Group offers RFP writing services to clients and helps them get ready to bid.  She is also an ACDBE partner for InMotion stores at O'Hare Airport and Terminal Getaway Spas at O'Hare and the Orlando Airport.

AMAC's annual conference is one of the most important that she attends for her own edification and on behalf of her clients, Pastorelle notes.  "It's at AMAC conferences that I get to meet and network with the primes," she says.  She is a passionate advocate for the legislative work that AMAC does keeping the DBE program strong and focused.  "Without that consistent political pressure, we could fall back into the days when the small concessionaire had no chance at all of making it into airports," she says.

For that reason, she has been the catalyst for the formation of the Chicago ACDBE Alliance.  The year-old group is focused on networking, mentorship and supporting one another as they enter the industry.  "We are also building a fund to offer scholarships and mentorships to high school students who are interested in the airport and aviation field."


AMAC Foundation Scholarship Awardees Announced

The AMAC Foundation is proud to announce the names of five outstanding young men and women who have been awarded scholarships.

Since 1998, the Foundation has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships to college students.

The Aviation and Professional Development Scholarship is presented to students who demonstrates an interest in pursuing a career in the aviation/airport industry and who is seeking a BS or BA in Aviation, Business Administration, Accounting, Architecture, Engineering, or Finance.

Recipients of these awards this year are Leonia Hunt who is attending the Florida Institute of Technology majoring in Aviation and Desmond Bunnell who is attending St. Louis University majoring in Flight Science. Hunt is from Merritt Island, FL and graduated from high school with a 3.9 GPA. . Bunnell is from Indianapolis, IN and graduated from high school with a 3.2 GPA.
Leonia Hunt photo Desmond Bunnell headshot
 Leonia Hunt  Desmond Bunnell


The AMAC Member Award is presented to an outstanding student who is a current AMAC member or a family member or mentee of an AMAC member. The recipient of this award is Roderick Griffin who is attending the University of Cincinnati. From West Chester, OH, Griffin graduated from high school with a 3.6 GPA.

Roderick Griffin headshot
 Roderick Griffin

Scholarships in Memoriam were established by the Charlotte Trade Foundation to honor loved ones and business partners at the Charlotte Airport. The PJ & Dietra Benton and Bernie Johnson Memorial Scholarships recognize these longtime AMAC members who were dedicated to scholarship, business leadership, and encouraging the success of fellow DBEs.

The recipient of the PJ & Dietra Benton Memorial Scholarship is Crystal Young of Mobile AL, who is attending Southern Illinois University. The Bernie Johnson Memorial Scholarship is presented to Ubaldo Ozaeta of Wichita, KS, who is attending the University of Arizona majoring in Aeronautical Management.
Crystal Young Ubaldo Ozaeta


Six BWI Labor Unions Call for Legislative Review of New Airport Chief

Six labor unions at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport have asked Maryland lawmakers to review the recent appointment of Ricky D. Smith as the airport's chief executive, citing federal allegations about unsafe icy and snowy runways during Smith's leadership at the Cleveland airport.

The unions - representing workers who maintain runways, staff airport stores and restaurants, prepare airline meals and drive shuttle vans - say they're concerned about passenger safety and "their work environment if understaffing becomes an issue at BWI."
Read more

Airport Hoping Fee Waivers Will Lure New Nonstop Flights

City aviation officials are hoping the City Council will sign off on a plan to court new carriers and more nonstop flights to the San Antonio International Airport with an aggressive incentive package that waives fees and rents in addition to providing marketing money of up to $200,000.
"These are changes that we think are required in a dynamic industry," said Frank Miller, aviation director for the San Antonio Airport System. "We're doing things that we haven't done in the past."

The Air Service Inventive Program, presented this week to the council's Economic and Human Development Committee, follows escalating criticism that the lack of nonstop service to places including Boston and Washington, D.C.'s, Ronald Reagan National Airport has been a deal breaker for companies considering a move to San Antonio.

Read more

Maine's Small Airports Provide Lifeline to Rural Businesses

At least twice a week, employees of and visitors to MMG Insurance Co. - a Presque Isle firm with locations in five states - can be found at the nearby Northern Maine Regional Airport.

They can take advantage of the airport's general aviation facilities to house the company plane, as well as commercial flights to Boston on PenAir, as part of a busy schedule of travel and meetings among staff, business partners and vendors.

"As it relates to northeast, rural Maine, the airport is critical, both in terms of access to this area and being able to reach out," says Matthew McHatten, chief operating officer at MMG. "It's been a big component in keeping northern Maine connected to the rest of the United States and, on some occasions, the world. Given our expansion to other states, it's important for a company headquartered here to be able to have commercial air service and general aviation. It allows us to be effective and connected."

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Chicago ACDBE

Chicago ACDBE Alliance Hosts Event for AMAC

The Chicago ACDBE Alliance hosted an event for AMAC on Wednesday, October 28th at O'Brien's Restaurant. The evening featured a presentation by Shelby Scales, President and CEO of AMAC and offered networking opportunities with fellow ACDBEs. Scales is pictured here (far right) with members of the ACDBE Alliance.



AMAC Registration Services Will be Off-Line on November 20th

Airport industry stakeholders who are eager to register for AMAC events or sign-up for our Speakers Bureau will hit a snag on November 20th, 2015.

Lanyon Data Center, our registration service, will be implementing a data center migration for RegOnline beginning on November 20, 2015 for about seven hours.

This migration and related improvements to Lanyon's infrastructure will enable us to provide better service and scalability across our full portfolio of solutions.

During the migration, RegOnline will be inaccessible to all users, including both event planners and attendees  - with full service being reinstated immediately following the completion of the move.

Please don't be discouraged. Just wait a day and register on the 21st!


Supplier Diversity Fair for Vets Planned in Connecticut

AMAC will participate in a Supplier Diversity Veteran Business Opportunity Fair which will be held November 10th and 11th at the Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort at 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd, Uncasville, CT 06382.

Hosted by Til Duty Is Done, a 501c3 veteran owned organization, at the Mohegan Sun, the event will offer mixers, business matchmaking opportunities, certification information, business plan development support and panels on a variety of business oriented topics.

The event will also feature a “Vets Rock” concert on November 11th emceed by Tony Orlando, headlined by Trace Adkins with special guests Dropkick Murphys and Madison Rising.  For more information about the Opportunity Fair and the Concert, contact Adrian Guglielmo

(917) 968-1357,

Western Forum Moves East to Washington D.C.

The Western Region Economic Opportunity and Policy Forum planned for December 2 and 3rd in Los Angeles has been moved to Washington, DC and will be hosted by the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) on March 22, 2016.  See the many outstanding networking, educational, and advocacy events planned throughout 2016:

March 23, 2016
Economic Opportunity and Policy Forum
Washington, DC
Hosted by Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority

March 24 & 25, 2016
Leadership Summit on Capitol Hill
Washington, DC

April 21 & 22, 2016
Great Lakes Regional Forum
Detroit, Michigan
Hosted by Wayne County Airport Authority

August 18-23, 2016
Annual Airport Business Diversity Conference
Cleveland, Ohio
Hosted by Cleveland Airport System