by Mary Ellen Eagan
I had the pleasure of attending the 2010 ACC/AAAE Planning Design and Construction Symposium this week in Atlanta (where the weather was more like Siberia, but that was probably a good way to keep us attending sessions!).
A couple of general themes that emerged were:
- The aviation industry has done an incredible job of spending the $1.1b allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, strongly demonstrating that: (1) our industry can work collaboratively and efficiently to deliver projects, and (2) there is a strong need for continued infrastructure investment in aviation. Specifically, John Duvall of AAAE reported that all the funding was allocated as of January 2010; a total of 326 ARRA projects were approved, and already 185 have been completed. Certainly jobs were created in this industry! There is discussion that aviation may receive an additional $500m in funding through the current Jobs Bill being debated in Congress.
- Nevertheless, according to Ben DeCosta of Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport (the world’s busiest), the number one issue facing airports today is a lack of revenue that flows throughout the industry. Accordingly, the industry must continue to “design to budget”. Susan Baer of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey echoed that while the industry has never been “wasteful”, it is more important than ever to prioritize cost in design – her example was the new JetBlue Terminal at JFK (here and here), where significant emphasis was paid to cost, and still a gorgeous result.
I spent most of my time at the Symposium attending the Sustainability Track. Suzanne Geckle of CH2M HILL did a great job organizing a diverse and information-packed agenda, even though she just returned from maternity leave this week (that’s my kind of gal!). Sessions included:
- Can Airports Meet LEED Goals?
- Funding Green Initiatives
- Lasting Passenger Friendly Sustainable Materials
- Sustainable Airfields
- IT Controls to Reduce Costs and Emissions
I particularly enjoyed presentations by Mike Kenney of KB Environmental Sciences on IT and Air Quality Modeling, and Ripley Rasmus of HOK on sustainable design for Indianapolis International Airport’s new LEED Terminal.
Finally, my personal highlight of the conference was the announcement of the 2010 Jay Hollingsworth Speas Award to Rick Busch at Denver International Airport. DIA has been an HMMH client since its inception, and we are very proud to see Rick and his team get the recognition they deserve for a comprehensive, innovative, and effective noise management program.