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Airport introduces high school students
to national aviation conference
By A.B. Snedeker

As the aviation industry prepares to roll out NextGen technologies in the coming years, the push is on to help prepare the next generation of aviation professionals. 

At this year’s 83rd annual American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Conference and Exposition in Atlanta, members of Hartsfield-Jackson’s host committee organized and sponsored a half-day workshop for local teenagers who are interested in aviation.

About 2,000 airport executives, aviation consultants, students, vendors and enthusiasts attended the conference and exposition May 15-18 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Among them on May 16 were 17 students from the Maxwell High School of Technology’s aviation magnet program in Gwinnett County and from the Aviation Career Enrichment (ACE) academy.

According to Yasmina Platt, Hartsfield-Jackson Aviation planner, many students think only of being pilots when considering careers in aviation.

“We wanted to include aviation students from metro Atlanta in the AAAE conference as a way of showing them that aviation careers can include becoming an engineer, architect, planner and so many other vocations beyond piloting,” she said.

After a briefing on the overall organization of the conference and exposition, the students explored the exhibit hall.

“This was the first major association event most of the students have ever attended,” said Dottie Gandee, senior Aviation planner and host committee member. “It was great seeing them interact with the vendors, learning about their products and services, and getting a whole new perspective on the aviation industry.”

After an hour or so on the exhibit floor, the students joined a session for the AAAE’s college student chapter, where they had the chance to discuss specific college aviation programs. The group then attended a panel discussion, “NextGen — Impacts on Airports in the Short and Long Term,” that featured remarks from Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Randy Babbitt.

“The students thoroughly enjoyed attending the AAAE conference,” said Capt. Ken Phelps, aviation teacher at Maxwell. “They were thrilled to learn about airport operations and planning from aviation professionals.”

Gandee said that the student program was such a success that the host committee at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, host of next year’s AAAE Conference and Exposition, are interested in incorporating the program.

The high school students met with the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) college student chapter at the AAAE conference on May 16.

The high school students met with the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) college student chapter at the AAAE conference on May 16.

© 2011 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.

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