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Business Air News Bulletin
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NBAA wraps on SDC2024
The conference kicked off on the heels of troubling tax proposals for business aviation, and Bolen urged attendees to alert lawmakers to concerns.

This year's Texas-sized NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference featured nearly 3,300 registered attendees from 54 countries and more than 450 exhibiting companies on hand to 'engage and empower' professionals.

"The passion that characterises the scheduling and dispatching profession was front and centre at this year's conference, which brought people together to engage in new ways of thinking, empower each other and come away inspired about the opportunities on the horizon," says NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.

The event featured more than 30 education sessions and a host of Professional Development Program courses covering the industry's most pressing issues, from sustainability to workforce challenges to the latest technologies and trends in view for those in the highly specialised scheduling and dispatching profession.

The conference was co-chaired by Jessi Litz-Rowden from Women in Aviation International and Brian Abrahamson from Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp, who said the show exceeded expectations and galvanised attendees to go back home and share the experience they gained this week.

"Attendees embraced the opportunity to learn from their fellow professionals, including many people who were at the conference for the first time, bringing fresh perspectives to the event," says Litz-Rowden. "They connected with people who can have a huge impact on their personal and professional journeys."

Keynote speaker retired Colonel Merryl Tengesdal, the first and only black woman to fly the US Air Force's U-2 spy plane, opened the event's second day by telling attendees about her quest to achieve her dreams. With a childhood goal of being an astronaut, Tengesdal focused on her individual skill set. On her journey into adulthood, as a naval aviator, combat pilot and later flying the U-2 Lady Dragon, she came to understand the value of preparedness teamwork in achieving successful outcomes in all walks of life.

"Without that team, the mission's not going to get done," she said. "It takes a team to make sure the aircraft gets to the destination; it's because of you. As a scheduler and dispatcher, you guys are the conductors, the maestros."

Although the conference date had been secured for more than a year, Bolen noted that SDC2024 kicked off on what happened to be one of the most important days in a long time, referring to the administration's recent, troubling tax proposals for business aviation, as outlined in its annual federal budget proposal. Bolen urged conference attendees to use a new message available at NBAA's online Grassroots Action Center, which alerts lawmakers to the industry's concern over the administration's proposal. "Congress will ultimately consider any changes the president might offer, and there is strength in numbers, so we need to make our voice heard on this issue right away," he says.

Exhibitors and attendees donated leftover items such as notepads and pens to benefit The Welman Project, which connects schools and nonprofits with the community in ways that ignite creativity, environmental activism and social responsibility. The organisation also serves as a free resource, distributing surplus materials for reuse in the classroom.

The 2025 NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference takes place 11-13 March, 2025 in Portland, Oregon.

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