"If You Build It, They Will Come"...Works at Airfields, Too

Author: 
Paul Bowers
Published in: 
May-June
2010

Growth opportunities can emerge at any time, not just when business is booming. Quite frankly, some of the best ideas come when business is off and the pressure is on.

How is it that some businesses, events and products are able to launch and flourish while others are cutting back or closing? In part, it's because they identify the needs of customers who are underserved and develop a viable plan to meet those needs. Sounds easy, but it isn't. Otherwise, everyone would be doing it.




        Paul Bowers

Small companies and entrepreneurs often meet such needs. But industry groups can fill the void, too - if they're focused on addressing a thinly sliced niche that's otherwise being ignored.

Examples, you ask? For starters, there's Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, Aviation Lighting Committee. It's the definitive source of information about runway lighting. We also have the International Association of Baggage System Companies, a group that exists to meet needs that were previously unaddressed by any other group.

In April, I had the pleasure of attending the first workshop of the International Friction Pavement Association (IFPA). Friction testing, rubber removal, paint removal, striping and other runway-related projects are paramount to safe airport operations, but no other group has championed their cause. The IFPA succeeded in bringing together FAA representatives, suppliers and airport operators from the United States and abroad to explore these vital runway issues. In classrooms and outdoor demo settings, we listened to experts, examined pavements and had hands-on access to cutting-edge equipment. Attendees I spoke with found it quite rewarding.

In short, IFPA "built it," and we did, indeed, come. I'm already looking forward to next year's workshop! Check out the IFPA website at www.intlfpa.org for more information.

Cheers! Paul

Subcategory: 
Publisher's Column

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