RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Transportation Division of Aviation staff recently attended the 42nd Annual North Carolina Airports Association (NCAA) Conference in Winston-Salem.
The purpose of this annual event is to assist North Carolina airports in cultivating and selecting ideas to aid in their success.
This year's conference took place at the Benton Convention Center from April 20-22 and featured multiple presentations from distinguished guests and exhibitors representing various organizations from across the state. Multiple scholarships for college students and awards and acknowledgements for professionals in attendance were also presented throughout the event.
“This is the first time the [NCAA] has been held in Winston-Salem, so we are very excited to have everybody and host everybody," said Mark Davidson, NCAA president and director of Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem. “From what I am hearing from [the attendees], this was a great event with high participation and more exhibitors than we have ever had."
Speakers included NCDOT Division of Aviation Director Bobby Walston, Division of Aviation Airport Business Development Manager Amanda Conner, international speaker and business leader Manley Feinberg, AeroX President Basil Yap and Fayetteville Regional Airport Director Toney Coleman among others. Presentation topics included utilizing drones for traffic management, innovative ways to counter human and drug traffickers and proper airport governance.
“It's great to be with everybody, see everybody again and that's the big part of it—seeing everyone, catching up with everyone and learning from everyone," said Walston during his speech for a general session on state and federal support for North Carolina airports innovation. “Thinking about all the ways we've leaned on and been thinking about innovation and learning from a lot of these exhibitors has been awesome, and to see what's around the corner and how things are improving along the way."
Davidson, Walston and others emphasized their excitement for this year's conference hosting over 400 attendees. While the NCAA Conference is typically hosted in the spring, the 2021 conference was postponed until October due to the pandemic and fewer people were able to join in person.
Davidson said next year's conference will be in Pinehurst and said he encourages people to attend for the great opportunities to network and obtain other insights into the aviation industry.
The NCAA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen North Carolina airports through legislative advocacy, professional growth and promoting the positive impacts of airports.