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President’s Message Continued from page 7 and its users. Foremost among these potential partners are the aviation businesses at the airport. The manager’s job is to work with these companies to foster economic activity at the airport — not to just send them a bill every month. Other partnerships can be just as important — with the state and federal aviation funding entities, with Congress, ATC providers, aviation organizations, economic development officials, hospitals, universities, major corporations, local entrepreneurs, and many, many more. Unfortunately, some airport managers only give lip service to these potential partners. For them, it is all about their career, their compensation package, and their little empire. An effective manager leverages his resources through the creation of true public-private partnerships. More importantly, he knows that a successful airport needs successful and profitable aviation partners. Without them, it’s hard to justify his salary. Perhaps the greatest peril an airport faces is the threat of becoming a bureaucracy, and only a good manager can prevent this from happening. It’s the curse of the public sector, of course, and aviation endures more than its share with the mind-numbing organizational inefficiencies at many of the federal agencies with whom we interact, but many great airports are run with the kind of customerfriendly policies and procedures that can cut through miles of red tape. Sadly, however, many airport managers succumb to the temptations of bureaucracy and turn into petty tyrants. The symptoms are familiar: lots of unproductive meetings, endless delays, piles of paperwork, and a dearth of decision-making. These managers don’t really manage at all, they just shuffle. So take out a report card and grade your airport manager. Does he or she understand the true scope of the job and have a vision to match it? Does the airport build partnerships that produce results — and are they work- ing to increase economic activity and promote profitable enterprises in and around the airport? Does the airport manager understand that bureaucracies stifle innovation, creativity, and growth? If not, it’s time for an engine overhaul at your airport. Firing an airport manager is an art unto itself, but if properly accomplished, it may be the best thing that ever happened at your airport. A proactive manager who understands his mission and is willing to build effective, productive partnerships with those who want to help can transform any airport. All it takes is finding the right man or woman and persuading the airport community that it’s time for a change. Every airport, of course, has its own procedures and political paths that determine how and when a manager is replaced. It’s usually best to present a convincing case for change, rather than attack the incumbent’s shortcomings. Building an alliance of disaffected aviation interests and supportive business groups is a good first step, followed by an independent effort to identify some attractive new candidates for the position. A broad review of the airports financial position and prospects can provide further arguments for a change of leadership. Remember that you’re entitled to see all relevant airport documents. After you’ve built your alliance, found some candidates, and created a plan of attack, move quickly to build public support for your campaign. Emphasize how valuable the airport is and how much more it could bring to your community, if only it was well managed. Show how the existing bureaucracy is limiting investment and innovation at the airport. Present a new vision of your airport as an engine of growth for your region. If you are successful and can replace a worn out manager with a new, energetic and visionary leader, your airport can achieve its real potential, giving the businesses and leaders of your home town new opportunities for expansion, innovation, and job development. If that’s the kind of change your airport needs, grab the bull by the horns and go for it, before it’s too late. 8 Aviation Business Journal | 3rd Quarter 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Aviation Business Journal Third Quarter 2011

Aviation Business Journal Third Quarter 2011

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