Connections – August 15, 2016

conference update

KR MagazineAMAC President Interviewed on Radio One Cleveland

AMAC President and CEO Krystal Blumfield was interviewed on Radio One’s 93.1 WZAK Access Cleveland show.  She shared background information on AMAC’s mission and encouraged business owners and airport industry stakeholders to attend the upcoming AMAC Business Diversity Conference on August 19-22.   The interview will air today.


Airport Business CEO Panel offers Inspiration and Education

An inspirational group of seasoned aviation corporate CEO's will discuss the high-level business strategies needed in the industry on Monday, August 22 at the AMAC Airport Business Diversity Conference.  They will offer strategies to drive growth and profit while delivering quality service and cultivating an energized workforce. With experience spanning all aspects of the aviation and commercial services industry, this highly regarded panel will provide insights into the common obstacles faced by business leaders who lead companies of all sizes and types.

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Founder and CEO
Chairman and CEO
Branch Hernandez Consulting
Branch Benefits Consultants
President and CEO
Connico Incorporated
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Conrac Solutions, LLC


Owner and President
Business Traveler Services, Inc.

President and CEO
Pacific Gateway Concessions

AMAC Conference Airport Directors Forum Features Diverse Group

The Airport Directors 20/30 Vision Forum has become a conference highlight. This Forum is designed to provide conference attendees an opportunity to hear about the future of airports and the aviation industry from the Airport Directors who lead some of our nation's key airports. This unique workshop is presented in a "talk show" format to provide a relaxed environment for the diverse group of Directors to candidly express their opinions and engage in dynamic discussions.

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President & CEO 
San Diego County Regional
Airport Authority

Chicago Department
of Aviation

Chief Operating Officer
Denver International

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President & CEO
International Airport

Chief Executive Officer
Jackson Municipal
Airport Authority

Executive Director
Indianapolis Airport


Cleveland Hopkins International Airport


Training for DBELO/DBE/UCP Professionals Pre-AMAC Conference

Each year in partnership with the National DBE Training Institute, AMAC presents two pre-conference professional training opportunities.  Join us in Cleveland for two separate, two-day training tracks for UCP Certifiers, and for DBE/ACDBE Program Administrators.

These pre-conference events require separate registration. Click here to register. Classes will be presented by Dr. Linval Crosdale, and Ken Weeden & Associates.

Steve Harvey Appearance Cancelled

The AMAC Airport Business Diversity Conference Planning Committee regrets to announce that comedian and talk show host Steve Harvey will not be able to speak at our Sunday, August 21st luncheon due to a scheduling conflict.

member spotlight


When Ajay Ravulapalli’s mother-in-law died unexpectedly five years ago in India at age 52, both he and his wife, Lakshmi Alekhya were devastated.  “Rama-Mani Pathi was a saint in human form,” Ravulapalli recalls.  “She believed in caring for and preserving all life on the planet.”

Her death was the impetus for the energetic family to develop a thriving health-oriented business that is now set to offer AMAC a way to grow visibility and funding.

In Rama-Mani’s honor, the Ravulapallis founded a company called MaMa Organic Herbs.  “The name works on three levels,” Ravulapalli notes with a smile.  It is a tribute to Alekhya’s mother, it evokes environmental essence of ‘Mother Earth’ and it includes the first letters of our two daughter’s names – Maha and Maia!”

Ravulapalli’s wife, who is President and CEO of the enterprise, had been formulating aromatherapy and herbal products for more than 20 years based on the ancient holistic science of Ayurveda that she had learned from her grandfather.  When the company opened a retail operation in Washington DC, she put these skills to work developing and packaging healing herbs, aromatherapy blends, facial creams and soothing soaps.

“One day, three years ago, an airport concessions owner encouraged us to open a shop at Dulles airport, says Ravulapalli, who is the company’s Business Development Director and strategist.  “I immediately joined AMAC and began exploring other possibilities.”  This led to a commitment to AMAC that has been recognized by that organization’s leadership.

“Ajay Ravulapalli has been a dedicated supporter of AMAC's mission to promote the employment of minorities and women in the aviation industry,” says AMAC President and CEO Krystal Brumfield.   “We are proud to honor him with AMAC's Presidential Catalyst award this year.”

Today, the popularity of MaMa Organic Herbs has grown to the point where the business strategy has changed.  It is now a manufacturing company, supplying Organic/Natural products to stores throughout the country.  The family moved to Phoenixville, PA and to grow their operation.

In keeping with their vow to provide community service, their staff is almost entirely made up of people with disabilities from the Camphill Special School, among others.

 “Our successful business allows us the luxury to continue to give back,” Ravulapalli says.  The family continues their personal community outreach through anonymous donations of healthy food packets super food organic snacks to free Pantries in low income “food deserts.”   They also planned to supply super-food, organic snack packets to schools at a very low cost.  

“This led to a brainstorm,” he notes.  “The food packets would be ideal for travelers!”  Many of the organic products sold in airports are very high priced and are not as healthy as they could be, he notes with polite restraint.  “MaMa Organic Snacks would be an excellent alternative.”

Ravulapalli has offered to co-brand his new product with AMAC and donate a portion of each sale to the organization. “We would like to also place information on each package about AMAC’s mission so customers become more aware of their work.”

