January 1, 2016
The New Year always brings on thoughts of reflection for past accomplishments as well as a desire to peer forward into the future. As we reflect on 2015 I would like to extend my personal thanks to Kandace Harvey who will be moving into the role of Immediate Past President in 2016. Thanks to her leadership and hard work, WAMA has been revitalized and energized, with renewed purpose and focus. I look forward to learning as much as I possibly can from her in the coming year so that we can continue moving WAMA forward.
I would also like to thank Jamelle Garcia, who will be leaving the Board this year. Jamelle has been an important contributor to the organization, and has most recently served as the chair of the Airports Committee. Additionally, David Field will be transitioning from his position as Board Secretary to a new role as an Associate Board Member in 2016. Dave has been instrumental in revamping the WAMA website, introducing an electronic membership renewal system and producing the WAMA newsletter for several years. His hard work has helped bring the organization into the 21st century, and I am grateful that he has agreed to stay on the Board in this new role to help with the continued transition.
We celebrated a significant legislative victory in 2015, with the passage of the Aircraft Excise Tax revisions. This measure will dedicate 100% of the collected taxes to the Aeronautics Account, providing a badly needed boost to funding for the State Airport Aid Grant Program. While this is an important victory, the fight to improve funding for statewide airport preservation and capital needs is far from over, and we will be working to identify the right solutions to move forward in coming years.
One of the keys to that effort will be the Washington State Aviation Alliance, a broad umbrella organization that brings together a diverse group of aviation organizations. Although the role of WSAA continues to be defined, it has become clear that it will be an important force in advancing legislative issues at the State level. On January 19th WSAA will host Airport Awareness Day at the State Capitol. I encourage all of you to participate in the event and get involved in the effort to ensure the voices of airports and state aviation are heard by our elected officials.
As we look forward into 2016 I want to extend a warm welcome to incoming Board Vice President Arif Ghouse, Secretary Tim Mensonides, and Member Sarah Young. Each of these individuals has made a commitment to serve the organization and continue the important work of representing your interests as airport management professionals. I would also like to thank continuing Board Members Jennifer Skoglund, John Haakenson, Deb Wallace and Rob Hodgman for their ongoing commitment to the organization. I look forward to working closely with this talented group of individuals to continue WAMA’s legacy of professionalism and advocacy.
Lastly, I would like to remind everyone to save the date for the upcoming Annual Conference to be held May 18-20, 2016 at the beautiful Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, WA. I would also like to offer a big thank you to our Conference Committee members for their work, and to Pearson Field Manager Willy Williamson for serving as the host airport for the event. If there are any specific topics of interest you would like to see covered at the conference, please get in touch with one of the Conference Committee members and share those ideas with them.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your WAMA President in 2016. I look forward to seeing all of you at Airport Awareness Day and the Annual Conference.
I wish all you and yours a very happy New Year!