Connections – February 15, 2016


Darryl-DanielsDear Colleagues,

As you know AMAC is the only industry association advocating for diversity inclusion in procurement and contracting in the aviation industry. One of our most important program efforts is the annual industry day fly-in held in Washington, DC.  As Congress seeks to reauthorize the FAA bill, AMAC more than ever needs your voice, real business experiences and advocacy participation. Today's business leaders must protect the DBE and ACDBE programs for tomorrow's entrepreneurs. Please join us by registering, supporting and engaging the Airport Minority Advisory Council's (AMAC) Leadership Summit on Capitol Hill at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC on Wednesday, March 23rd.

Why should you participate?
The purpose of the Leadership Summit is to continue an open dialogue between AMAC members and lawmakers on important issues affecting the Airport Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and the Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) Programs and the airport industry.

AMAC's Leadership Summit is one of the best forums to voice your opinions to decision makers who can affect real change and to help policymakers understand the challenges and opportunities of operating in the airport environment.

For event details, including registration and sponsorship information,
review the Prospectus provided here.

What are we advocating for?

AMAC supports specific policies that are representative of, and vital to, the communities our nation's airports serve in the forthcoming Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization debate.  Specifically, we ask that you support policy proposals that:

  1. Strengthen the Airport DBE Program and include congressional findings regarding the continued need for contracting inclusion and deterring discrimination in the airport industry.
  2. Amend the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) statute to require M/W/DBE participation goals on PFC-only financed projects; and
  3. Conform U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) DBE Size Standard to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Definition.
For information on legislative policies that impact your business, download the AMAC Constituent Letter below.

I encourage you to participate in the Summit to continue supporting AMAC's work in advancing the promotion and participation of minority-owned, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises (M/W/DBEs) in airport contracting and employment.

We look forward to partnering with you and making this event fruitful for the business community.

With kind regards,
Darry Daniels
AMAC Board Chair


Sophia CavalliWith airline traffic growing like gangbusters, there is discussion everywhere of the urgent need for new infrastructure at airports to accommodate this growth. Western Region Diversity Director for construction powerhouse Balfour Beatty ( Sophia Cavalli says that means two things for her company and for diverse small businesses looking for partnership: “Opportunity and opportunity!”

“There’s a lot of work now in the aviation industry and a lot more anticipated for construction companies, says AMAC member Cavalli. “My job is three-pronged: to engage with the communities in my region (which includes all of California and Arizona), to help build community capacity to enable diverse small businesses to grow and prosper, and to identify diverse potential partners and joint ventures for Balfour Beatty from among DBEs.”

“We consider it a ‘best practice’ to build long term partnerships with small businesses and encourage growth in our communities at all levels,” she says. “It’s a business imperative,” she continues, “but more importantly, it is a way of doing business for our sustained and long-term success.”

Cavalli, who manages diversity inclusion for projects totaling $500-800 million annually, urges businesses looking for partnerships to begin the process right away. “Quite frankly, by the time a contract RFP is announced we’ve been studying the project for one to three years. We’ve already developed a plan of action and lined up our partners. We don’t wait for the documents to come out. “

Balfour Beatty is constantly seeking new partnerships and the sooner the DBE reaches out, the better their chances of being included in a contract down the road, she notes. “This is why our membership in AMAC is important to us. We get a chance to network with potential business partners at conferences and seminars and learn more about what they have to offer.”

Small businesses pursuing opportunities with major corporations like Balfour Beatty need to be able to differentiate themselves in some way from others who are doing the same, Cavalli notes.

“Perhaps your company can point to a stellar record of safety, or financial strength or strong relationships in the community or award-winning innovations,” she says. “It may be a compilation of some or all of these elements.”

When dialogue begins with a likely company, Balfour Beatty is looking for a variety of things. “The communication factor is key. Sharing information openly and collaboratively, particularly on financial matters, builds trust and strong relationships. A strong management team and good reputation are equally important. ”

Balfour Beatty also reviews the company’s past performance on similar projects and Cavalli urges potential partners to be open about errors made in the past. “Mistakes are not as important as visible proof that the company has learned from those mistakes and moved forward,” she notes.

