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S&D Committee Participation Offers Opportunities for Growth, Networking
January 27, 2013
With NBAA’s annual Schedulers & Dispatchers (S&D) Conference wrapping up last week, several positions are opening on the S&D Committee, offering professionals opportunities for development, networking and engaging with the industry.
“It’s a great opportunity to step outside your comfort zone, really challenge yourself and develop your interests,” said Karen Steinkamp, reflecting on her service on NBAA’s S&D Committee as chairwoman.
With about two dozen members, the S&D Committee hosts the annual S&D Conference; administers the Schedulers Professional Development Program (SPDP), an offshoot of NBAA’s Professional Development Program; and provides scholarships, training opportunities and career recognition awards to the people responsible for scheduling business aircraft.
The committee’s mission is to further the professional growth of scheduling and dispatch professionals and heighten awareness of their contributions.
“As the role of the scheduler has evolved over the last few years, the scheduler has really become the central point of contact for everybody: pilots, maintenance, passengers and vendors,” said Steinkamp, a business aviation contractor.
Serving on the committee doesn’t just strengthen the industry, Steinkamp and other members stressed, it opens doors to committee members and their companies.
“The networking opportunities are amazing,” said Lori Knoper, travel department manager for Gentex, who chairs the S&D Scholarship Subcommittee. “It helps my company to have the resources to reach out to. If anyone on the committee has a question, we ask each other first.”
Since she joined the S&D Committee, Ann Widay, staff aviation analyst at Qualcomm, has had access to countless new resources – and opportunities to be a resource. “As a company, we now have a much closer connection to the industry,” she said.
With this emphasis on peer-to-peer connections, the committee leaders value having members from small and large operations, different regions of the country and different functions within their companies. “We have fuel people, FBO people and I come from a finance background,” said Widay. “Everyone has a different skill set.”
Widay currently serves on the Ambassador Subcommittee, dedicated to providing friendly support to Attendees at the annual conference. There are openings on all the S&D subcommittees, including those for policy & communications, regional groups, vendors and educational development.
Committee members need to travel four times a year for conferences and meetings, and are strongly encouraged to contribute new ideas for advancing the scheduling and dispatching profession. A new initiative Steinkamp is particularly proud of is the Conference Training Initiative, launched last year, which gives participants documentation they can provide to show their company is supporting them with ongoing training.
As she steps down as chairwoman, Steinkamp reflected that her tenure has honed her communication and organization skills. “I try to listen more,” she said. “Being on a committee with 30 other people, who can sometimes disagree, you have to be a good listener.”
Above all, S&D Committee members have a strong sense of camaraderie. “It’s a great group of friends,” said Knoper. “We’re a tight knit group.”