Connections – January 4, 2016

Message from the president

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

A new year is a time for new beginnings – new hope, new spirit and a new chance to get it right. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.

According to recent polls, the three most popular resolutions are -- to spend more time with family and/or friends; to exercise more; and to lose weight. All of these are excellent!

Since I have a very specific agenda, however, I’d like to recommend a few resolutions for you that will help AMAC continue to grow and prosper in 2016. Here they are, with handy links so you can start immediately:

  • Renew my AMAC Membership
  • Engage as a volunteer on a AMAC Committee
  • Attend and participate in AMAC Industry Day on Capitol Hill
  • Attend the Airport Business Diversity Conference and Forums in my Region
  • Participate in AMAC events as a sponsor, an advertiser, or an exhibitor
  • Sponsor an AMAC Summer Intern and contribute to the Foundation Scholarship Fund
  • Sign Up for the AMAC Speakers Bureau
  • Do business with a AMAC member
  • Visit the AMAC website regularly to keep up with organization news
  • And, relax and take time to read the Connections newsletter to identify opportunities and enjoy the articles

I also offer a handful of quotes that I hope will motivate and inspire you to follow through with all of your resolutions!

“Whatever you do or dream you can do – begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it”- -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” ― Carl Bard

"The beginning is the most important part of the work." – Plato

Best wishes for a blessed and prosperous 2016,

Shelby Scales


AMAC membership spotlight

Spotlight on AMAC Member Cassandra Jackson

At this time of the year when many are considering life makeovers, AMAC member and successful businesswoman Cassandra Jackson may serve as an inspiration.

In 2009, after 29 years of marriage to a military serviceman with whom she had travelled the world, Jackson was divorced and afloat. “My husband retired from the military and abruptly asked for a divorce,” she recalls.

“I had some important decisions to make about my future,” she continued. “I needed to find a way to start again.”

Jackson had worked in the health care industry throughout her marriage. The Macon, GA native has a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Information Management in a dual degree program from Clark College and Emory University, School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA. She also has a Master of Science degree in Health Care Administration from Central Michigan University.

With her health background and a brave outlook, Jackson set out to build a business in massage therapy, Where East Meets West Spa (

“My daughter, Nichole (Jackson also has a son, Anthony) worked in Beijing China. On a visit, she took me to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic where she would receive acupuncture and acupressure massage therapy.  Once I tried this style of massage, I realized how beneficial it would be as a healthy and affordable alternative for military personnel.”

Jackson contacted Anacostia-Bolling Air Force Base in SE Washington, DC and proposed setting up shop. She was given a three month trial that was a big success. But the space had been promised to another business, so after her trial period was up, she was out the door.

Undaunted, Jackson continued to explore other avenues for her business. “The three month trial convinced me that I could make a go of this,” she says with a smile. “This is a service that is needed. Our military personnel are definitely stressed out.”

Others agreed. It was not long before she got a call from Anacostia-Bolling. The business that had taken the space had failed, they wanted her back. In 2011, Jackson expanded her business to Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Jackson joined AMAC encouraged by other members to seek a joint venture partner to open her spas in an airport setting. “This is perfect for travelers who are dealing with a heightened level of stress,” she notes. “A quick massage in between flights is an excellent choice that helps you to arrive at your destination healthier and energized.”

AMAC, she says, offers a supportive network of people who are helping her move forward with her plan. “I enjoy the training sessions and workshops that give me both confidence and direction.”



foundation focus

shutterstock_108272516Make 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

DOT Shifts to Advocacy as Airline Complaints Rise

By Christopher Elliott Washington Post Columnist

Kendra Thornton is an unlikely candidate for government aid, but when Frontier Airlines recently denied her a seat on a flight from Chicago to Denver, that’s exactly what she got.

Thornton and her three young children were headed to a ranch vacation in Missoula, Mont. When they tried to check in for their flight at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, an airline representative informed her family that they’d forfeited their seats.

“Frontier said they’d tried to contact us through our travel agency to tell us our first flight was oversold,” she says. “When they didn’t hear back, they canceled our seats.”

