A group of 19 students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University attended the Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition hosted by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) that took place in Orlando, Fla. from Oct. 21-23. Pilots, engineers, business and security students of the Aviation Business Networking Club (ABNC) walked the floor of the convention, which featured over 1,000 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and services in the industry.
In addition to the networking opportunities on the exhibition floor, a plethora of different workshops and educational sessions were offered. At the opening session on Tuesday, Christopher Hart, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), held a speech about automation and pilot professionalism. Additionally, a number of National Aviation Hall of Fame enshrinees were present at the convention including Col. Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson, Arnold Palmer, Clay Lacy, Russell W. Meyer, Jr., Sean Tucker, and Robert A. “Bob” Hoover, who just recently visited ERAU for the showing of “The Bob Hoover Project: Flying the Feathered Edge” at Octoberwest 2014.
Accompanying the 19 students were business faculty Dr. Robin Sobotta and Dr. Cindy Greenman, and Judy Segner, Career Advisor for the College of Arts and Sciences. Alongside the students they benefitted from sessions such as “Creating Business Aviation’s Next Generation Workforce” and “Educating, Implementing, and Maintaining Internship Programs.”
Dr. Cindy Greenman, Assistant Professor of Accounting and Advisor for ABNC explained, “I think the most beneficial seminar was the one focusing on educating and implementing aviation internship programs. The entire seminar centered on educating businesses on how to create and maintain internship programs within their companies to deal with what they called ‘a talent shortage.’ Our fearless leader, Dr. Sobotta, proceeded to stand up in the middle of the seminar and inform the entire audience that Embry-Riddle had several representatives there and would be more than happy to meet with them afterward to assist them in creating internship programs.
Significantly more embracing of the student population attending the convention, the NBAA dedicated the last day of the convention to students by hosting two sessions including the “Careers in Business Aviation Day General Session” and the “NBAA/UAA Career Seminar for College Students.” The latter of the two consisted of round tables mixed with students and industry professionals, engaging in open discussion. This is where ABNC got the idea for the semi-annual Round-Table Event hosted at ERAU.
Furthermore, NBAA kicked off a new initiative called the SOAR networking event intended for young professionals to meet and greet with rising business aviation professionals and current industry leaders. It was hosted by NBAA’s Young Professionals in Business Aviation, which is a group dedicated to building relationships between emerging leaders across the industry.
Overall it was an extremely successful conference and learning experience for many. Dr. Greenman and the ABNC officers can proudly say that about 12 out of 19 students walked away with internship and job opportunities, while the others were already employed and not seeking opportunities.