More than 1,500 aviation and aerospace professionals gathered Aug. 10 – 12, for the 40th Annual National Convention and Career Exposition at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center in Lombard, Ill. presented annually by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP).
“The success and record number attendance during OBAP’s 40th Annual Convention and Career Exposition demonstrate the vitality of our organization and the commitment of our diverse membership who fly from all of the world to attend, participate, mentor and volunteer,” Captain Karl Minter, board chairman and pilot, United Airlines.
Convention highlights included:
- The Airline Hiring Symposium, one of five aerospace professional development events sponsored by American Airlines, invited Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, FedEx Express, JetBlue, Southwest, United Airlines, UPS, Emirates and Virgin America to provide attendees with an industry outlook, airline hiring and selection processes and career guidance.
- The Founders and Pioneers Breakfast, sponsored by JetBlue, inducted notable aviation pioneers including Captain Raymond Dothard, Captain Simon Patrick Gaskill, Captain Oscar Perry, Captain William C. Rand, Benjamin Franklin Thomas and Captain J. Georges Sulmers into the OBAP Hall of Fame on display during the convention, presented by the U.S. Air Force.
- The Youth Workshop, presented by the U.S. Marine Corps, guided 122 youth from the Chicago area through workshops with Dr. Aprille J. Ericsson, Astronautical/Aeronautical Engineer of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force and the Academy of Model Aeronautics.
- The FAA and OBAP renewed its MOU, signed by OBAP Chair Captain Karl Minter, and FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta, to establish collaborative aviation and space education initiatives nationwide.
- The Collegiate Series, presented by the U.S. Marine Corps, invited 43 students to begin the transition from college to aerospace careers through development workshops.
- The Annual Awards Gala featured guest speaker Howard Attarian, Senior Vice President, Flight Ops, United Airlines. Twenty-four aviation scholarships, totaling $125,000 were presented to recipients and a ceremony recognized 12 OBAP members recently promoted to captain.
- The Corporate Luncheon and Strategic Industry Symposium, sponsored by Delta Air Lines, explored strategies to reduce aerospace employment shortages. Michael P. Huerta, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration responsible for the safety and efficiency of the largest aerospace system in the world served as keynote speaker. Panelists included Greg D. Jones, Managing Director, Diversity and Inclusion, United Airlines, Letty Ashworth, Director, Global Diversity, Delta Air Lines, Mamie W. Mallory, Assistant Administrator for Civil Rights (ACR), FAA and Shannon Brown, Chief HR & Diversity Officer, FedEx Express.
- The sold-out Career Exposition provided more than 1,300 registered aviation professionals opportunities to meet recruiters from 53 participating companies; Aero Crew Solutions, Air Wisconsin, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), American Airlines, American Airlines Credit Union, Ameriflight, Bessie Coleman Aerospace Legacy, Cage Marshall Consulting, California Coast University, Centerline Interview, CommutAir, Compass Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates Airlines, Endeavor Air, Envoy Air, ExpressJet Airlines, FAPA.aero, FedEx Express, Flight Safety International, Frontier Airlines, GoJet Airlines, Great Lakes Airlines, JetBlue, Kalitta Air, Lewis University, Mesa Airlines, National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), Omni Air International, Piedmont Airlines, Professional Pilots of Tomorrow, PSA Airlines, Republic Airways, Silver Airways, SkyWest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Trans States Airlines, United Airlines, United States Air Force, UPS, United States Air Force Reserve, United States Marine Corps, Virgin America, Walmart Aviation, Western Michigan University, Wings Financial Credit Union and XOJet.