Airport Business’ Top 40 Under 40 — 2013

Oct. 7, 2013
Young innovators ready aviation for the future

This issue of Airport Business is devoted to 40 aviation up and comers (actually 41 because we had a tie) under age 40. What an honor it is for those selected and what an asset these 41 are for our industry.

Last year in this space I wrote that, “Aviation needs young leaders—but only if we want to survive.” I was dead serious about that. Show me a church, civic club, town, company or industry in which the average age is getting older with no influx of young members, and I’ll show you a group that will either change or go under. That’s truer this year than last, and will be even more important next year.

Of course our entire industry won’t collapse if we get this wrong—just that part of the industry that doesn’t adapt.

I’m proud that Airport Business publishes this list of “40 Under 40,” thus providing much-needed appreciation for these young leaders. When an industry needs young leaders—and what industry doesn’t?—it should let them and the world know that the industry appreciates them. If you know any of this year’s selected 40, I hope you’ll send them an email or other note of congratulations.

After all, we want them to tell their friends in other industries how much they like their jobs.

I spoke for Women In Aviation this year, and was delighted to see that the aviation industry is showing up en masse to recruit employees among this young and dynamic group of women. During my presentation I urged the members to consider airport management as a career. Did your airport exhibit at Women In Aviation’s annual conference this year? Perhaps you should next year. You can bet that your competition will be there recruiting.

If you think aviation changed during the last half-century, just sit back and wait. I really believe that the next 50 years will change more than the last 50 years as the world grows smaller and possibilities grow larger. We’re going to need a lot of people—educated young people—to react to and handle opportunities and challenges.

Airport management requires more education, more smarts and more energy than ever before. Just dealing with leases, guvmint rules and financing takes a lot of up-to-date know-how. We need a constant influx of young men and women educated and trained in many fields. One way to get them is by recognizing our best and brightest with honors like our annual “40 Under 40.”

About the Author

Ralph Hood | Certified Speaking Professional

Ralph Hood is a Certified Speaking Professional who has addressed aviation groups throughout North America. A pilot since 1969, he's insured and sold airplanes at retail and distributor levels and taught aviation management for Southern Illinois University.

Ralph Hood is also an award-winning columnist (he writes for several publications), a salesman and sales manager (he sold airplanes, for crying out loud!), a teacher (he taught college-level aviation management) and a professional public speaker who has entertained and enlightened audiences from Hawaii to Spain, and from Fairbanks to Puerto Rico.

  • Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), National Speakers Association
  • Past member, National Ethics Committee, National Speakers Association
  • Past president of Alabama Speakers Association
  • Member, Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame
  • Past National Marketing Mentor, AOPA Project Pilot