It has been said that a camel is a horse designed by committee. That suggestion disparages neither the horse nor the camel, but it is not particularly kind to the abilities of the committee — and with good reason.
Success is an elusive goal. In order to be truly successful you have to first define what success is. It’s only with that definition in hand that you can establish a plan to achieve the goal. Jumping to Step 3 without first taking Step 1, and Step 2, is a sure path to failure. Unfortunately, failure on those terms has been an unwritten policy for many municipalities when it comes to operating an airport.
Unlike a pickup truck, a book, or a chocolate milkshake, all of which are tangible, easily identifiable items, success is subjective. Each of us has a slightly different definition of what success is, and understandably, we all have a somewhat different idea about how we might reach our goals. In order for us to move forward it is imperative that we have an open, honest discussion and make some significant decisions, however.
The first step is to define the playing field. Here in Winter Haven, Florida we’ve embraced that reality in an organized and deliberate fashion – finally. After literally decades of running our airport as an after-thought, the city commission has begun asking difficult questions about the way this publicly owned facility is being run, and is making demands that affect our methods in the future.
It started simply enough. Two candidates for the city commission (myself included) ran on a platform that included the airport as an integral part of the city’s financial responsibility. My contention was that safety and customer satisfaction should be Job Number 1, and Job Number 1A, respectively. Anything less was insufficient. I was a strong proponent of the idea that the status quo had to change if we were going to turn this under-performing jewel of an airport into a facility that lives up to its potential. [Read more…]