Thornton, who runs a Chicago travel agency and is a regularly featured expert on travel appearing on local TV, says she’s certain the airline had her email address. She had to pay an extra $2,400 to fly to Montana on another airline. Frontier refunded the unused tickets, but nothing more.

That’s not how it’s supposed to work. Thornton and her kids should have been offered 400 percent of their one-way fare, up to a $1,350 maximum per passenger, for being denied boarding. And it’s a little-known fact that the Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division helps consumers such as her.


2678915900_aee394c02a_oWhere to get Food from a Top Chef? Head to the Airport

By Lori Aratani Washington Post

Forget New York. Forget Vegas. Among celebrity chefs, the hot spot for fine dining is . . . the airport.

From Newark to Atlanta, from Los Angeles to Virginia, the list of chefs adding airports to their restaurant portfolios reads like a Who’s Who of the cooking world: Rick Bayless, Alain Ducasse, Cat Cora, Michael Voltaggio, Mike Isabella, Carla Hall.

Soon, the dining options at Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport, home to United Airlines, will include offerings from no fewer than four chefs with Michelin stars, one of dining’s most prestigious awards. Concepts include a “surf bar and sushi oasis” from Josh Capon and French country fare from Alex Guarnaschelli.

“The traveling public is demanding better food,” said Frank Sickelsmith, vice president of adult beverage and restaurant development for HMS Host, the Bethesda, Md.-based company that helped pioneer the celebrity chef trend with Todd English’s Southwestern spin on the steak house, Bonfire. “We have become a foodie culture.”





michaelsvagdisSSP North America’s CEO will Chair AMAC’s 2016 National Conference

AMAC is proud to announce that Michael Svagdis, CEO of SSP North America will chair the 2016 AMAC Airport Business Diversity Conference planned for August 19-23 in Cleveland, Ohio.

SSP is a leading operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide. With a heritage stretching back over 60 years, SSP has nearly 30,000 employees, serving approximately a million customers every day. It has business at circa 130 airports and circa 270 rail stations, and operates approximately 2,000 units in 29 countries around the world.

SSP America, a division of SSP Group, has positioned itself as the food travel expert, with more than 200 concessions in the U.S. and Canada operating in 24 airports.

“I’m honored to serve as the Chair of the 2016 AMAC Airport Business Diversity Conference,” says Svagdis.  “SSP America is a proud and long-time member of AMAC and understands well the important role the organization plays in promoting diversity within our industry. Cleveland, The Rock and Roll Capital of the World, is ready to welcome us in 2016, so save the date and be sure to register early.”

The Annual Airport Business Diversity Conference brings together businesses, aviation professionals, government officials and individuals from around the country to discuss a variety of subjects. These topics range from how to do business at airports to public policy issues impacting the entire aviation industry.

Attended by nationally known celebrities and commentators, renowned authors, influential political and government officials, and industry professionals telling their stories of challenge and success at airports, this event is ranked as the third largest aviation conference in the United States.

“We are thrilled to have Michael on board to support and direct AMAC’s 32nd Annual Conference,” says Shelby Scales, President and CEO of AMAC. “Michael is a 25 year veteran in the food service industry.   His expertise in airport concessions and his national connections will help us make this conference one of the best yet.”

AMAC Teams with ACC and AAAE to Offer Diversity Sessions at Symposium

AMAC is teaming with the Airport Consultants Council (ACC)and the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) to offer sessions on diversity in the aviation industry at the 2016 Airport Planning, Design & Construction Symposium.

The Symposium, which will be held March 2-4, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah, is considered the preeminent technical event where attendees can gain the latest information and developments affecting the industry. It will feature a full agenda across six focus areas including planning, terminal/airside, engineering/airside, project management/construction management, diversity, and innovation.

Each track will host multiple sessions on everything from the hot topic that is on everyone's mind to the classic issues that continue to percolate.

AMAC’s diversity mini-track will offer three sessions that will cover topics like diversity in the workforce and win-win teaming strategies.





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

For bid opportunities click here.