Then, it gets down to that intangible, subjective thing called ‘chemistry’, she says. “Here is where time is so important. We need time to explore our chemistry and to build on it. That’s why we are constantly on the look-out for partners far in advance of specific contracts. This way we are not under the duress of time. It’s an easier and more elegant way of building a long term relationship.”

For those start-up companies that may not have the scope of experience that can attract the interest of a company the size of Balfour Beatty, she offers this suggestion: “Start with smaller projects and partnerships with smaller companies. Build a strong portfolio that you can ultimately bring to the table. Focus on the type of work that showcases your strength in the area that you want to grow into.”

foundation focus

Help Raise Scholarship Funds;AMAC Foundation Polo Shirt
Purchase an AMAC Foundation Polo Shirt

For a $25 donation, the AMAC Foundation is offering a high quality, attractive Polo shirt embroidered with the Foundation logo and tagline “Opportunities on the Rise.”

Proceeds from the sale of the shirt will go toward AMAC scholarships for young people interested in careers in the airport industry. The shirt is available in sizes from Small to Triple X. They can be purchased here:


Supplies are limited, so order early!

This shirt, which also features the airport retail giant Hudson Group logo on the sleeve, is offered in honor of AMAC founder Leon Watkins. Watson was recently recognized upon his retirement from Hudson, for his work in promoting diversity, inclusion, and transparency of business in the nation’s airports throughout his career. Watkins received an official proclamation from Hudson declaring February 24, 2016 as “Leon C. Watkins Appreciation Day” (View the official proclamation here.)

Thank you for your continuing support of the AMAC Foundation.

aviation news

Learn About Air Traffic Controllers during an Upcoming Live Webinar

Compliance4All, a continuing professional education provider which offers regulatory and compliance trainings for a variety of industries, will focus on Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) during an online webinar called “Terminal Radar Approach Control - How Air Traffic Controllers ‘Push Tin’ for a living.”

The session topic presents the key ATC concepts and procedures relating to those operations occurring between the control jurisdiction of the airport traffic control tower and the enroute ATC airspace, referred to as the Terminal Radar Control facility or TRACON.

The 90 minute webinar will be aired on April 7 at 10:00 am PST.

For further information and pricing to join the session


Lawmakers Ground Airport Fee Hike

By Keith Laing

A new measure from a key House panel would ground a proposal to nearly double the amount of money that airline passengers are charged to help pay for facility improvements.

Airport groups in Washington have been pushing Congress to nearly double the cap on the fee added to every plane ticket, which is known as the Passenger Facility Charge.

The increase would have hiked the maximum charge from $4.50 to $8.50 per flight segment.

The Federal Aviation Administration measure unveiled by the House Transportation Committee would keep the fee where it stands.

The proposal to increase the fees paid by passengers for airport projects faced strong pushback from the airline industry, which argued that passengers are already charged enough fees when they purchase tickets.


boeingBoeing Awarded Contract for Risk Reduction Support on Future Air Force One

Boeing has received a contract of an undisclosed value to help identify risk reduction strategies for the U.S. Air Force‘s Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program. The Air Force said Friday it will issue post-award modifications to procure Boeing’s 747-8 commercial aircraft to serve as a basis for the company to design and build the future presidential plane...


From the USDOT

USDOT to Host Small Business Day for Women’s History Month

A host of distinguished speakers, led by The US Department of Transportation’s Secretary Anthony Foxx, have been confirmed for the USDOT’s Small Business Day.

DOT’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization is holding the event in honor of Women’s History Month on Wednesday, March 2nd from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Titled “Opportunity Knocks, Transportation is the Answer”, speakers will include Christy Goldfuss, White House Council on Environmental Quality; Maria Contreras-Sweet, U.S. SBA Administrator Managing Director; and USDOT Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez, among others.

Guests are invited to learn about direct contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses and to participate in networking with Prime Contractors, federal, state and local representatives.

The event will be held at the USDOT West Atrium, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, D.C. 20590


Registration is now OPEN for the 2016 DOT Civil Rights Virtual Symposium
to be held March 8-10, 2016.

