The Vaughn student chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) held its sixth annual luncheon on March 21 welcoming old friends and colleagues to the College to provide students with an update on new happenings in the airport industry.

The event featured three speakers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, John F. Kennedy International Air Terminal (JFKIAT) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Guests from Allied Aviation Services, AvPorts, Morristown Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rounded out the guest list.

Patricia Ramales, Vaughn’s AAAE chapter treasurer opened the event welcoming guests and President Dr. John Fitzpatrick who noted that this student group was “the most active club on campus, and at one time the largest chapter in the New York region.”

All speakers focused on their varying roles in the airport industry and discussed plans for future initiatives in line with the anticipated growth of the airline industry.  William DeGraaf, regional airport program manager from the Port Authority, discussed delay reduction plans designed to increase runway safety and provide fewer delays at airports by building “end-around taxiways.” Delta expansion plans at JFKIAT were addressed by Michael Sibilia, chief financial officer at the facility, who enlightened the audience about the finances behind public-private partnerships and how the planned expansion would be beneficial to all those in the New York area who fly internationally or want to work at JFK.

During the last presentation, Grace Ridley talked to students about her background in law enforcement and how that played into her role at the TSA as director of special operations, noting, “I love my job and want to let you know that there are many career opportunities with TSA.” She continued by saying, “I encourage students to be very proactive when job searching and explore opportunities that exist outside New York in places like Singapore and around the world.”

The event ended with two handlers from the TSA’s K-9 Unit showcasing their canine partners, to the audiences’ delight, and explaining how the dogs are identified, trained and utilized on a daily basis to uncover explosives at airports and other facilities.

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Above: Event speakers Michael Sibilia (left) and Grace Ridley with K-9 unit.
Below: William DeGraaf (left) and Vaughn’s AAAE executive board members, Mida Kim, Patricia Ramales, Philip Agard, Ingrid Zacatelco (front row) with academic advisors Stephen Braccio and Al Graser.

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