And the Beat Goes on

Paul Bowers
March-April
2022

As a runner, the past two years have been difficult for me. Sure, I could still run; but without races, it just wasn’t the same. I tried virtual races, but that was just me running alone. Training with others and seeing friends at events is a big part of my joy and motivation for running.

This spring I competed in two half marathons. Being with others was so rewarding! I had missed these events and am so glad we’re back to in-person races.

The same can be said for airport conferences. I’m thrilled they’re back, too. The programmed interaction and chance meetings with other attendees will never be taken for granted again. Virtual events were fine to try, but they aren’t good substitutes for the real thing. 

Now that I’ve had a chance to compare virtual to real, I’ll never sign up for a virtual race…or exhibit virtually again.

Lately, I’ve begun to question the platitude about airport leaders being risk averse. Case in point: the three airport execs who shared their visions in a session I moderated at the International Association of Baggage System Companies summit in Dallas.

Aviation Administrator Bryant Walker discussed the technologies being used to build the new terminal at Brownsville South Padre Island Int’l. He talked about clash detection, digital twins, virtual reality and how they are used to enhance and lead the construction process.

Greg Phillips, director of Aviation at Colorado Springs Airport, is creating a forward-thinking business park. Among the companies signing on are Amazon, Aerospace Corporation, Flywheel Capital and Hotel Equities. 

Finally, there’s Eddie Clayson, director of Airport Maintenance at Salt Lake City Int’l. He briefed us on the remarkable $4.1 billion redevelopment project that is delivering a comprehensive series of much-needed operational and aesthetic upgrades throughout the entire airport.

All three airport leaders are embracing technology, innovative practices and new ideas—not because the initiatives are safe, but because they had the data and vision to see the payoffs.

In today’s world, it’s dangerous to assume what we hear is true. Judging from the body of work by Bryant, Greg and Eddie, there are leaders in our industry willing to take risks. 

Cheers,

New Podcast Series: Airport Chatter with Jonathan Norman

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