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Message from the Chair

Celebrating 20 Years of Excellence

By Anne-Marie Smith, Steelcase Aviation

A dear friend of mine recently sent me the following quote from the Greek philosopher Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”

As I sit eagerly anticipating the 20th Annual Schedulers & Dispatchers (S&D) Conference, I realize that our habitual excellence is why we have come so far in such a short time. Over the course of the last decade I have had the good fortune to meet many schedulers, dispatchers and others who support our profession. I have been awed by how the vast majority of these aviation professionals personify excellence.

It is no wonder then that this year’s S&D Conference is not just a celebration of 20 years, but a reflection of the achievements of all of us – those who step forward to share their expertise, attend and participate enthusiastically so each Conference can be better than the one before and commit their time, year after year, to make sure it comes off without a hitch. If Aristotle is right, then one would have to assume that the excellence that will be displayed in Long Beach is the natural result of the habit of excellence found in our profession.

In addition to all the great people who are involved in the S&D Conference, the excellence of the event also will be reflected in this year’s course offerings. Featured sessions range from “The Greening of Business Aviation” to “Flight Department Budgeting and Finance Fundamentals.” New subject matter will cover diverse topics, such as the generational differences in the workplace, runway analysis and major project management.

The keynote address of the Conference reflects the S&D Committee’s ongoing efforts to explore innovative ideas that will help schedulers and dispatchers excel every day. The Opening General Session will be presented by Bruce Kimbrell of the Disney Institute, a recognized leader in experiential training, leadership development, benchmarking and cultural change for business professionals.

In years past, those unable to attend the Conference would have missed out on numerous educational opportunities. However, the continuing expansion of NBAA’s distance-learning capabilities means that many of the 2009 Conference sessions will be available after the event. Presentations can be viewed by all members of the flight department, thus enabling even more aviation professionals to pursue the excellence that we all strive for.

See you in Long Beach!