As we get ready for this year’s NBAA convention in Orlando, I am reminded of the many trade shows I have been fortunate to attend over the last 41 years. The first NBAA I attended was in ’68 in Washington, D.C., at either a Sheraton or Hilton hotel. I recall the setup at the time with exhibitor booths and meeting rooms was much like the recent NBAA Maintenance Managers meeting I attended in New Orleans. It was small and condensed but every one there was enthusiastic and an integral part of the meeting. That was quite a while ago and the business aviation industry and its leading trade show has grown considerably since then.
I was also fortunate to have attended many PAMA trade shows the past 25 years and lucky enough to have managed two — Cincinnati in ’95 and at Opryland in ’96. One in particular I recall was Philadelphia in ’88. Philly was a difficult city for a trade show. It was expensive and there were many union restrictions. Regardless, the show was a success. Those that were able to attend benefited from the seminars and the vendors’ exhibit information. Most importantly all had a good time, especially at the chili cook-off. I vividly remember girls dressed in carhop outfits and on roller skates, serving chili and drinks, vying for the coveted prize of most money contributed.
During the meeting I recollect being approached by Bill Johnson who was a director of maintenance for an operation in St. Louis. Bill is still a director of maintenance but has been relocated for some time to the much-preferred sunny climate of Southern California. Bill said there was to be a board meeting later that day at the hotel and some people wanted to make a presentation to us.
When I arrived at the meeting I was introduced to Kathy Marr and Mike Murrell. Both were in the publishing business. They had come to the PAMA board to ask if we thought their idea for an aviation maintenance magazine could work. Kathy and Mike reviewed the material they would cover, how it would be presented, and asked for ideas and suggestions to make the magazine something that aircraft technicians would look forward to receiving and reading. I liked that. They didn’t go off half-cocked and invent something in a vacuum. They wanted to know from the board what we thought would be of interest and benefit to aircraft techs from all sectors of the business. All agreed that such a magazine was a good idea. This was the birth of AMT magazine. This year the magazine celebrates its 20th anniversary as the leading publication in aviation maintenance. Having been a very small part of its birth, I consider myself fortunate to be involved with the publication today and will do my best to help as it pursues its goal of being the magazine of choice for aircraft technicians.
AMT will be at NBAA, booth 1856. Please stop by and say “hi.” We would appreciate the chance to chat with you and share our celebration.