Jan. 25, 2023

It was only appropriate in Music City to open the 2023 Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference (SDC2023) keynote session with a mini-concert by Grammy-winning songwriter Josh Kear, then continue with a motivating story of finding the courage to achieve your dreams by United States Air Force combat veteran and former Thunderbird Lead Solo Michelle “Mace” Curran.

Being a Thunderbird was a career high point, Curran told the audience, and what she most enjoyed about the job was being in a position where she could inspire people to overcome obstacles, put aside their fear and chase their dreams.

“Putting ourselves out there can be terrifying, but I promise you the cost of stagnating because of hat fear outweighs the feeling of vulnerability,” she said.

Curran discussed times in her life, and throughout her career, where she let fear stop her from taking advantage of opportunities, allowed negative comments on social media to get under her skin or let mistakes make her feel bad about herself.

After spending several years in Japan with the Air Force, she moved to a base in Fort Worth, TX, and with the help of a welcoming community decided to better herself by going after what she wanted.

“I was going to start saying yes to the opportunities that came along,” she said, adding it wasn’t always easy and it took time to feel comfortable in her confidence. “Brick by brick [the opportunities] built a runway so that when something came by that I wanted to go after, I could launch myself forward and go for it.”

She urged attendees to write down a goal they had, because writing it down gives you accountability.

“There will be days of uncertainty, but you can be bold and brave,” Curran added. “It will help you create deeper connections and a stronger community and you will be unstoppable.”

Looking Toward the Future

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen noted the passion and commitment of the SDC attendees would drive the industry forward, especially as Congress takes up an FAA reauthorization bill this year.

“There are lots of opportunities to work together and foster an environment that allows business aviation to thrive,” he said, “You are doers, you get things done.”

Bolen noted that there will likely be moments in the FAA reauthorization debate when NBAA will ask members to reach out to lawmakers in support of initiatives to include in the bill, such as moving forward with emerging technologies and promoting a more sustainable industry. Bolen said he knows NBAA can count on the schedulers and dispatchers community to respond.

“This is an incredibly exciting time in aviation, “he said. “Working together, we can do anything.”

SDC Honors

Also during the keynote, longtime business aviation scheduler Spring Adamo was presented with the Schedulers & Dispatchers (S&D) Outstanding Achievement and Leadership Award. Adamo serves as flight logistics lead at FirstEnergy, where she manages flight logistics, including scheduling, safety, security and personnel.

While serving on the NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee, Adamo championed a new Scheduler and Licensed Dispatcher Safety Award category for the NBAA Flying Safety Awards, which she officially established during her tenure as chairwoman in 2014.

“Spring Adamo is a tremendous leader,” said Bolen. “She has always given back to the community and led by example.”

Read more about Adamo.

Also recognized were the SDC scholarship winners and sponsors.

Learn more about the Schedulers & Dispatchers Training Scholarships.

Learn more about the Schedulers & Dispatchers Scholarship Awards.

Any person who attends an NBAA convention, conference, seminar or other program grants permission to NBAA, its employees and agents (collectively "NBAA") to record his or her visual/audio images, including, but not limited to, photographs, digital images, voices, sound or video recordings, audio clips, or accompanying written descriptions, and, without notifying such person, to use his or her name and such images for any purpose of NBAA, including advertisements for NBAA and its programs.