The Management Speaker Series: Industry Leaders Inspiring Through Real-World Experience

April 23, 2021 Vaughn Spotlights

Welcome to a special edition of the Vaughn College blog. We are excited to share with you our popular Management Speaker Series, where we take a deeper dive into how this instrumental networking experience inspires and educates Vaughn’s students, faculty and members of our community.

We met up with Dr. Maxine Lubner, professor and chair of the management department at Vaughn, who offered her insights and expertise in spearheading the speaker series and the important role it continues to play in the success of Vaughn’s students who are seeking a degree in airport, airline and general management.

A network of experience

Part of Vaughn’s commitment to the success of its students is the industry experience so many of its instructors and professors bring into the classroom. The Management Speaker Series takes that commitment one step further by bringing real-world knowledge to our students through the exceptional reputations and experience of our network of aviation management professionals. “The Management Speaker Series is a great way for industry professionals to share their experiences,” said Dr. Lubner. “It’s a win-win, as it helps to enhance Vaughn’s reputation as a stellar institution while offering networking opportunities and valuable information for our students, faculty, and attendees. It’s just one of the ways Vaughn gives back to its students.”

Here, we highlight two industry professionals who bring years of experience from a variety of roles that encompass the world of aviation management.

Bradley Mims

Bradley MimsOn Friday, March 19, the management department welcomed A. Bradley Mims, who was recently appointed deputy administrator at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). For more than 40 years, Mims has served as a transportation professional in government and the private sector. Mims spoke of many “firsts” in his career, which included working as the first African American staffer for Gaylord Nelson, a former senator from Wisconsin, as well as being the first African American legislative director for the late Congressman Lewis, which he said was the turning point in his career.

During his discussion about aviation safety careers, Mims offered valuable advice to Vaughn students who participated in the session. He expressed the importance of not limiting yourself to just the job. “Learning how to lead people can put you in the upper echelon,” Mims said. “Progress and grow to become an expert in your field so you can put yourself in the capacity to lead and manage.” During his time working in the industry, Mims said he had to reinvent himself to learn about other avenues and opportunities. “We develop a level of love in what we do,” he explained. “To get to the next level, it’s important to expand your horizons of what you love. Be a leader and a teacher of the people.”

Kim Day

Kim DayThe management department at Vaughn welcomed Kim Day, chief executive officer at Denver International Airport (DEN) who spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on airports. For the past 13 years, Day led DEN to become the nation’s fifth-busiest airport as well as the region’s most powerful economic engine, having generated more than $33.5 billion annually. Denver International Airport entered the COVID-19 pandemic fiscally strong. During the presentation, Day explained how COVID-19 impacted airport operations, the management of DEN’s finances (post-pandemic) and how leveraging new technologies has been beneficial to the airport. With 700 days (approximately two years) of operating costs on hand, DEN is one of the few airports that did not have to lay employees off due to the pandemic. She explained how the airport deferred airline rental for three months and temporarily moved to a flat percentage of sales model for concessions and rental cars to further protect the airport’s ecosystem. Day expressed to the students that the whole ecosystem must be supported as concessionaires and rental car companies heavily affect revenue. “The lessons learned are to develop alternative plans,” she said. Currently, Day is heading a redevelopment of DEN’s iconic and tented Jeppesen Terminal that will modernize the facility, improve its security model and increase its capacity.

Benefits of the Management Speaker Series

The Management Speaker Series provides valuable opportunities for its attendees. The series is open to all students, faculty, and staff who are interested in hearing the latest industry news from top professionals in their field. Some of the benefits of attending include:

  • Excellent networking opportunities
  • Exposure to role models in high-level positions
  • Vision into where a Vaughn management degree can lead
  • Valuable insights on the future of aviation, industry analysis and the inside scoop on how airports are run
  • Understanding current protocols for COVID-19 and how to find opportunities for growth during a pandemic

Shifting to an online platform

Dr. Lubner explained how—despite having to shift the Management Speaker Series from its original in-person classroom presentations to a Zoom platform—attendees still continue to benefit from these sessions in more ways than expected. Here are some examples of how attending the Management Speaker Series via Zoom is making the experience more fruitful:

  • Greater convenience for speakers and listeners to attend
  • Normally shy or timid students can interact easily by asking questions via the chat
  • Attracts a broader audience that includes members of the industry advisory council, trustees and members of administration from other colleges
  • Greater ability to secure a broad range of speakers when travel is not a factor

Stay tuned for future blogs as we feature more inspiring speakers who will fuel your passion for working in the aviation and airline management industry.

Are you interested in a career in this exciting field? Discover the various career possibilities that an airline/airport management degree from Vaughn can provide. Interested in learning about where Vaughn students have landed with their airport management degrees? Check out the inspirational stories of Otha Ward ’19, Patrick Batey ’16  and Edison Luo ’15.