At the upcoming AMAC Diversity Conference, the AMAC and the family plans to announce the new partnership and display the MaMa Organic Snack packets that contain dried berry mixes, trail mix, walnuts, cashews, pistachios and other superfood snacks.


aviation news

Nashville Airport Plans $1.2 Billion Overhaul

Nashville International Airport is embarking on an ambitious $1.2 billion renovation that will touch virtually every corner of the airport and change every aspect of the traveler’s experience.

New parking, more security lines, larger baggage claim and ticketing areas, expanded concourse space and a first-of-its-kind hotel are among the projects planned over the next five to seven years.

The renovation and expansion, dubbed by the Metro Nashville Airport Authority as “BNA Vision,” will rank among the most expensive in the city's history.


Orlando-Airport-Ticket LobbiesOrlando Airport Spends $146 Million to Expand Ticket Lobbies

Work is under way on Orlando International Airport's ticket lobbies, a $146 million makeover meant to expand their size, improve their look and help passengers check in more quickly.

Set to finish late 2017, the finished remodel will include a solid band of television screens that will run behind the ticket counters, featuring information on weather and flights. Lobbies on both airsides will get a total of 32,000 additional square feet and dozens of new self-service kiosks.

"The days of the ticket counter are quietly disappearing," said Stan Thornton, chief operating officer at the airport.


How a City's Economy Depends on Airports

In the 19th century, urban communities were built around harbors and train stations. But will we ever see cities built around airports?

Airports are great for people watching, of course, but it turns out they're also critically important for city planning, regional development and the future of urban civilization.  Who knew?

In today's Seeker Daily report, veteran traveler Jules Suzdaltsev looks at the increasingly vital function that airports serve in the 21st century.



AMAC news

PHL Airport Business Forum Planned for Oct. 7:  Save the Date

Interested Business owners are encouraged to attend a Business Opportunity Forum planned for

Friday, October 7, 2016 at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott from 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM

The forum is being held in collaboration with Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week

Invitation and Details will follow

SFO Plans Meeting to set DBE Goals for Years 2017-2019

San Francisco International Airport is in the process of setting DBE goals for DOT federally-funded projects for federal fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019. The goal period will commence on October 1, 2017 and end on September 30, 2019.

DBE goals will be set for federally funded construction and professional service projects anticipated for the three-year period. Please note that the DBE goal applies only to federally funded construction and professional services projects. A separate three-year goal is set for airport concessions activity.

Interested parties are invited to attend a stakeholder meeting Wednesday, August 17, 2016, from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. to review the proposed goal and methodology and to provide any information that may assist in the development of the final DBE goal for SFO.

For More Information Click here:

FAA Issues Interim Goal for Illinois DBE Requirements; Sets Public Comment Period

In accordance with 49 CFR 26.45(f)(5), the Illinois Department of Transportation is requesting that FAA approve an interim aspirational goal of 22.77% for DBE business certifications for the State.

The interim goal-setting methodology is intended to be temporary and is available at the District Resource Centers, and can also be found on the following website:, listed under the Documents and Studies tab.

Public comments regarding this interim goal may be submitted until the close of business on Friday, August 26, 2016, to: Public comments may also be submitted via postal mail to the following address:

Illinois Department of Transportation
Bureau of Small Business Enterprises, Rm 319
Attn: Pamela Simon
2300 South Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, IL 62764

All communications received from the public will be provided to FAA to supplement the Department’s interim goal-setting proposal and may be used for future goal-setting purposes.

Indianapolis Airport Authority issues RFQ

The Indianapolis Airport Authority is pleased to announce an RFQ for  Concrete Deck Repair (Q-16-008) at the Indianapolis Downtown Heliport

The timeline and requirements for submitting questions, submissions, and other details for these requests are specified in the documents at the link below.

membership corner

Lise DAndrea_AirportAnnapolis CEO Lise D’Andrea Receives 2016 Brava Award

Smart CEO magazine recently announced Annapolis-based business owner and CEO, Lise D’Andrea, a 2016 CEO Brava Award winner for the Baltimore region.  Smart CEO selects the all-female Brava winners based on company growth, community impact and mentoring.

D’Andrea’s company, Customer Service Experts (CSE), is a customer experience consulting firm and a leader in customer service optimization and workplace culture. Since 2000, CSE has focussed their attention on the airport industry, implementing customer service training programs, mystery shopping and consulting, offering travelers a more consistent airport experience.

“When we work with a client to optimize service, we look at the organization holistically to determine how we can integrate a strategy that embodies their mission statement while providing employees and customers with a defined, rewarding and consistent experience,” says CEO Lise D’Andrea.

Customer Service Experts’ philanthropic division, Caring Connections works directly with the Anne Arundel County Food Bank to bring awareness to our region’s food insecurity.  Ms. D’Andrea leads a team of 27 employees in the Annapolis, Maryland corporate headquarters.  As a Temple Hall of Fame athlete, D’Andrea coaches both adult and children’s lacrosse leagues throughout Anne Arundel county.

For more information on Customer Service Experts or the Smart CEO Brava Program, please see the following:

CNN features AMAC Member Hudson Group

A recent syndicated article featured the airport concessions powerhouse Hudson Group. Check it out here . The article is among the top headlines of CNN and CNN Travel and discusses the evolution of airport retail, top-selling items, and newsstand convenience.

jobs board

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.

bid board

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.