Connections – January 17, 2017

message from the president

Dear Members and Friends:

As we wish farewell to President Obama and prepare for the inauguration of the 45th president, AMAC’s legislative agenda remains constant and urgent -- to promote the inclusion of women and minorities in airport and aviation industry contracting and employment.

Specifically our priorities are to keep a watchful eye on upcoming issues including:

  • Our nation’s investment in infrastructure;
  • FAA reauthorization;
  • Reform of the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system;
  • Finding new funding options for surface transportation; and
  • The effect regulations have on innovation and efficiency.

I urge you to join us on March 22nd for AMAC’s Annual Leadership Summit.  We will meet with members of Congress to discuss the benefits and challenges of the DBE program and operating a business in the aviation industry.

This will be our opportunity to explore vital industry topics including:  the economic benefits of passenger facility charges (PFC) having a DBE requirement; the importance of a long term FAA reauthorization; and bringing certainty to the nation's infrastructure projects as the US aviation system prepares for an increase from 800 million annual passengers in 2017 to 1 billion annual passengers by 2027.

Don't miss your chance to make the impact of a lifetime.  Trust me, I know from my experience as a former staffer on Capitol Hill, if we don't speak up for our own interests, no one will.

I look forward to walking the halls of Congress with you on March 22nd. Please register today.






Krystal Brumfield


legislative update

USDOT Secretary Designate Strikes Collaborative Tone
During Nomination Hearing

U.S. Senators Duckworth (IL) and Masto (NV) Stress Importance of DBE Program

“I've always been a tremendous supporter of small businesses; I've been a tremendous supporter of communities of color, of women. When I was secretary of labor I was the only federal cabinet secretary to have gender parity in the executive leadership at the Department of Labor.  So these are issues that I've worked with all my career and I will continue to work on them with you.”  ―Elaine Chao in response to U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) regarding preservation of Federal DBE Program

On Wednesday, January 11, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held its confirmation hearing for Secretary-designee Elaine Chao. The congenial atmosphere exhibited throughout the hearing bodes well for the nominee’s speedy confirmation by the full Senate which is expected to come as early as January 20th.  View Chao hearing:

Once confirmed, Chao, the former Labor Secretary in the George W. Bush Administration, will be tasked with leading the government’s transportation policy and President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to rebuild infrastructure in a program reportedly valued at as much as $1 trillion.  Upon her announcement to head the Department of Transportation (DOT), Trump's transition team said, “Secretary Chao's extensive record of strong leadership and her expertise are invaluable assets in our mission to rebuild our infrastructure in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) joined other members in their endorsement and praise of Secretary Chao. Issues of vital concern to committee members included investment in infrastructure, FAA reauthorization, reform of the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system, finding new funding options for surface transportation, and the effect regulations have on innovation and efficiency.

Specific attention was paid to deployment and oversight of autonomous vehicles, the future of drones in commerce, Open Skies and fair labor practices, the Jones Act and the importance of the Merchant Marine, and implementation of FAST Act provisions. Significant concerns were raised about privatization of ATC, labor protections in the new Administration, in addition to Secretary Chao’s stance on DOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program; but there was near unanimous support for Secretary Chao’s testimony, in what was an uncontroversial hearing.

United States Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), recently promoted from the U.S. House of Representatives, pressed the Secretary Designate on the importance of DOT’s DBE Program and the incoming administration’s inclusion of DBEs and other small businesses in President-elect Trump’s highly touted, but yet to be revealed, $1 trillion infrastructure plan.  During questioning, Senator Duckworth asserted:

Duckworth:     “The Department of Transportation administers an important small business set-aside program for minority- and women-owned disadvantaged business enterprises, commonly known as a DBE. This federal program serves as a guide for state departments of transportation small business programs and, in fact, many of our states' departments of transportation align directly with whatever the federal DOT's policies are.  Many businesses are concerned about the future of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, and as we're looking to put significant investments in the nation's infrastructure I am concerned that women-owned business disadvantaged business enterprises may not have as good an opportunity to bid on these contracts to bring those jobs into the local economy, to bring those jobs into those local enterprises and local entrepreneurs, local women-owned businesses if the DBE program is not emphasized.  Will you commit to working with me to reassure Illinois small businesses that DOT will preserve the DBE program and ensure that if the president-elect follows through on the promise to invest trillions in new public infrastructure projects, small businesses such as women- owned businesses, minority owned businesses will be included in the initiative?”

Chao: “I've always been a tremendous supporter of small businesses; I've been a tremendous supporter of communities of color, of women. When I was secretary of labor I was the only federal cabinet secretary to have gender parity in the executive leadership at the Department of Labor.  So these are issues that I've worked with all my career and I will continue to work on them with you.”

