The 2015 edition of the annual NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference (SDC2015) came to end on Friday, February 6 at the San José McEnery Convention Center, in San José, California.
During the SDC2015 Opening General Session Wednesday, February 4, several industry leaders gathered to provide attendees with valuable insights. Among the speakers panel were Desert Jet President & CEO Denise Wilson, CEO of international security and risk management firm BGI CEO Matt Bogaard, and Washington Penn Plastic Director of Aviation Caterhine Kidon. Moderating the session was emergency preparedness firm Fireside Partners President Don Chupp. “The Opening General Session set the tone for the conference, as attendees seek new opportunities to ‘Soar to New Heights’ in their profession,” commented NBAA Educational Development and Strategy Director Jo Damato.
At the center of this year’s conference was safety and preparedness, which was made clear by a first-ever live emergency response preparedness drill featuring a scenario involving an aircraft crash, organized on Thursday, February 5.
In a 90-minute exercise, ten volunteers offered their theatrical skills on stage in providing attendees with what Damato called “a realistic experience of what to expect in the event of a worst-case situation.” The purpose of the drill was to further underpin the importance of the so-called command center responsibilities that front-line flight operation professionals would face during an emergency, and the value of taking part in advanced simulations and training in best practices.
“Our goal with this dramatic live drill is to underscore that everyone in aviation has an important role to play in emergency preparedness and response, and to ensure that training and discussion opportunities like the one we’re providing are a regular part of our professional development resources,” Damato added.
Opening General Session moderator Don Chupp guided the audience through the simulated event, pausing at key points in the action to evaluate decisions being made on stage, and how flight department personnel interact with company leadership, the news media and family members.
Additional follow-up sessions explored several critical issues covered in the exercise, including tools and strategies to aid in the identification and response to an aircraft accident and to ensure the highest extent of preparedness.
Finally, throughout the event, and as an annual habit, several training scholarships were announced. Fifteen individuals were recognized for their talent as present and aspiring schedulers and dispatchers. Since 1997, the scholarships have been a benchmark to promote professional and career development through cash grants given at business aviation schedulers and dispatchers.