Paul Bowers
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Paul Bowers

The older we get, the more we understand how not much of anything is really new. Conditions may be changing; but really, what's new about volatility of energy prices, shortages of material, fluctuating passenger counts/business or even leadership? We've had great leaders, bad leaders and many in between.

To say that collaboration is new to airport projects would be a misstatement. Consultants and vendors have been playing integral roles with our airports and their development for ages. Their knowledge of systems and products is something airports rely on. Nothing new here.

I was reminded of that at this year's AAAE annual meeting in Philadelphia. Brian Condie, director of Garfield County Regional Airport, was telling me about a runway product vendor who was trying to sell him something. Brian told this vendor that in order to make a sale, he needed to talk to the guy who was standing next to him, his consultant.

Rarely do circumstances provide immediate access and interaction between the airport, it's consultants and vendors. But then again, that's the beauty of trade shows. Conferences and exhibitions are extremely valuable in educating, networking and sharing of stories. The information exchange is well worth the time and money needed to attend.

Unfortunately, this year's recession has really changed the landscape of conferences and trade shows. Attendance at most events is off a significant percentage. Again, this has happened in the past and isn't novel; but it's still a reality that needs to be faced.

Our needs for collaboration have not diminished with the recession. Quite frankly, they may be even greater. How we collaborate may need to shift.

What's filling that collaborative vacuum? Well, you're reading one good example. The growth of this magazine is predicated on highlighting the collaborative effort involved with project work. That's why the articles include input from not only the airport operator, but the consultants and major vendors involved with the project, too.

Online webinars, training and communication (LinkedIn, Twitter and others) are also filling a void created by the reduction in travel.

Our airport system and excellent leadership offers a resiliency that has enabled us to grow with the enormous changes thrown at us. And we're better off for it. Collaboration is a constant that helps us manage this growth.

Cheers! Paul

Publisher's Column

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