Duckworth: Thank you. That is very -- very important to me.

United States Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), newly elected Senator from the state of Nevada and former state transportation official also weighed in on the importance of the DBE Program:

Cortez Masto:  “Just to put on your radar and we didn't get a chance to talk about when we were meeting: Disadvantaged business enterprises are important for me. As a former member of the Department of Transportation in the state of Nevada this was an important initiative that our director continues to promote, and so just wanted to make sure that you understand that and I look forward to working with you on that issue, as well, and those programs.”

Chao: “Thank you.”

As previously reported in Connections, Secretary-Designate Chao is a known commodity within DOT and throughout Washington.  Reaction from the transportation stakeholder community regarding her nomination remains overall positive and Chao’s nomination is expected to receive Senate confirmation in the coming days.

Secretary-designate Chao is now on record regarding the DBE Program and AMAC looks forward to engaging with her on these and other matters of importance post-confirmation.  Make plans to join us here in Washington, D.C. for the Leadership Summit on Wednesday, March 22, 2017!



new member spotlight

Architect Keely Thibodeaux is Making
a Dynamic Mark in the Industry

As a black female architect in America, new AMAC member Keely Thibodeaux, Principal of program management firm Landmark Consulting LLC, breathes very rare air.  In the architecture industry, African American men and women make up less than 2 percent. Of that 2 percent, black women are at a tiny 0.2 percent.

“Although we are a pretty small group,” she agrees with a smile, “we’re dynamic!”

For Thibodeaux, that’s an understatement.  The energetic young woman runs a thriving business that is based in downtown New Orleans and is both DBE and WBE certified.  Landmark Consulting was founded in 1996 and launched as a full-time effort in 2011.  Landmark specializes in architecture and planning, project management, facilities management, grant management and FEMA Consulting.   In its five years as a full-time firm, Landmark has grown to four offices (New Orleans, Lake Charles, New York City and Columbia, S.C.) and recently launched a Facilities Services division to develop maintenance. capital renewal and energy management programs specializing in LEED certified facilities

“Our clients are typically municipal agencies, educational institutions, and private non-profits that frequently use government funds to finance infrastructure projects,” Thibodeaux notes.

The world she works in has been familiar to her from childhood, she recalls.  “I grew up in a family involved in various aspects of the building industry. We had civil engineers, construction project managers, and land developers.  Our Christmas dinner conversations were all about the business.”

In high school, the New Orleans native knew she wanted to be a professional, but she didn’t decide on a field until, on a college tour, she and her mother walked past Washington, DC’s Howard University School of Architecture.  “My mother stopped and said, ‘Why don’t you give that a try?’”

After three years at Howard, she transferred home to Tulane University in order to take advantage of a full scholarship and opportunities to study overseas.  She took courses in art history in Paris and studied design in Greece. “It was a very exciting time for me,” she says.

Thibodeaux’s decision to join AMAC was an easy one, she says.  “The transportation industry has a very strong DBE program and continuous building and infrastructure needs.  AMAC has an extremely vigorous DBE advocacy program in the airport industry where I’d like to grow.  There was obvious synergy and alignment with our goals.”

She also notes that as an AMAC member, she wants to add value. “I’m still learning about the organization and the areas where I can be helpful,” she says.  “I’ve always been active in support of HBCUs and youth education, but I also feel a strong sense of urgency to motivate legislators to be more aggressive in supporting small businesses.”


Foundation Focus

AMAC Accepting 2017 Scholarship Applications
Through Feb 15th


The Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) Foundation's Education and Scholarship Program has released its 2017 call for scholarships! 

The AMAC Foundation works alongside AMAC and is dedicated to advancing minorities and women pursuing careers in the aviation industry. The foundation develops educational programs, scholarship and mentorship opportunities, and shares information to support aviation and airport industry professionals, from college students beginning their careers to seasoned professionals.

Since its establishment in 1997, the AMAC Foundation has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships for students around the country, supporting a broad range of careers in airports, airlines, the federal government and private sector. 

Please share these scholarship opportunities with students you know who are interested in pursuing a career in the aviation industry! 

Students can apply for the AMAC Legacy Award, with a referral from a member of AMAC, or the Aviation and Professional Development Scholarship.  There are several awards of $2,000 for each of these scholarships.  Please see the attached scholarship application for more details.  The deadline for applications is February 15, 2017.   

If you have any questions about the scholarships, application process, or the AMAC Foundation, feel free to contact Terri Frierson, Program Manager, of the AMAC Foundation, at or (703) 414-2622 or visit our website at



aviation news

How to Invest In the Coming Infrastructure Boom

Among President-elect Donald Trump’s many campaign promises, improving the nation’s infrastructure appears to be one that he’ll make sure to keep. Repairing and rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges, waterways and other deteriorating public basic structures seems destined to be a defining theme of his administration.

