2024 UAA Aviation Policy Seminar

The 2024 edition of the Aviation Policy Seminar took place in Washington, D.C. from January 3rd to 5th. Bringing together over 50 professionals, the seminar provided an opportunity to network, explore potential aviation careers, and delve into the policy-making process. 

Kicking off the seminar was the keynote panel on aviation law with Lauren Haertlein, Joby Aviation and Kathy Yodice, Yodice Associates who provided insights on their careers and emphasized the importance of networking and being flexible with a willingness to pivot. Following the keynote panel, Harley Waters from Middle Tennessee State University presented how universities can work and be heard by the government on the importance of wellness and mental health. The final panel brought together Stephanie Groeschell, PSA Airlines, Tyler Tenbrink, Piedmont Airlines, and Martin Rottler, Delta moderated by Ryan Leick, Utah Valley University to discuss all things airlines including hiring trends and the need for talented individuals in all areas of aviation.

Wrapping up the first day at the Federal Aviation Administration, Peter Hearding, the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Policy, International Affairs & Environment, welcomed the attendees and provided an overview of the FAA. The STEM AVSED program presented by Chris Sharp provided insights on how to work or intern for the FAA as well as the important message that we are all advocates for the future of aviation. There were four breakout sessions covering the topics of Airline Industry Trends & Strategy, UAS and Advanced Air Mobility, Commercial Space, and Airports Overview. Thank you to presenters Kenneth Janak, Drew Morin, Katharine Gibson, Matthew Klein, Danielle Rinsler, Rich Swayze, Minh Nguyen, and Roger Schaufele.

 Special thank you to Ben Thielen for organizing such a great afternoon. 

The second day provided the attendees the opportunity to acquire first-hand information on how different industry associations drive rules, regulations, and policies as well as how they collaborate. A big thank you to all the hosting associations – Air Line Pilots Association, Airlines for America, Airports Council International – North America, American Association of Airport Executives, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, National Business Aviation Association, and Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics. 

The final day included a trip to the National Transportation Safety Board. The speakers - Erik Strickland, Michael Portman, Stu Couch, and Joe Sedor – showcased the different roles available at NTSB but also their importance to ensure aviation safety and prevent future accidents/incidents. Thank you to Jeffrey Marcus for organizing this session!

Heather Krause from the US Government Accountability Office presented how the GAO supports Congress in improving the accountability, integrity, and reliability of the federal government. The 3-day seminar concluded with a tour of the Capitol. 

Big thank you to sponsors Delta Airlines and Piedmont Airlines. 

The event would not have been possible without the help of all the volunteers and facilitators. Thank you to Orestes Gooden, Ryan Leick, Tyler Tenbrink, Martin Rottler, Mercedes Vinson, and Harley Waters.

Be sure to keep an eye out for next year’s edition. We can’t wait to see you there!