viation schedulers and dispatchers as anything less than professionals, the recent NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference would have been a reality check.
The five-day event drew a record 2,618 attendees and 391 exhibitors, but what is most important is what outgoing Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee chair Jenny Showalter calls “a constantly rising level of professionalism.”
NBAA devoted the two days before the event’s opening to more clearly defining the role of the scheduler and dispatcher and creating benchmark standards. Both days were devoted to the Schedulers Professional Development Program (SPDP) series, covering subjects from international scheduling and resource management to weather and aircraft performance and flight department security.
The program was launched in 2001 as a vehicle to enhance the skills of participants and validate the role of schedulers and dispatchers in terms of professional standing. According to NBAA director of operations and educational development Jo Damato, the program continues to build momentum, with more than 40 individuals having completed at least six or more course objectives.
A total of 200 people attended the two-day SPDP program; 34 of them were enrolled in the more extensive resource management course. A highlight of the program was the recognition of nine people who recently completed six or more SPDP course objectives and five who completed 11 or more objectives.
The Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee’s goal of encouraging professional development took another step forward at the show with video recordings of 10 breakout sessions. According to Damato, the Powerpoint presentations at each session will be synchronized with the video and then made available for purchase, from $25 for individual sessions to $225 for the entire package. The virtual sessions will be available through NBAA starting March 15 in the form of video streaming or on CD. More details are available on the NBAA Web site, www.nbaa.org.
“We felt this was an excellent way to make a three-day conference last all year,” said Damato. “It allows those who couldn’t come to Savannah to be ‘virtual attendees,’ and those who were there to access to any session they missed.”