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General Trade Show

Meridian Exhibits at Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference

Team Meridian is ready to start Schedulers & Dispatchers in Charlotte, NC.  (Left to Right: Phil Boyer, Chris Battaglia, Jenny Deitschman, Jeremy Ojerholm, MaKayla Gorski, and Kirk Stephen)

Meridian sent a team of six associates to work their exhibit at the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) 31st Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference (SDC2020) held at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC, from March 10 – 12.  The company sent representatives from Aircraft Management, Charter Sales and Operations, Customer Service, and Marketing.  The show ended with positive marks among exhibitors and attendees for the show’s timely content, new products and features and quality attendees.
The event ranked among the top 10 editions of Schedulers & Dispatchers, as measured by participation from exhibitors and the 2,500 registered attendees.  It began by addressing a difficult challenge confronting business aviation: the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, a particular concern for a highly mobile industry.
In the opening keynote address, Dr. Clayton Cowl, chair, preventive, occupational and aerospace medicine with the Mayo Clinic, provided an update on the rapidly evolving situation, along with practical tips for reducing community transmission of the virus. Don Chupp, president and CEO with global emergency-response firm Fireside Partners, offered advice regarding communications and business planning in light of the situation.
The opening keynote concluded with an inspiring presentation from Warren Macdonald, Australian environmentalist, adaptive mountain climber and bilateral above-the-knee amputee, who shared life-changing lessons learned after surviving a traumatic climbing accident.
Once the event got underway, attendees were on hand for education sessions covering a host of timely topics, including integration of unmanned aircraft systems into flight departments, combating cybersecurity threats, and the latest considerations for operations in areas ranging from America’s Eastern seaboard to Eastern Europe and Asia.
More than 90% of confirmed exhibitors were on hand, eager to share their perspectives. “We’ve got fixed-base operators from all over the country here exhibiting with us,” said Meghan Allen, associate brand director with SDC exhibitor Phillips 66 Aviation.

An aerial view of the trade show floor at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Bringing added energy to the show were first-time features, including an inaugural SDC New Products Showcase, which introduced 13 products and services new to the business aviation marketplace. “The showcase was very well received,” noted Tyler Austin, NBAA senior manager of certification. “It not only offered these new entrants an opportunity to build relationships with customers; it underscored the innovative spirit characteristic of business aviation.”
With a nod toward the industry’s future, a group of SDC participants gathered before show-start at Charlotte Douglas International Airport with 45 students from Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, a local STEM high school, where industry professionals offered the students a first-hand look at the career possibilities available in business aviation.
SDC participants also displayed their pay-it-forward spirit, gathering more than 1,000 pieces of professional business attire for local charities Dress for Success-Charlotte and Suit Up Charlotte.
Despite the event’s momentum, organizers concluded the full SDC program one day early, when the exhibit floor closed on Thursday, March 12.
NBAA’s public statement about the decision noted that the association’s highest priority remains the health and well-being of participants. With that in mind, the SDC organizers added that their planning was informed in part by a series of continually evolving announcements from several authorities, including the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other public health and aviation-safety experts – all of which were impacting travel planning and other decisions.
“As with all NBAA events, we view our participants as partners whose health, safety and security is always our foremost concern, and that was the guiding principle behind this decision,” noted NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We thank all SDC participants for their support in this challenging environment, and we look forward to welcoming them back for an even better conference in 2021.”

Downtown Charlotte at night.
Categories
General

Meridian Exhibits at Regional Forum in West Palm Beach

Team Meridian is ready to welcome visitors to their exhibit at the NBAA Regional Forum in West Palm Beach, FL.
(l to r): Jeremy Ojerholm, Patti Sullivan, Kirk Stephen, Estrella Montero, Ken Forester, and Susan Forester.

On Wednesday, January 29, Meridian sent a team of six associates to Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) to represent the company at the first NBAA Regional of the year. The event proudly hosted a record-breaking 3,000 attendees, making this the most-attended regional to be hosted in West Palm Beach.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to 2020,” said Dina Green, NBAA vice president of events. “We had nearly 30 aircraft and vehicles on display, in addition to more than 150 indoor exhibitors. We’ve been hosting this forum at Atlantic Aviation for several years, and it’s always a great event to showcase the latest trends and technologies shaping business aviation.”

In welcoming attendees to the show, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen took a moment to remember basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others who died in a helicopter accident on Jan. 26. “Our community can pay tribute to Kobe and the others by making sure we learn from the accident,” he said. “We don’t know the cause now, but we will, and whatever it is, we will make sure it is something we can isolate, understand and learn from, because one thing our industry has always done is learn from the mistakes of the past.”

Throngs of attendees gather inside the hangar to meet with exhibitors and to network with fellow business aviation professionals.

Pointing out that the start of 2020 marks the beginning not only of a year, but a new decade, Bolen said, “This will be one of the most significant decades in the history of aviation and aerospace. Things are happening today at a pace we really haven’t seen at least since the dawn of the jet age.”

Citing technologies like drones, urban air mobility, supersonic jets and more, Bolen said innovation will allow business aviation to grow and prosper. While there have been events around the world featuring sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), most recently in Davos, Bolen noted the industry will take another step forward by holding a summit in March that will look at how stakeholders can increase the production and use of SAF.

This is a great industry, and it’s an industry in an age of innovation,” he said. “This is an exciting time for business aviation. Innovation is all around us, but among our key challenges will be our ability to bring in young, excited, talented, innovative, passionate young people. Can we attract them? Can we retain them?” Bolen noted that nearly 200 students were in attendance for the 2020 PBI event. “It’s an extraordinary industry that does capture the imagination of a lot of people,” he said.

The opening session concluded with a scholarship presentation from Dreams Soar’s Shaesta Waiz – who in 2017 became the youngest woman to fly solo around the globe in a single-engine aircraft. The inaugural Jimmie J. Norman Memorial Scholarship was presented to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student Lauren Abernathy.

The West Palm Beach Forum also featured education sessions on the most pressing topics in business aviation: ADS-B implementation, career paths in business aviation, tax benefits and limitations for aircraft operators, improving safety through aircraft data and financing options for aircraft.

Meridian had a great showing at this year’s event, having the opportunity for face-to-face business paired with the event’s record-breaking attendance. There was constant activity at the Meridian booth throughout the entire event. Kirk Stephen, Director of Marketing, said, “West Palm is a must-attend event for us. We do a lot of business in South Florida, so it makes sense for us to be here and meet with many of our customers, vendor-partners, and friends in person.”

The static display enjoyed great weather for showing its vast array of
business aircraft models.

The next NBAA Regional Forum will be held at San Jose International Airport (SJC) in San Jose, CA, on Thursday, March 5, 2020. Meridian will be exhibiting, and we are looking forward to seeing you there!