Virtual Conference Offers Timely Insight

Moderator and MAA board member Mike Hainsey of GTR Airport (below) poses viewers’ questions to AAAE’s Spencer Dickerson.

With the major impacts of COVID-19, transitioning national leadership and other events, there has never been a more vital time for those in the aviation industry to be informed about where things stand and what to expect. The recent MAA annual conference offered volumes of relevant and helpful perspective.

The conference was held virtually Dec. 1-3, with more than 100 registrants. Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi State Health Officer, opened the meeting with a discussion of the pandemic. Bringing the Washington perspective were Mandy Gunasekara, Chief of Staff for the Environmental Protection Agency; Spencer Dickerson of the American Association of Airport Executives and Greg Pecoraro of the National Association of State Aviation Officials. A drone update was provided by Jay Eads, Director of the Hinds Community College UAS Program, and Steve “Lux” Luxion, Executive Director of FAA’s Alliance of System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence. Mississippi aviation updates were offered by Jeff Wagner, Baker Donelson shareholder and MAA’s general counsel; Tommy Booth, MDOT Aeronautics Director; Rans Black, FAA’s Jackson Airports District Office Manager, and Kim Jackson, TSA Federal Security Director at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport. The meeting concluded with a roundtable discussion among airport directors.

Congratulations to Bill Cotter, who was named MAA’s 2020 Professional of the Year. Cotter is interim CEO of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission (HCPHC) and has served the Commission for over 20 years, most of that time as Airport Director at Stennis International Airport and then HCPHC Chief Operations Officer. A former MAA President and a longtime board member, he is also an American Association of Airport Executives Certified Member and a licensed pilot.

Thanks go to our speakers as well as the members of the conference planning committee, for all their hard work before and during the event: Tommy Booth, Trey Breckenridge, Mike Hainsey, Elton Jay, Kathy Kenne, Kirsten Shaw, Sam Washington and Tom Williams.

The conference wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our sponsors, whom we thank once again. Be sure to express your appreciation when you have the opportunity.

Keynote Speaker Sponsors
Neel-Schaffer
Tupelo Regional Airport

Session Sponsors
Garver
JBHM

Signature Sponsors
Golden Triangle Regional Airport
Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport
Meridian Regional Airport
Shows Dearman & Waits

Sponsors
Allen & Hoshall
Avflight
Barge Design Solutions
Dungan Engineering
Greenville Mid-Delta Airport
Jordan, Kaiser & Sessions
Kutchins & Groh
Michael Baker International
Quantum Spatial
Sunbelt Sealing
Taffy Pippin Consulting