NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference

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SDC2018 Attendees Inspired to Pursue Their Passion

Feb. 7, 2018

With a theme of pursuing your passion, the 2018 NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference (SDC2018) being held Feb. 7-9 in Long Beach, CA, opened with words of inspiration about the importance that passion plays in one’s career, as well as in life.

Passion, noted NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen is a “hallmark” of the business aviation industry. “We care about aviation, we care about people and that is reflected in everything about SDC,” he said, noting the event’s Pay It Forward initiative, which gives back to the host city each year.

“In times when we need people to step forward, our community has been really blessed that people from every segment of our industry have stepped forward,” he said.

This passion, Bolen noted, is now needed in the continuing fight against ATC privatization, a fight that isn’t going away despite the fact that a majority of Americans – including aviation leaders and legends, government think tanks and local officials from across the country – are against it.

The airlines want this bill, and “they’re not just talking about taking over the air traffic system, they’re also talking about our industry,” said Bolen. “This industry that we know creates jobs, this industry that we know helps companies be efficient, creates economic development and does a lot of humanitarian flights.

“We need your help to make sure 218 members of Congress vote no on the privatization issue, and allow us to take the largest, the safest, the most efficient and the most diverse air transportation system in the world and make it better for everybody,” Bolen said, urging all SDC2018 attendees to go to and write to their member of Congress on this issue.

The FAA’s authority to operate expires on March 31, so before that time, Congress must act either though a short-term extension or a long-term bill, and ATC privatization is likely to come up during those discussions.

“We have an opportunity and a responsibility to fight,” Bolen said.

Olympian Shares His Passion to Succeed

The SDC2018 Opening General Session on Feb. 7 also featured inspirational keynote speaker Ruben Gonzalez, a four-time Olympian in the sport of luge and best-selling author of The Courage to Succeed. A self-described mediocre athlete who got Cs in English, Gonzalez said he achieved his dreams by believing in himself, never giving up and surrounding himself with coaches and mentors who helped him achieve his dreams.

“When you’re going through life’s storms, don’t try to figure them out on your own,” he said, “If you quit on your dream, you’ll regret it all your life.”

It was while watching ice skater Scott Hamilton during the 1984 Winer Olympics that Gonzalez first said to himself he would be an Olympian in 1988. It didn’t give him much time to train, let alone find a sport to compete in. He ultimately picked luge because it was a tough sport most people would easily quit, and he wasn’t a quitter.

He was accepted into a training program in Lake Placid, NY, in large part because having been born in Argentina, he could compete for that country – and the sport needed to be represented by more countries. By the time the 1988 Olympics came around, he was one of the top 50 lugers in the world, and he was officially an Olympian.

“Success is pretty simple,” he said. “It comes down to finding the dream, finding something you want to do, something you’re suited for and you have to have the courage to get started and the courage to not quit.

“Why not you? Why not now?” he told attendees.

S&D Scholarships and Awards

SDC2018 is offering three days of education sessions and networking for anyone with responsibility for scheduling and/or dispatching business aircraft. Also in conjunction with the conference, several NBAA scholarships were given to help business aviation schedulers and dispatchers advance their careers.

Learn more about the recipients of the 2018 NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Training Scholarships.

Learn more about the recipients of the 2018 NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Monetary Scholarships.

The opening session also included the presentation of the 10th annual Schedulers & Dispatchers Outstanding Achievement & Leadership Award to Ohio Regional Business Aviation Association board member Lisa Swartzwelder.

Swartzwelder is the director of shuttle operations and flight administration for L Brands in Columbus, OH. In addition to managing the company’s shuttle program, she co-leads its flight operations internship program, crisis response team and its partnership with the Corporate Angel Network, which arranges for cancer patients’ free travel to treatment centers across the country using empty seats on business aircraft. L Brands transports nearly 300 patients each year through the program. She celebrated her 25th anniversary with L Brands in March 2017.

Read more about Swartzwelder and the award.