Fort Worth, TX, Feb. 10, 2017 – The National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA’s) 2017 Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference (SDC2017) once again proved to be a resounding success, with more than 2,900 attendees and 541 booths on the exhibit floor – both new records for the annual event.
“The record-setting attendance and sold-out exhibit floor highlight the fact that SDC continues to provide high-quality education, networking and business development opportunities for this important segment of the business aviation industry,” said NBAA’s Vice President of Operational Excellence and Professional Development Mike Nichols, CAM. “Fort Worth, TX proved to be an excellent venue for this year’s conference, and attendees are already excited about returning to SDC2018 in Long Beach, CA, on Feb. 6-9.”
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen was on hand to welcome attendees to the show and talk about the future of the industry. NBAA is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, he noted, and the principles the association was founded on – protecting access to airports and airspace, safety and professionalism – are as important today as they were in 1947.
With a renewed push for privatizing the air traffic control (ATC) system and funding it with user fees expected in the near future, Bolen urged schedulers and dispatchers to contact their representatives in Washington, DC and let them know this plan would hurt business aviation. “If we don’t make our voices heard, then people are not going to understand the value business aviation provides,” Bolen said.
Education Remains Key Component of Event
With dozens of sessions covering topics from managing a medical emergency, to operating in Asia, to utilizing technology for efficiency, education continues to be a mainstay of the conference.
“This year, we wanted to focus more on peer-to-peer learning and more engaged education sessions, so we dedicated an entire room and entire session block for three days, to foster that type of interactive communication,” said NBAA Director of Educational Development and Strategy Jo Damato, CAM, who serves as the liaison to the Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee. “In all the rooms, we removed the physical barriers from presenters to audience, which included the raised platform and the podium, and we put the presenters on the same level as the attendees. It was more of an engaging experience.”
“Both of our keynote speakers – communications expert Sarita Maybin and three-time Jamaican Olympic bobsledder Devon Harris – were so completely relatable to attendees, and they were such enjoyable sessions,” said NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee Chairwoman Danielle Gordon, of Pentastar Aviation. “Both of them just really exceeded expectations as far as connecting with attendees and inspiring all of us to continue steering our careers.”
Committee Tradition of Giving Continues
SDC2017 built on the conference’s tradition of giving back to the local community by participating in packing “Ana’s Baskets” to benefit Safe Haven of Tarrant County, TX, a non-profit organization that exists to end domestic violence through safety, support, prevention and social change. These “Ana’s Baskets” – laundry baskets filled with household cleaning supplies from sponges, to soap, to shower curtains – will assist Safe Haven clients as they begin new lives free from domestic violence.
More than 100 volunteers packed 30 baskets with about $3,100 in supplies on Feb. 7, prior to the opening of SDC2017. During the conference, attendees also donated clean, ready-to-wear clothing and sample personal items to area charities. Additionally, furniture purchased specifically for the event will be donated to the local YMCA. Read more about charitable events at SDC2017.
Scholarships and Award Winners
Dozens of scholarships also were awarded at SDC2017, with thousands of dollars in monetary and training scholarships presented to individuals.
Additionally, Aymie Thornton, a longtime Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee volunteer, received the association’s Schedulers & Dispatchers Outstanding Achievement & Leadership Award. Read more about Thornton and the award.
“I urge schedulers and dispatchers to stay engaged all year long,” said Gordon. “People can get involved with their local and regional groups. There’s a lot of ways to stay connected throughout the year and continue to make those connections until the next conference.”