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Paying-it-Forward at NBAA’s Schedulers & Dispatchers 2019

The National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference (SDC) took place from January 29 to February 1 in San Antonio, Texas, and for the second year running, the event organised a Pay-It-Forward educational initiative.

SDC Paying-It-Forward includes both a charitable element as well as the educational initiative—designed to give back to the local community. The educational charity initiative works with the local school district, for a half-day event with students from MacArthur High School in San Antonio.

Larry Johnson—regional aircraft sales manager with Texas Piper—a speaker for the event, told students that he didn’t let his humble beginnings stop him from becoming a pilot. He said: “I challenge you guys to list all of the careers that you see in that airplane. Look at it and see what you come up with, you might be surprised. Don’t just take what’s on the surface.”

Mr Johnson urged the students to explore the full range of career opportunities that aviation offers, including jobs not only for pilots but also electronics technicians, interior aircraft designers and much more.

Jason Sandoval, a teacher at school who helped organise the event, said: “It was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up. They’re asking a lot of questions, which is good. They are engaged. They are paying attention. This will open their eyes and ears to learn more.”

The educational component, created by the SDC Advisory Council, included bringing a group of 22 students to San Antonio International Airport to talk with various tenants about the numerous career opportunities within business aviation.

Amber Finchum , council member, said: “It’s our way to give back, There are so many different jobs and careers that exist within our industry that kids don’t even know about. They hear ‘aviation’ and they automatically assume pilots, but an aircraft doesn’t take off without the other jobs and responsibilities behind it, and this is a way to expose these students to the opportunities that exist.”

The charity event was hosted by Million Air FBO and included personnel from Hallmark University, Merlin, Flight Safety, Cutter Aviation/Texas Piper, Women in Aviation International and Air Culinaire.

Business attire and accessories were also gathered throughout the week to donate to local organizations, with thousands of items collected to help the San Antonio community.

Photo credit: NBAA – students and teachers from MacArthur High School, San Antonio.