I have comprehensively experienced nearly all segments of the aviation industry in my four and a half years at Airport Business magazine. Before my time here, I had very limited exposure to the industry, apart from a stint my brother made in pursuing a professional piloting career years ago.
Despite that, I have always been interested in powered flight — from the first time as a young boy seeing airliners approaching O'Hare when my father would take us kids to an occasional Twins/Sox game in Chicago.
I am not a pilot, although I did participate in an introductory flight lesson as part of my initial foray as assistant editor for this publication (my trainer was Wisconsin Aviation's Jim Quinn) — yet, the aviation 'bug' has me firmly in its grasp.
You don't need to be a pilot to fall in love with aviation. I received an educational labotomy on this complex and fascinating industry from former boss and mentor, John Infanger — a man many of you know well, and someone who contributed greatly in providing me with the skills necessary to become a well-rounded aviation journalist and media professional.
If there is one piece of advice John imparted on me that I will always remember, it is this: "Concern yourself only with what you can control."
There is a lot about this industry that we can't control, but we can adapt. The pace at which technology is moving the industry along is incredible, and that will only increase.
I consider commercial aviation to be the backbone of the global economy; I don't think the word 'globalization' would exist without commercial air travel. That said, airports are adapting. They are finding new ways to generate revenue in a time when Federal financial support is clearly inadequate. And they are listening to passengers, and working like crazy to provide a travel experience that is beginning to finally restore the perception that the airport can be an exciting destination in and of itself.
On the general aviation side of life, airport business operators are still cautiously optimistic for the future. Service providers are adapting as well, however, and they are utilizing new communication tools like social media to engage their respective communities and to educate the public of the important role GA plays in economic development, and in connecting small towns and cities to the larger regional and national network.
This is why I love aviation. Everyone here is part of a community that only wants to see aviation thrive, because they know how utterly critical it is to everyday life.
Welcome to 2013 folks. I am excited about the prospects of this industry, and am extremely proud to be a part of it.
Thanks for your attention,