Called Speaking with One Voice: Accelerating Access to Opportunity, the symposium is a three-day virtual event that will connect stakeholders and perspectives across the civil rights transportation community.

The target audience includes Federal and State employees; DOT stakeholders; EEO, Diversity & Inclusion, and Civil Rights professionals; and members of the public with an interest in transportation and civil rights topics.  Presentations will take place in virtual web conference meeting rooms.

To register for the event, click here.

amac news

John Potter

MWAA’s John Potter to Speak at AMAC Economic Opportunity and Policy Forum

John Potter, CEO of Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) and co-host of AMAC’s 22nd Annual Economic Opportunity and Policy Forum, will address attendees as part of the Aviation Forecast Panel during the General Session of the event.

The Forum will be held at the Renaissance DC Downtown Hotel on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.


The Airports Authority is responsible for operating and managing the two-airport system serving the nation’s capital, consisting of Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International Airports.  Combined, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s Airports serve more than 42 million passengers a year.

In addition, the Airports Authority operates the Dulles Toll Road in Northern Virginia and manages construction of the Silver Line extension of the Washington area’s Metrorail mass transit system.

Since assuming his position in July 2011, Potter has focused on strengthening the organization’s governance, embracing new customer-focused processes and technologies and enhancing the efficiency of business and technical operations.  His efforts have resulted in a realignment of key policies and processes and achieved significant financial savings.

Potter will join a distinguished group of panelists and speakers who will announced in upcoming Connections articles.

AMAC Presents Diversity Track at March Airport Planning Design and Construction Symposium

ACC, AAAE and the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) have collaborated to include an exciting new track in this year's program. The track will encourage airport stakeholders to carefully examine the business benefits of diversity and inclusion.

The Diversity Track recognizes that diversity and inclusion has emerged as a world-wide practice. The goal of the track is to educate airport stakeholders on the meaning and value of diversity and inclusion and how to integrate and lead diversity and inclusion initiatives. Speakers representing airports and leaders actively engaged in businesses at airports will address the benefits of diversity and inclusion in procurement, workforce and teaming. For those seeking ways and opportunities to serve customers more effectively and to increase an organization's innovation and agility, diversity is a key element.

Speakers will address the foundational steps that organizations seeking to begin a world-class diversity and inclusion initiative would take.


  • 25 Unique Technical Workshops with More Than 80 Technical Presentations
  • "Open Mic" Sessions with FAA and TSA
  • Networking Sessions for Thought-Provoking Discussions and Connections
  • Keynote Talks and Plenary Sessions with Industry Leaders
  • More Than 40 Exhibitors Demonstrating New Technology


membership corner

Join AMAC Now, Get Three Months for Free

If you join AMAC now, you will receive three months free membership!  This irresistible deal is offered through April 30th.
Membership has many significant benefits.  Through our annual conferences, you will be able to further develop your professional expertise and business network. Three times a year we will bring to you educational programs covering a range of subjects from how to do business at airports to important issues affecting the DBE Program to regional opportunities and policies. Our conferences attract airport executives, concessionaires, professional service providers, and government.

And, that’s not all.  Visit our Members Benefits section to learn more about the many advantages and privileges that AMAC membership offers.


Hartsfield- Jackson Plans Airport Industry Day Feb. 29th

Atlanta airport General Manager Miguel Southwell and Asst. General Manager Franklin Rucker will be among those attending and presenting at an Industry Day event showcasing ATLNEXT.

Atlnext Miguel Southwell
Miguel Southwell
ATLNext Franklin Rucker
Franklin Rucker

Businesses interested in learning about contracting opportunities resulting from ATLNEXT, a massive airport modernization and expansion project planned for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, are invited to the special event on February 29th.

Over the next year, Hartsfield-Jackson will spend an estimated $800 million to plan, design and construct this impressive project. Upcoming contracting opportunities will include central passenger modernization, cargo expansion, facility maintenance, parking structures, a hotel, mixed use areas and more.

The ATLNEXT Industry Day will include an overview, panel discussions, workshops, a luncheon, contracting opportunities and an EXPO/networking session.

It will be held at the Georgia International Convention Center, 2000 Convention Center Concourse, Atlanta, GA 30337



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.