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Networking Opportunities 123 What are the costs to join and renew membership? Who else is a member and are they the individuals with whom you want to network? Specifically, what kinds of networking opportunities are there? How many organizations do you have the time and money to join? If you had to select just one organization to join, which one best fits your needs? The following list will help you evaluate professional organizations: Check out the websites. These sites are filled with valuable information about the organization and its members. Compare all the organizations you are interested in to see which ones offer the best combination of content, connections, and commitment level. Talk to colleagues who are current members to find out their opinions about the organization. Go as a guest to an event, seminar, or conference before joining to see if it is a good fit and meets your specific needs. Once you join, get involved to really take advantage of the organization's potential for effective networking. Evaluate your membership at renewal time; if you're not getting what you need, consider switching to another organization. 12.3 TRADESHOWS AND CONFERENCES Effectiveness Cost Commercial Service General Aviation $ Definition: Tradeshows and conferences organized by the professional organizations reviewed in this Guidebook provide an excellent means to network with colleagues and experts in the industry. They include national conventions and conferences, as well as smaller topical seminars. Selected tradeshows and conferences are described in the following subsections. Much of the background information on these events comes directly from the organizations' websites, so we encourage readers to visit specific websites of interest. 12.3.1 GENERAL AVIATION CONFERENCES AAAE General Aviation Issues Conference The AAAE General Aviation (GA) Issues Conference is an annual event held in April or May that addresses many aspects of general aviation at the national level. This annual conference is geared to airport leaders, FBO owners and managers, business operators, aircraft manufacturers, students, press, and other members of the general aviation industry. It offers an opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss and debate a variety of issues vital to general aviation. The conference also provides a unique networking forum with members of the general aviation community, the U.S. government, and the aviation industry.

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124 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention Held in October, the NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention "is the premier event for business aviation. It is where business aviation business gets transacted. It is where business aviation news gets announced--and made. It is where business aviation history gets started. It brings the world of business aviation together." With close to 33,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibitors, this convention offers over 100 information sessions and the opportunity to meet and talk with pilots, other airports, and industry representatives. EAA AirVenture Annual Convention EAA AirVenture is the annual convention of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), a grass-roots avia- tion organization dedicated to keeping aviation fun, accessible, and safe. During the last week of July, EAA members hold this annual gathering and invite the aviation world to participate. Wittman Regional Airport, located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, "becomes a magical place where innovation, experimentation, and imagina- tion aren't just buzzwords on television commercials. They're words that actually describe these average-Joe rocket scientists." The Oshkosh event attracts representatives from just about every aspect of aviation, from NASA and the military to mega-dollar business jets, ultralights, pilot-training companies, and gadget manufac- turers. Oshkosh is a showcase for meticulously cared for antique, classic, and homebuilt airplanes (some 10,000 of them with more than 750,000 participants). In addition, there are more than 500 educational forums, seminars, and workshops held during the week. AOPA Aviation Summit AOPA Aviation Summit is an annual event held in November. The summit brings together pilots, aircraft owners, aviation businesses, students, and policy makers to share thoughts on the top issues that are shaping aviation policy, funding, safety, and security. Attendees also have the opportunity to view new products and services and network with many industry representatives. 12.3.2 AIR SERVICE CONFERENCES ACINA Jumpstart Conference ACINA JumpStart Air Service Development Program was launched in 1997 by ACINA members as a forum to improve the communication process in the air service arena between airports and airlines. In 2008, JumpStart connected 43 airline route planners from 24 airlines with 154 airport marketing professionals at over 800 one- on-one meetings. The "round-robin" meeting format provides both airport and airline participants with the unique opportunity to build and strengthen relationships. Airports request a private, 20-minute meeting with up to ten airlines. ACINA schedules airports with those airlines that request meetings. On the evening prior to the pro- gram, ACINA hosts an ice breaker reception for JumpStart participants where all airports are given an oppor- tunity to interact with those airlines that they will not be meeting with during the actual event.

