Knowing I was going to be in Vegas with all of you for the 2006 Aviation Industry Expo, a year ago I began orchestrating what I thought would be a small reunion of individuals from my high school class, some of whom I have not seen since that time. It would be to celebrate not 20, 25 or even 30 years since our graduation, but a landmark birthday, all of us turning the same age this year (no, I won’t say ... you will simply have to guess.) One telephone call lead to another, which then lead to several e-mails and before I knew it—32 people, all of us very close and loyal friends in our youth—jumped on the e-mail trail of anticipation and excitation of reuniting. We arranged to rendezvous at Sully’s Bar in Bally’s. As strangers walked up and sat at the bar, I stared at them with an inquisitive look, wondering if it was someone from high school I didn’t recognize. But before long, one by one, old friends came walking straight up to me, and in less than one tenth of a second we knew one another. Perhaps with more than a few gray hairs, extra pounds and certainly distinctive personal experiences and transformations over the years, we found during the remainder of the weekend, we were as loyal and as good of friends as always.
I share this experience with all of you because I noticed a direct correlation with the ground support industry and Aviation Industry Expo. Many of you—whether GSE manager, supplier, manufacturer or for that matter, all of the above during the course of your careers—have been in the industry for 20, 30, even 40 years or more. Over those years your lives have woven in and out of one another’s, sometimes with perhaps too many years dividing the time. However, we have a reunion, and not just a reunion every 10 years, but a grand reunion every year at the Aviation Industry Expo. It is not only a time to reminisce, but an incredible educational opportunity to learn from one another’s expertise, innovations and new technologies and equipment.
I have heard conversations, both positive and negative, about some of the changes we have made over the years. Let me assure you, these changes have not been made in a vacuum. It’s with your input and suggestions that decisions are made. If it were not for experimentation, tweaking and trying different things—well, to use an old adage, the Wright Brothers may never have gotten off the ground. And just as it would not make sense to divide my graduating class to celebrate two separate reunions, it does not make sense to divide our aviation community. It was wonderful to see everyone and I look forward to seeing you again next year.
As always, thank you for reading.