Advancing opportunities for diverse businesses is a hallmark of The Institute’s mission and focus. To this end, Institute President & CEO Farad Ali is actively engaged in the aviation industry with efforts to increase business opportunities for disadvantaged business enterprises both in North Carolina and across the United States. Ali’s work as a board member for the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority and the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) makes him a frequently-sought thought leader for inclusion in the aviation industry. Ali also heads AMAC’s Legislative Committee.
On Sunday June 14, 2015, Ali led an industry-focused strategic discussion for aviation professionals and business owners during the Airport Minority Advisory Council’s annual Business Diversity Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The conversation focused on major issues facing diverse firms in competing for business in the aviation industry. Members of the panel included Gloria Shealey, National President of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC); Mammie Mallory, Federal Aviation Administrator Assistant Administrator for Civil Rights; and Susan Wendt, President of Wendt Productions, a Florida-based DBE firm.
Two major policy issues discussed at the session included the current U.S. Congress reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration funding that is set to expire later in 2015, and a key sticking point in the legislation to increase Passenger Facilities Charges (PFCs) on airline ticket purchases. Related to PFCs, the panel discussed the need to ensure that projects funded by PFC receipts contain provisions that require diverse business inclusion.
Farad Ali leads a discussion with NAMC president Gloria Shealey during AMAC’s conference.
Earlier this year, Ali also led a group of AMAC members to meetings with legislators on Capitol Hill at AMAC’s annual Industry Day program in Washington, DC. Among others, these efforts have helped to educate legislators about the needs of diverse businesses and worked to make sure issues stay in the forefront throughout the legislative process.
Ali said, “We need to stay actively engaged in this legislation to make sure diverse firms don’t miss out on aviation opportunities funded by PFCs. We are making great strides towards inclusion in the aviation industry and we don’t want to take a step back in the new FAA Reauthorization Process.”
Ali urged AMAC members and supporters to stay active on this and other legislation that has an impact on opportunities for diverse firms to access contracting opportunities. NAMC President Gloria Shealey echoed Ali’s statement by adding, “We must stay engaged because the adage is true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease; so we need to make sure our legislators know our needs, issues and concerns.”