Houston Hosts AMAC Conference
July 12, 2017

Houston Airports recently hosted the Airport Minority Advisory Council’s (AMAC) 2017 Annual Airport Business Diversity Conference titled, “The Magic of Flight” at the Marriott Marquis located in downtown Houston.

“The four-day conference is AMAC’s flagship event – serving as a hub for education, advocacy and networking opportunities that promote diversity and inclusion in airports,” stated Rhonda Arnold, Houston Airports Community Relations Officer and AMAC’s Southwest Regional Director and local conference chair. “As host, the Houston Airport System is a model for reaching that standard, and a concentrated focus on business diversity makes both Houston and its airports a prime example of why doing so is valuable and important.”

Nearly 1,000 conference attendees comprising business and aviation professionals and government officials from around the country were in Houston to discuss a variety of subjects ranging from how to do business at airports to public policy issues impacting the entire aviation industry.

This highly- acclaimed conference provides a balanced program that addresses the diverse needs and the variety of interest levels of the conference audience, presented by knowledgeable speakers of the highest quality who share AMAC’s goal of promoting diversity inclusion in airport contracting and employment.  Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee and Aviation Director Mario Diaz were on-hand to welcome the guests to Houston. 

A highlight of the conference paid tribute to the award-winning book and blockbuster movie Hidden Figures. The 2016 film was based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly about previously unknown African American female mathematicians or “human computers” who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Space Race. Dr. Christine Darden and the families of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson were in attendnace to be honored.

The City of Houston’s Director of the Office of Business Opportunity Carlecia Wright and Jason McLemore, Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Business Opportunity for Houston Airports were featured speakers to showcase Houston’s success with supplier diversity.

The City of Houston’s Supplier Diversity Program has led to more than 25,000 contracts totaling over $2 billion dollars being awarded to diverse businesses. Houston’s Supplier Diversity Program has become a model for cities around the country.

In addition, the Houston Airports Office of Business Opportunity has set and exceeded its goal of 29 percent minority and disadvantaged business participation in construction and concessions contracts.  “We have done this through outreach, one-on-one coaching sessions and countless networking opportunities,” said McLemore. “Businesses are only as disadvantaged as their access, and we want to make sure that in Houston our doors are open wide.”

For more information on AMAC, please visit http://amac-org.com/.