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Networking Opportunities 125 AAAE Great Lakes Chapter (GLC) National Air Service Conference The Great Lakes Chapter of AAAE was organized in 1968 and was originally titled the North Central Chapter. This chapter was created in the early 1960s from a joining of several Midwest state airport management asso- ciations. The Great Lakes Chapter has grown to include twelve Midwestern U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The National Air Service Conference is sponsored by the Great Lakes Chapter of AAAE, AAAE, and ACINA. The conference is designed to provide airport managers the opportunity to discuss and share infor- mation about the status of the airline industry, air service initiatives, and programs. 12.3.3 AVIATION FORECAST CONFERENCE FAA Aviation Forecast Conference The annual FAA Aviation Forecast Conference, held in March or April, provides an opportunity for members of the aviation community to discuss their views on the future of the aviation industry. Each year, the FAA pre- sents its national forecast for the major domestic sectors of aviation. Industry and government leaders also typ- ically discuss other FAA initiatives such as NextGen or airport authorization legislation. 12.3.4 MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS CONFERENCES ACINA Marketing and Communications Conference The Marketing and Communications Conference is held annually in June in conjunction with the JumpStart Air Service Development Program. The conference attracts over 350 attendees and is the second largest ACINA event. Air service, customer service, marketing, media relations, and public relations professionals from both large and small airports attend. The first two and a half days cover the various disciplines of marketing and com- munications including community relations, customer service, public relations, marketing, air service development, and communications. The last day features the JumpStart Air Service Development program where airports have prescheduled meetings with individual airlines. AAAE Toolbox for Communications: PR Basics and Advanced Tactics Conference The Toolbox for Communications: PR Basics and Advanced Tactics Conference is a new meeting held in October and sponsored by the AAAE. This event provides an airport public relations overview that includes the following: How to establish a good working relationship with your local media Taking the temperature of blogs and online news related to the airport and how to use that information to prioritize your time 24/7 media coverage: how to respond to it When and when not to hold a press conference How to do a joint airport/airline special announcement that builds your name and brand equity

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126 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports How to roll out an announcement, such as unveiling a new capital improvement program, with the biggest impact When and how to hire an outside public relations firm to help In addition, veteran industry practitioners offer specific advice on handling crisis incidents, crafting media mes- sages, and avoiding costly mistakes. 12.3.5 MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, AND OVERHAUL (MRO) CONFERENCES Aviation Week's MRO Conference and Exhibition The annual MRO Conference and Exhibition, MRO Military, and Interiors, are three events in one held in October. The conference provides opportunities to learn more about pressing issues in commercial and mili- tary MRO and aircraft interiors. The following are statistics from the website regarding this conference: 91% of MRO Exhibitors connected with prospects they hoped to meet 21% of MRO Exhibitors CLOSED business on the show floor 87% of MRO Exhibitors scheduled follow-up appointments 94% of MRO Exhibitors made NEW business contacts 95% of MRO Conference Attendees agree session information is timely and relevant 74% of MRO Conference Attendees agree this information is not available elsewhere 53% of Exhibition Hall Attendees revised their short list based on meeting exhibitors at MRO 74% of Exhibition Hall Attendees made follow-up meetings 23% of Exhibition Hall Attendees made buying decisions on the floor 12.3.6 AIRPORT AND STATE FOCUSED CONFERENCES AAAE F. Russell Hoyt National Airports Conference This annual conference, sponsored by the AAAE and held each fall, examines airport, aviation industry, and regulatory issues. The conference is typically set up with a combination of guest speakers, roundtable discus- sions, and exhibits. NASAO Annual Convention and Tradeshow NASAO sponsors an annual convention and tradeshow in September. The convention offers those who attend an opportunity to meet with the aviation decision makers from all 50 state governments, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico. NASAO events are well known for the high quality of convention topics and technical sessions presented by distinguished experts. Additionally, NASAO convention social activities provide networking oppor- tunities with state and federal government aviation professionals, as well as national aviation industry leaders.