MAA Conference Report

Three weeks ago, the 2023 MAA Annual Conference welcomed 180 individuals to Meridian. Held at the MSU Riley Center, the conference covered topics including Mississippi’s economic development, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) and aviation, disposal of unneeded airport assets, military aviation in the state, working with DBEs, recognizing insider threats, the National Environmental Policy Act, the federal outlook for aviation and an historical look at aviation, as well as updates from strategic agencies and officials. New offerings this year included a tour of Meridian Regional Airport, a special exhibit space for DBEs and opportunities for one on one meetings between airport personnel and FAA Jackson ADO directors.

Many thanks to the sponsors, listed below, who made our conference possible and to the exhibitors who took part.

Speakers included Gray Swoope, VisionFirst Advisors; Brad White, MDOT; Justin Reichers, GovDeals; retired NASA astronaut BG Robert Stewart; MG Barry Blanchard, Mississippi Air National Guard; Taffy Pippin, Taffy Pippin Consulting; Mary Geter, DBE specialist; Carolyn Bell, MDOT; Tara Ford and Nick Amiano, FBI; Eric Tomasovic, FAA; Brad Brandt, National Association of State Aviation Officials; Josh Stubbs, MDOT Aeronautics; Rans Black, FAA; Jeff Wagner, Baker Donelson and Kim Jackson, TSA. Many of their presentations can be viewed HERE.

Several events brought opportunities for networking and a lot of fun. Wednesday, many attendees enjoyed sporting clays at Binachi Shooting Sports or golf at Northwood Country Club, followed by the opening reception in the exhibit hall. The next day, spouses toured Meridian’s Merrehope historical home and were treated to a floral-arranging demonstration, while other attendees had lunch and tours at the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum. An evening party at the Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience showed off the state’s rich contributions to music, art and literature. Capping the evening was a private concert in the Riley Center’s historic Opera House by none other than Mississippi’s own Chapel Hart! The concert was made possible by the Meridian Airport Foundation and the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation.

Brad White, Executive Director of MDOT, was presented with the inaugural Propel Award in recognition of outstanding leadership and support of aviation in Mississippi. Kathy Kenne, the MAA’s executive director for 17 years and principal of Tellos Creative, was honored by Association members as their 2023 Professional of the Year.

A gallery with more conference photos is on our website HERE.

Mark your calendar for the 2024 conference, September 18-20 in Tupelo!


Host Sponsor

Meridian Airport Authority


Jackson Municipal Airport Authority
Neel-Schaffer, Inc.


Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
JBHM Architecture
Michael Baker International


Allen & Hoshall
Barge Design Solutions
Dungan Engineering
Golden Triangle Regional Airport
Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport
Infrastructure Consulting & Engineering
Taffy Pippin Consulting, LLC


ACE Consulting & Design
Engineering Plus, Inc.
Engineering Solutions, Inc.
Pomeroy Consulting
Shows, Dearman & Waits, Inc.
Sunbelt Sealing, Inc.
TTL, Inc.
Unity Construction, LLC
Valtir, LLC