It has been an extremely busy year! Picking up with the the Air Expo at KFCM, the annual EAA show in August at KOSH, and my being offered the Chair position of the Communications Committee with the Minnesota Business Aviation Association, things here in Minnesota have been great!
As chair of the Communications Committee, I am happy to help update the MBAA website, as well as social media platforms (we are currently using Facebook and Linked In) as well as helping to compile emails to the membership to share important information and events.
In addition to this exciting new position, I was also sponsored to attend the National Business Aviation Association’s BACE in Las Vegas, NV. It was my first time attending the event, and I learned a ton from being at the show.
As it was my second trip to the city, it was a lot to take in! The lights, the people; so many things to see! I arrived into town a little early to get settled in, and was able to attend the NARA Reception along with my sales team from Exclusive. That was a great evening, where I was able to meet colleagues that I had only corresponded with via email and phone calls. The evening commenced with a lovely dinner with some of those colleagues, leading into a few incredibly busy days at the show!
Tuesday morning I made my way to the Static Display at Henderson airport. All of the OEM’s were represented–I enjoyed seeing Textron’s new jets, the Latitude and Longitude, as well as the newly unveiled Hemisphere! I was also able to walk through a BBJ and Jetcraft’s Global 5000, which I understand has since been sold! As I took in the aircraft and made new connections as I made my way around the ramp, it was evident this show contains all the power players in Business Aviation. Its a gathering of lots people who really know the industry! As I made my way to the exit to jump on a bus back to the LVCC for the evening’s exciting events, I walked past a familiar face, country music artist Dierks Bentley, as he made his way to an evening concert on the tarmac. I would’ve stayed, but my plans were already made for me: UND reception, as well as the Avfuel appreciation party with my team from the Cities and Fargo. Maybe next time, Dierks!
After an amazing evening with Avfuel and many other excited colleagues, it was time to call it a night. The next day was the big one — the L&R group session!
Wednesday was a day to be spent indoors with the exhibits as to stay close to the classrooms and the session. After a quick meeting with Gordon, we walked the floor, making connections with potential meeting partners for the MBAA. We hope to be able to bring exciting information from various aspects of the industry to our members!
At the actual session, there were three main topics shared, each with a presenting panel, followed by Q&A from local and regional board members. First was technology, followed by Aviation Day, and finally Calls to Action. Technology focused on being in touch with the membership, and means to engage members. Sources for websites and dues collection were brought up, The MBAA is using similar tools to our nationwide counterparts, so we are definitely operating along with our neighbors! Next was social media. All state chapters seem to be using Linked In groups, as their main focus on social media. The main takeaway from this was: have your group set to private so members will have to request to be added–this allows for some exclusivity to members, as well as not allowing the page to go ‘stale’ since you’re on there often to approve those new additions. Simply having the page isn’t going to be effective! Encourage members to post as well as interact in the page. Linked In also allows the chapter to email members with news and information.
Aviation Day was an interesting topic, as not all states are participating in this annual event, and some are participating on a much larger scale. An interesting spin that we learned from California, is incorporating a Career Day with the Aviation Day. Focusing on STEM skills and careers, and getting students focused on careers they can find within business aviation. An interesting hurdle that we deal with in MN is that we cannot spend more than $5 on any person in office. Gordon told the story of having airplane shaped cookies baked and given to those in office! (After we adjourned, everyone was talking about Gordon’s airplane cookies!) Another means to get your voice about the importance of business aviation to those in office is to talk with the staff. While they are not themselves the elected officials, they are next to them and can share the concerns with them directly. The last topic was a call to action — how to generate excitement and keep communication withing the organizations and above. The main point to bring from this topic was to be proactive, not reactive. Anticipate the needs and concerns of members and the organization before they are brought to light. Also, remain grassroots and targeted with the actions of the leadership of your chapter. Lastly — a focus on jobs. Business aviation isn’t a main focus of aviation colleges — they’re more drawn to the majors — but as is apparent at the NBAA show, business aviation is an integral part of the industry.
Once the Session ended, I continued enjoying the exhibits and meeting more people from the industry. At the conclusion of the day, I had a nice dinner with staff from Fargo, and enjoyed a quiet evening before departing back to Minnesota in the morning.
All in all, my first NBAA BACE was a great experience. I learned a lot, saw even more, and can’t wait for the next one. Orlando in 2016!