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Message from the Chair
 Reflecting on Past, Future of Our  Profession

By Anne-Marie Smith, Steelcase Aviation

Lately, I’ve had occasion to spend time reflecting on where I come from. My father’s recent passing laid the groundwork for much laughter and tears as I remembered the best parts of growing up. My family came together to celebrate his life and his achievements, allowing me the rare opportunity to take a break from the race of daily life and appreciate my personal history, including all the people and events that made me who I am today.

Shortly after this momentous personal event, the Schedulers & Dispatchers (S&D) Committee met to continue planning our annual S&D Conference, including the 20th anniversary celebration, which put me in a nostalgic mood. I realized how fortunate I am to be experiencing the here and now, benefiting from the perspiration and commitment of those schedulers and dispatchers who came before me. My predecessors did not have the luxury of a computer to do their flight planning, a cell phone to enable them to call anywhere in the world, and the Internet to make sure the appropriate information got to the right people at the right time. When the occasional co-worker shakes their head and tells me they can’t imagine how I do what I do every day, I think how amazed they would have been to see what pioneering schedulers and dispatchers did with a map and string, a pad of paper and a stack of Post-It notes.

My family will celebrate a wedding and two births in the coming months. We have good reason to rejoice in our great fortune as we look to the future and recognize the best parts of the cycle of life.

Similarly, I am awestruck as I feed off the vision and energy of my fellow S&D Committee members and begin to comprehend the endless potential our profession has for growth in the coming years. We represent an industry that is as full of fresh ideas and passion as it is rich with experience and memories. I am so proud to see both elements reflected in our Conference planning this year.

Our theme for the 2009 S&D Conference is “Honoring Our Heritage – Reaching For New Heights.”
I hope it will provide all of you the opportunity to reflect on the evolution of our profession while inspiring you with the promise of our future.

Record Your S&D Memories

Earlier this year, the S&D Committee asked veteran schedulers and dispatchers to donate or loan S&D memorabilia that could be displayed at the 20th anniversary S&D Conference in 2009. Many of you have responded, and we thank you. Now, the S&D Committee, as part of another initiative of the S&D Heritage Project, is asking you to share your memories of past conferences, as well as the highlights of your career.

Schedulers and dispatchers have hundreds of stories to tell about their biggest challenges and accomplishments, relationships with people who have infuenced their careers and perhaps even some lighter moments. The Heritage Project members are collecting these stories for possible use in the 20th anniversary celebration. To download a form through which you can share your memories, visit