About 30 years ago, Senator Jackson of Washington lost a young, able staff member named Chip Barclay to a sleepy little professional organization in Alexandria, VA. At the time the aviation heavyweights were named AOPA, ATA and ACI. The American Association of Airport Executives was primarily an organization which gave professionals who work at airports an opportunity to improve themselves. Mr. Barclay did not see smallness and had a vision of a network of managers of highly visible, economic engines in virtually every Congressional district. He revitalized an organization with entrepreneurial spirit that correlated with a safety mission.
AAAE now runs a clearinghouse for airport security badges, a state-of-the-art interactive educational system, its own TV network (which, among other things, produces interviews with Members of Congress and those tapes find their way back to the district!), an impressive array of incredibly well designed and better attended meetings around the world, a group of 1st class paper and electronic publications. All of these aspects of the AAAE business support, if not promote, their safety mission.
Equally impressive is AAAE’s presence in Washington; not just the Hill (where they are preeminent), but also DoT, FAA, DHS (everywhere literally), State, OMB, the White House and anywhere airports touch, AAAE is there as the aviation player. The best evidence of AAAE’s clout (the fingerprints of these guys are rarely seen; so there is nothing in the way of direct evidence) is while EVERY other industry worries about the cataclysmic impact of Sequestration and while the FAA has massive Sequestration problems, one of them is not the Airport Trust Fund. Thanks to AAAE, I assume.
AAAE announced that Spencer Dickerson and Todd Hauptli are being elevated to Presidents. As with many things that this organization does, the real reason why is not transparent, but as everything that Chip does with AAAE, it is certain that the end result will be good for aviation safety.Share this article: