by Katherine B. Preston
Now that I have been a member of the HMMH team for about a month and have everything figured out (if only), I decided it was time to write my first blog post. First, let me say that I am very excited to be a part of this wonderful firm! Having worked closely with Mary Ellen and Gene for years while at ACI-NA, I was not surprised to learn that the rest of my new colleagues at HMMH are equally as intelligent, passionate, welcoming and well-respected in their fields. Most importantly they are a patient bunch, having gracefully fielded my many questions about time sheets, expense reports, project numbers, and where to find things located on the network. Thankfully, I think I am starting to get the hang of it.
The past month has been quite the whirlwind, and included visits to the home office in Burlington and several airport clients, the Florida Airport Council’s State Summit, my first industry conference as a non-association staff, and a visit up to my old D.C. stomping grounds to attend FAA’s Environment and Energy REDAC meeting! One of the most interesting experiences was attending the ACC/AAAE Airport Planning, Design & Construction Symposium in New Orleans, LA last month. The conference brought together consultants and airport staff from a wide variety of disciplines, and I learned a lot about airport planning, how to write a great proposal, and the client interview pitfalls to avoid. It was also great to catch up with old friends and colleagues and meet new ones. I was proud to hand out my new HMMH business cards, and fortunately I brought plenty, because there were over 1000 people at the event! I will also admit, it was really also nice to simply be an attendee at the conference so I could sit and listen to the panelists, rather than being responsible for planning the sessions.
Now that the dust of my first few weeks is (partially) settled, I am really looking forward to working with HMMH’s current clients, and helping to grow our practice. For the past several years, I’ve been particularly interested in the exciting sustainability initiatives taking place across our industry, and only see this trend continuing. Despite the current political climate and the rhetoric from Washington D.C. about rolling back ‘burdensome’ environmental regulations, I see an opportunity for us as an industry to demonstrate just how beneficial sustainability can be in terms of creating operational efficiencies, conserving resources, streamlining processes, positively engaging stakeholders, and of course saving money. While some benefits are more easily quantifiable than others, I have never heard an airport say they regret incorporating sustainability into their organization. I look forward to working with airports to help them maximize these benefits, whether by developing a comprehensive sustainability program or undertaking individual initiatives like a renewable energy project or greenhouse gas inventory.
The next few months will continue to be a learning experience for me personally as I transition from the association world to aviation consulting, and for the industry as a whole as we navigate a changing political and regulatory landscape. But I am fortunate to be learning from and working with the best here at HMMH!