At the kickoff reception for the Aeronautical Repair Station Association’s (ARSA) 2016 Strategic Leadership Conference, the U.S. ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) highlighted an important truth by noting the world’s ignorance of his existence.
Michael Lawson, two years into his Montreal service, broke the ice by describing a reference to his position on the American television series “Designated Survivor”: A newly fired U.S. cabinet member gets offered the ambassadorship to ICAO and asks in an angry daze, “Is that even a thing?”
The backhanded mention on American television was entertaining to the ambassador and should be instructive to us: For most of the world, the machinery of global aviation is a mystery. Safe arrivals and reliable deliveries are mostly a given, so no thought need be invested in how it all happens. Passengers instead focus on frustrations with (the absence of) food, reclining seats and tarmac delays.
This is what makes the work of ICAO’s Triennial Assembly and ARSA’s Strategic Leadership Conference, both of which wrapped up in Montreal last month, so important. International representatives came together in service to the aviation industry and the flying public, whether they knew it or not. While the assembly finalized a long-negotiated (and nearly scuttled) climate deal, maintenance-industry executives at the event discussed regulatory compliance strategies, shared methods for finding and retaining skilled workers and explored how to mitigate global political risk.
The kind of leadership engagement displayed at these events is vital to the health of the aviation community. See what happened in Montreal, from Lawson’s introduction to a full day of substantive, roundtable discussions including announcements of new European engagement and an international leadership change, at arsa.org/slc-2016
Brett Levanto, vice president of operations at Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, provides strategic and logistical support for the Aeronautical Repair Station Association and Associated Equipment Distributors. The views expressed are not necessarily shared by Inside MRO.