Connections – May 9, 2016


AMAC National Conference Planning is Off to a Rocking Start

Planning for the popular AMAC 2016 Annual Airport Diversity Conference is off to a stellar start with high profile speakers and entertainers already signed on to attend. 

Subtitled “Rocking and Rolling Together: Promoting Diversity Inclusion in Airports” the 32 Annual Conference will be held in the “Rock and Roll City” of Cleveland, Ohio.  The event’s venue is the Hilton Cleveland Downtown for three days, August 19 – 23, 2016.

Howard HewettNoted silky-smooth, soulful singer Howard Hewett is scheduled to perform kick off the Conference at the Welcome to Cleveland Reception at the Rock & Roll Center from 7:00pm – 9:00pm on Sunday, August 21.

Gifted with one of the most instantly recognizable voices in contemporary music, Hewett has been described by Rolling Stone magazine as “the premier vocalist in the post-Marvin Gaye era of romantic pop.”




Margot Dorfman, CEO and Co-Founder U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce has been confirmed as the keynote for the Celebrating Women in Aviation Breakfast. 

Dorfman is a far-sighted leader who has dedicated herself to promoting the economic and leadership interest of women. Her extensive background in business, business ownership, publishing and nonprofit leadership has prepared her to set the vision for the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce (

The breakfast will take place on Tuesday, August 23 from 7:30-9:00 am.



nina_vacaAlso slated as a keynote speaker at the conference is Nina Vaca, Chairman and CEO of workforce solutions powerhouse Pinnacle Group, and Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. 

Because of her many successes with Pinnacle Group and the respect she has earned within the business community, Vaca has been elected to serve as a director of three publicly traded companies, and has won numerous awards both for the company and as an individual.

Vaca has been named one of the most influential Latinos in the United States for the past eight years, and has also been called one of the country’s 100 most intriguing entrepreneurs by Goldman Sachs.

Join us for three days of professional development and business networking opportunities to foster and grow strategic partnerships across all lines of business. Conference attendees include airport operators, airline executives, government officials and prime contractors, as well as minority and women business owners, small business enterprises, airport concessions and disadvantaged business enterprises (M/W/SBE/AC/DBE).

Spotlight on AMAC’s Chrystal Stowe

Chrystal Stowe_1“The best thing about AMAC conferences and events,“ says Chrystal Stowe, “is not only do you meet your peers, but you meet with Airport Authority leadership, staff and board members.  You have the chance to interface with people who have procurement and contracting authority.”

Chrystal Stowe is a whirlwind of talent, charm, creativity and energy.  As Director of Business Development for the Smoot Construction Company, Washington, D.C., she puts all those qualities to work planning, identifying and pursuing construction opportunities ranging from $20 million to more than $500 million.

With a background as a news anchor and in public relations, Stowe was Public Affairs Director for North Carolina Governor Jim Martin for eight years.  “It was during that period that I got interested in economic development and the real estate development business,” she recalls.

When her husband’s work took the family to Ohio, a community affairs position with the Columbus, Ohio-based Smoot Construction was a great fit.  But, with Stowe’s combination of experience, personality and construction savvy, her job soon morphed into business development.

Smoot Construction is a venerable company founded in 1946 by then brick mason Sherman Smoot.  Over sixty years, the company has grown into one of the country’s largest minority owned businesses, building malls, office towers, college residence halls and hotels in Ohio and across the country.  The recently formed Smoot Construction Company DC, is owned by the family, but is a separate entity from the original.

In the early 2000’s Smoot began airport infrastructure development, most often as the prime contractor.  “My first project was an airport terminal expansion at Columbus International Airport,” Stowe says.  “Smoot was the prime contractor and I ran the small business participation program.”

Since then, she notes, Smoot has worked on airport projects in Norfolk, VA; D.C.’s Dulles Airport; and in Indianapolis.  Additional the company has built six Air Traffic Control towers for FAA in various markets.

With that significant airport industry experience under her belt, Stowe has been a featured speaker at a number of AMAC events to talk to MBEs, WBEs and DBEs about how to market their services to airports.

“To be frank, I have to tell my audiences that Smoot Construction does not have a ‘secret sauce’ for success,” she says with a wry smile.  “It takes perseverance and persuasion.”

And, she notes, “When you get that first job, you have to bring your ‘A’ game.  You will always have to outperform the more established competition, and you will have to prove yourself again and again.  That is our burden to bear.”


Legislative Update

Image(4)FAA Accepting Comments on Proposed Policy Change
on PFC Funding for Airport Rail Projects

30-Day Comment Period Ends June 2nd

Last week the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it is seeking comments to proposed policy changes regarding the usage of passenger facility charge (PFC) funds to support airport rail projects.

Since 2004, the FAA’s PFC eligibility policy regarding airport ground access transportation projects has embraced projects that are exclusively on airport property and for the exclusive use of airport patrons and employees.  The FAA is now evaluating whether, consistent with national intermodal policy, it should reconsider its policy to only permit ground access projects where the airport terminal is terminus of a rail line, or whether PFCs should also be available for other types of rail projects.

In its announcement, the FAA acknowledges changes in “population and demographic trends” in addition to the propensity for “financially and practically inefficient outcomes” as principal drivers of the proposed changes to the 2004 policy interpretation.

The FAA invites interested persons to submit written comments, data, or views concerning the PFC proposal.   The 30-day comment period ends on June 2, 2016 and comments may be filed at:


Foundation FOCUS


AMAC Seeks Applications for Scholarship Awards

The AMAC foundation is issuing a call for applications from college bound and college students seeking scholarship support.