But with infrastructure being such a large, amorphous sector, investors may find it difficult deciding which stocks to bet on. A wide number of companies will certainly benefit from the expected surge in spending, but many may not be suitable for investors seeking decent returns. Nonetheless, it’s an opportunity that could produce attractive rewards.



Remaking Kennedy Airport Is Governor’s Next Big Plan

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York has announced that with a complete overhaul of La Guardia Airport underway, he wants to rebuild New York City’s other airport, John F. Kennedy International.
Mr. Cuomo outlined a plan to spend more than $10 billion modernizing Kennedy’s terminals and improving the highway and transit systems connected to the airport. He did not provide a timetable for the plan or say specifically where all of the money would come from.



DIA Awards $120M Contract to Revamp Checked Baggage Screening

Denver International Airport and the Transportation Security Administration are set to begin a $120 million renovation on an underground level to consolidate the final screening of checked bags.

The City Council on Tuesday night approved a three-year contract for that amount with Lakewood-based Ludvik Electric Co., the main contractor.

A DIA spokesman said the project was separate from a planned massive overhaul of the Jeppesen Terminal — called the Great Hall project — that’s still in negotiations with a preferred bid team. But the long-planned changes, requested by the TSA, likely will kick off years of construction within the nearly 22-year-old terminal, in and out of public view.



AMAC news

Roosevelt Council, Jr. is New General Manager
of Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport

By a unanimous 14-0 vote, the Atlanta City Council has confirmed Roosevelt Council, Jr. as the new general manager of  AMAC member Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The confirmation comes less than a month after Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed nominated Council to the position.

Roosevelt Council Atlanta Airport GM



MIA in Talks with Seaport for Foreign Trade Zone Cargo Magnet Sites

Already the busiest port of entry in America for international air freight, AMAC member Miami International Airport  is now able to receive perishable freight imports by sea as well.  “Congratulations to MIA and PortMiami, our County’s two largest economic engines, on collaborating to generate new revenue and better serve our local cargo industry,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “Innovative programs such as this one also help our business community strengthen ties within the global marketplace.”

Additionally, Miami International Airport has received government approval to be designated as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) magnet site, allowing manufacturers to lease available property space and have tariffs deferred, reduced or eliminated.

Last year, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners approved the application to the US Department of Commerce, expanding Miami-Dade County’s FTZ281 to include the airport, allowing companies to receive and process materials and merchandise as soon as it enters the country at MIA, all with reduced or eliminated Customs duties.

opportunity review

Port of Portland Executive Director Announces Retirement Date

Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt has formally announced to the Port Commissioners that he will retire from the Port on June 30, 2017.

Wyatt was selected to lead the Port in 2001 and he began work just weeks after the September 11 attacks. In addition to the many changes at the airport those events generated, Wyatt’s Port career has included some major milestones in the organization’s history.

“Bill has been a skilled, dynamic and admired leader and I know I speak for all of the Commission when I say how grateful we are for his unparalleled service,” said Port Commission President Jim Carter.

The Port’s nine Commissioners hold responsibility for selecting the Executive Director.  A recruitment process will be announced shortly.

Established in 1891 by the Oregon Legislature, the Port of Portland today owns four marine terminals, three airports (Portland International, Hillsboro, and Troutdale) and five business parks. The mission of the Port is to enhance the region’s economy and quality of life by providing efficient cargo and air passenger access to national and global markets, and by promoting industrial development. The most recent economic impact study shows that the Port generated 27,000 jobs, $1.8 billion in wages, salaries and consumption impacts and nearly $172 million in state and local taxes in 2015.

IAA Issues New Hendricks County Airport RFQ

The Indianapolis Airport Authority is pleased to announce a Request for Qualifications for Professional Services at the Indianapolis International Airport:

  • REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS, Hendricks County Airport Rehabilitate Airfield Pavement – Crack Repair – Project No. K-17-070

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

Detailed information regarding these Requests may be found on our website:


The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) is seeking a Chief Executive Officer to lead the nation’s leading multimodal advocacy organization for minority professionals and businesses in the transportation industry.

“The next leader of COMTO will be an experienced executive with the vision, commitment and leadership qualities to oversee all aspects of the organization and represent COMTO to all constituencies,” says COMTO Board Chairman Warren Montague.

Candidates may email a cover letter, resume and salary history by January 20, 2017 to:

Mr. Warren S. Montague, Chairman
COMTO Board of Directors
Complete CEO position description can be found at:

MWAA Announces First Quarter Procurements

The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority has issued a robust list of planned procurements for the first quarter of 2017. AMAC member firms are invited and encouraged to review the following roster of opportunities and prepare to bid on these projects individually or in partnership with other companies.

