General aviation as an asset

There were six of us sitting around the table. The local economic development council had just announced the hiring of a new executive director, and the new guy was making the rounds to meet and greet as many people as he could before his official start date rolled around. So the city manager, two directors, a city commissioner, and an economic development council member sat down to talk business at city hall.

The new guy is competent, assertive, accomplished, energetic, and has a head crammed full of ideas to make our economy more diverse, more robust, and just plain more, frankly. [Read more…]

The problem with the press

Periodically I give readers a peek into the political world I inhabit. The intent is to provide some context for the battle ahead of you if you try to buck the tide in even the slightest way. Bringing radical new ideas to the table, like making the most of your local general aviation airport by touting its benefits to the community, will undoubtedly cause you to run afoul of co-workers, friends, family, and even the press from time to time.

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Making the airport work for all of us

Like a lot of cities and towns in America, my city has a program in place that is designed to help business professionals segue into becoming civic leaders. The program is called, fittingly enough, Leadership Winter Haven, and it is operated through the local Chamber of Commerce. It is a formalized, seven-month long program that allows each leadership class to get up close and personal with aspects of the city and its economy that they might not normally be exposed to. Periodically they take a day-long excursion to see and interact with such varied economic facets of our area as tourism, technology, city and county government, education, light industry, media, and agriculture. Last week they visited Gilbert Field, our airport.

I was scheduled to make a brief presentation to the group, but since life has a way of throwing curve balls at us, I found myself stuck between two tasks. I had the option of being late to my own presentation while I delivered my daughter to school after an orthodontist appointment, or my daughter could be even later to school than we’d planned, which would be inconvenient for her, but it would allow me to be on time to speak to the class.

Guess who got the short end of that stick?

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