Since 1998, The AMAC Foundation has awarded over $300,000 in scholarships to college students. The scholarships are awarded in three categories.  This first is an Aviation and Professional Development Scholarship awarded to a student who demonstrates and interest and desire to pursue a career in the aviation/airport industry and who is seeking a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts degree in Aviation, Business Administration, Accounting, Architecture, Engineering, or Finance.

The second category is an AMAC Member Award which is granted to a student who is a current AMAC member or a family member or mentee of an AMAC member.

The third category is Scholarships in Memoriam.  The Charlotte Trade Foundation has established the PJ & Dietra Benton and Bernie Johnson Memorial Scholarships in honor of their loved ones and close business partners at the Charlotte Airport. These longtime AMAC members were dedicated to scholarship, business leadership, and encouraging the success of fellow DBEs.  The AMAC Foundation is proud to honor their legacy by supporting student scholars.



Aviation News

Salt Lake City Announces Plans for Second New Concourse


Salt Lake City International Airport is planning to build a $740 million concourse north of the existing terminal to accommodate forecasted growth in passenger traffic and to replace aging facilities.


HMSHost Awarded Concessions For Piedmont Triad Airport


HMSHost has taken over responsibility for operating six restaurants at Piedmont Triad International Airport in North Carolina.


Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta to Become a Major Cargo Airport


Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport's aviation general manager, Miguel Southwell, has vowed to make his gateway one of the US's top five airports for cargo traffic.




AMAC 2016 Board of Directors Nominations Sought

It is time to begin the 2016 Board of Directors Campaign and Election process! Please be advised, that the nomination period will be opening May 5-27, 2016. This period is not only an opportunity to vote for AMAC leadership but also to help frame and support the future of the organization.

As a voting member, your initial impact on the direction, goals and initiatives of AMAC is in the election process.  Whether standing for office yourself, nominating a viable candidate for office, supporting a nominee, or simply making certain that your vote is counted, participation in the election process is not only an opportunity, it is also a responsibility.

Open Positions

1.    Board Chairman
2.    Second Vice Chair
3.    Regional Director- Western (1)
4.    Regional Director - Southeast (1)
5.    Regional Director- Southwest (1)
6.    Regional Director- Eastern (1)


Call for Nominations for the 2016 AMAC Catalyst Awards

The AMAC Catalyst Awards honor members who have made outstanding contributions to furthering the goals of AMAC. All AMAC members are invited to nominate individuals or organizations in one or more categories.

Please visit the AMAC conference website at to download the application. Applications must be submitted by May 20th, 2016.

Winners will be honored at the AMAC Business Diversity Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.


DOT News

DOT Earns SBA Procurement A+

DOT is proud to be a leader in the Federal government, earning a grade of "A+" from the Small Business Administration (SBA) on this year’s Annual Small Business Procurement Scorecard.

DOT's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), led by Brandon Neal and the Office of Procurement, led by Dr. Willie Smith, worked closely together and were instrumental in this achievement by providing a range of support to help small businesses compete for these contracts.

DOT alone awarded double the federal average in Fiscal Year 2015. For the year, more than 50 percent of procurement contracts went to small businesses.

Established by Law, the Annual Scorecard is an assessment tool to (1) measure how well federal agencies reach their small business and socio-economic prime contracting and subcontracting goals, (2) provide accurate and transparent contracting data and (3) report agency-specific progress or small businesses, small businesses owned by women, small disadvantaged businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and small businesses located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones).

Through OSDBU, small businesses are ensured fair access to federal contracting opportunities.  The office also assists these businesses in competing in other programs for transportation-related projects.

About the achievement, OSDBU Director Brandon Neal said, “We pride ourselves in helping a diverse base of small businesses grow and develop, including supporting women, disabled veterans, and disadvantaged owners.”

Secretary Foxx lauded this accomplishment: “I’ve said this before, but transportation is about much more than just getting from point A to point B; it’s about getting to a better life. Our perennial “A+” rating from the SBA demonstrates a holistic commitment to providing ladders of opportunity to small and disadvantaged business.”

“When we support America's small businesses, they provide value to government and to the economy in return. As SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet said, “Small businesses get the revenue they need to grow and create jobs, and the federal government gets the chance to work with some of the most responsive, innovative and nimble companies in the U.S. while the economy grows.”


Membership Corner

Save the Date for the WBENC Conference June 21-23

The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council will hold its annual Conference in Orlando, FL on June 21-23.  Subtitled “Creating Magic Together”, the event will offer networking, seminars and panel discussions, among other activities.


TRB Webinar: Legal Aspects of Airport Programs

The Transportation Research Board (TRB ) will conduct a free webinar on Tuesday, May 24, 2016, from 2:00-3:30PM ET that features research conducted by TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) which provides an overview of two Legal Research Digests prepared for the airport industry.

This webinar is geared toward regulatory officials, policy makers, and attorneys in the field who would like information about sovereign immunity and first amendment activities.

Participants must register in advance of the webinar, and there is no fee associated with this webinar. This webinar will provide 1.5 Continuing Education Units for Accredited Airport Executives. This webinar is pending approval by the American Institute of Certified Planners for 1.5 Certification Maintenance Credits. TRB is also offering 1.25 CLE credits for this webinar.

Webinar Presenters

  • Pamella Seay, Seay Law International
  • Kyle Seay, Seay Law International
  • John Hodge, John Adams Hodge and Associates, LLC
  • Jody Howick, Howick Law, PLLC

Moderated by: Lee Thomson, Esq.


New Member Benefits Program Offered

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:


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.