AMAC was among a small group of organizations that recently received a briefing by MWAA DC Board members.  The participants shared ideas to help increase diversity in MWAA contracting opportunities.   As a result of that meeting, the MWAA Planned Procurements Report for Q1, 2017  was released to help businesses identify projects that they are best suited to pursue.


Review the list here

Upcoming Events

American Airlines and Austin Commercial Plan Supplier Event

Austin Commercial in partnership with American Airlines will hold a meet and greet on Thursday, January 26th , from 2 to 4 p.m.  The construction kick-off event will provide an opportunity for contractors, subcontractors and M/WBE firms to meet the project team for the new American Airlines Trinity Complex in Fort Worth, Texas.

The event will be held at the American Airlines Training & Conference Center Flagship Auditorium, 4501 Highway 360, Fort Worth, TX 76155.  Use the Eagle Wing parking lot and entrance.  For additional information, please contact


includes four, seven-story office buildings with a connecting two-story atria. The project features a centralized town square/dining facility, site improvements, and a 4,650-space structured parking garage with a loading dock and central plant. The 97-acre site is bound by Trinity Boulevard on the south, American Boulevard on the west, and Highway 360 Frontage Road on the east. The project is pursuing LEED Gold certification.

China Summit on Passenger Check -in Planned for June 1-2

The Passenger Check-in China Summit (PCCS) 2017 is scheduled to be held on 1-2 June in Shanghai, China. Aviation industry delegates are encouraged to save the date.

PCCS 2016 was quite a success. It attracted over 180 delegates from 80 companies across Great China (Hong Kong & Taiwan), Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Among them, there were more than 20 airlines and 25 airports.

You may click the link and website to find more details about 2016 event:

Florida Airports Council Conference Announced

The 48th Annual Florida Airports Council Conference & Exposition will be held July 23-26, 2017.  Hosted by the Miami Dade Aviation Department and Key West International Airport, the event will take place at Loews Miami Beach Hotel.  For more information, visit

Webinar on Contracting Barriers for Minority Businesses
Slated for Wednesday, January 18th at 11 a.m.

On Wednesday, January 18, 2017 the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency will release a new report, Contracting Barriers and Factors Affecting Minority Business Enterprises: A Review of Existing Disparity Studies. The report, which will be discussed during a webinar featuring the authors, spotlights disparities in state and local government contracting between minority-owned and nonminority-owned business enterprises and provides an in-depth review and analysis of existing disparity studies, summaries, and reports.


Webinar guests will be the first to learn about the research report and its implications for minority business and public procurement. They will hear directly from the authors (Lee Upton, III and Emma Broming) about the discriminatory behaviors, non-discriminatory behaviors, and lack of network access that give rise to public contracting disparities nationwide.

MBDA National Deputy Director Albert K. Shen will expound on the importance of the research findings and recommendations to address contracting disparities.


The Airport Minority Advisory Council’s (AMAC) 33rd Annual Airport Business Diversity Conference will take place on June 16 – 20, 2017 in Houston, TX.  Hosted by the Houston Airport System, our annual conference, themed The Magic of Flight, will examine trends and best practices for new and veteran attendees alike. Pre-conference training will be held on June 16 and 17, 2017 and the main conference will be held June 18 through 20, 2017.

AMAC’s Annual Conference offers several innovative stage formats as well as customized options for interested speakers.  Our goal is to provide a balanced program that addresses the diverse needs of attendees and the variety of interest levels of the conference audience, presented by speakers of the highest quality who represent the organizational goals of AMAC.

  • General Session & Roundtable Discussions With seating for 1,000 plus, General Sessions and Roundtable Discussions are a true highlight for each AMAC Conference. This is where the Who's Who of the industry and political circles give high-powered and pointed presentations and engage in lively talks and panel discussions.
  • Workshops and Breakout Sessions - Trends, Ideas & Steps for Success What are the trends that are emerging and ultimately shaping airport contracting? You tell us! If you are an airport director or commissioner, concessionaire, architect/engineering/construction firm, consultant or a game-changing entrepreneur, this is your chance to present your fascinating and topical ideas and projects in an informative address. Workshops and breakout sessions typically include up to 100 knowledge-hungry attendees.

Stay tuned for further information!

membership corner

AMAC’s Brumfield Writes about Diversity
for Airport Improvement Magazine

AMAC’s President and CEO Krystal Brumfield has penned an erudite article on equity and inclusion in airport contracting for Airport Improvement Magazine.

Titled “Now is an Ideal Time to Support Inclusion”, Brumfield provides background on AMAC’s goals and mission, gives a history of roadblocks that have been overcome and touts the value of continuing to advocate for diversity in the aviation industry.




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.