Identify your dream and have the courage to pursue it. It may sound like a simple message, but it's essential to success in airport management, according to Vaughn College board member Oswin Moore, president and chief executive of the management company avPORTS.
Speaking at the Vaughn chapter of the Association of Airport Executives fourth annual luncheon, Moore told Vaughn students his secret to industry success — believe in yourself and trust in your educational background.
"You have to know where you're strong and what you need to fill in around you," Moore said. "Be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that are offered to you and know that you get the best training at Vaughn."
Moore was one of six speakers at Thursday's annual networking and educational event. Representatives from area airports, the Transportation Security Administration and a private company such as Moore's offered students a guide to career opportunities. Some 70 people attended, including a handful of students from the City University of New York Aviation Institute at York College.
James FitzGerald, a TSA supervisory inspector, brought a note of levity when, addressing the subject of a federal government shutdown on Friday, he promised: "Don't worry, the TSA will still be here. We will be operating."
FitzGerald was joined by colleague Grace Ridley, who explained new TSA screening protocols. Michael Sibilia and Janice Holden updated students on the expansion of Kennedy Airport's International Air Terminal and Diannae Ehler offered an overview of goings-on at Stewart International Airport in upstate Orange County.
Ehler, Stewart's general manager, admitted her airport is overlooked in a saturated marketplace. She said she is doing her best to elevate its profile; upgrades there could mean opportunities for airport management students.
"Who's heard of Stewart Airport?" she said to a show of hands. "Now, who's been there, and who's flown out of there? That's been my problem. But we think we can get two, three or even four dozen flights a day to key cities," she said.
AAAE VAUGHN COLLEGE CHAPTER LUNCHEON: Clockwise from top left, Diannae Ehler of Stewart International Airport; James FitzGerald of the Transportation Security Administration; and College Board member and avPORTS chief executive Oswin Moore address students. The AAAE Executive Board, from left, Ajith Ramadas, Asad Mustafa, Kayenat Uddin, Nelson Sanchez and Nazdat Khan.