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NBAA/UAA Reaching Future Business Aviation Professionals: Business Aviation Career Seminar for College Students

ORLANDO, FL, October 8, 2008 – As part of Florida Aviation Day, NBAA and the University Aviation Association (UAA) sponsored a panel session for students to highlight the benefits of business aviation as a career and provide an introduction to the industry. The panel offered students an opportunity to hear advice on getting into the industry, what to do to succeed in a career and how to secure employment in this challenging economy.

Janet Bressler of ExcelAire started her career as an aviation insurance broker, and noted that while it is not a path many students consider, it is a great example of the many innovative ways available to break into the industry.

“You should look for jobs that will give you great exposure to every facet of the industry, particularly as you are at the beginning of your careers,” advised Bressler. “There are many unsung heroes of business aviation – from the scheduler, to the maintenance technician, to the team of people who keep the aircraft clean – they all play a critical role in a successful aviation business. Even if you cannot break into the industry in the job you think you want, look for positions where you can really learn about the industry; you may be surprised at where it takes your career.”

Conducting a job with passion and integrity at all times is key to success in business aviation, offered Jad Donaldson of AvFuel. As students work to start careers in business aviation, Donaldson advised them of five initiatives to focus on to help ensure a successful career.

“First, get your licenses, so you’re certified for whatever you want to do, and you can approach a potential employer with the certifications they need to see,” began Donaldson. “Second, find people who do what you want to do, and get to know them. Third, if you want to be a pilot, check your ego at the door, and just listen; it’s the best way to learn and the best way to communicate a good attitude.

“Four, always finish what you start – no one wants to hire someone who looks like they just jump from project to project and don’t finish anything. And lastly, always remember this business comes down to good customer service, and do everything you can everyday to provide that customer service.”

In these challenging economic times, several students were concerned about employment once they finish their degrees, and asked the panel for advice on finding work.

Dan Wolf, of Florida-based Darden Restaurants, told students to “Consider having a second degree. If you are studying to be a pilot, also explore getting a degree in aviation management. After 9-11, I was furloughed for ten months, and my second degree in aviation management was extremely helpful to get me through those times.”

Wolf also reminded students to be willing to “pay their dues.” He offered that in this tough economy, it might be a good opportunity to become a flight instructor, a cargo pilot or a medvac, to get experience in jobs that will be there regardless of the economy but may not be the students’ long-term specialty.

Gary Kiteley of UAA offered that students should consider seeking internships with aviation trade associations as an opportunity to network, while learning about all aspects of business aviation. Kiteley reminded the students of the UAA policy seminar in Washington, DC on January 4, 2009, where they will be able to meet with leaders in the aviation trade association world.

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