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2024 Innovation Track Highlights

The aviation industry has always been at the forefront of technological advancements. From the Wright brothers' first powered flight to the development of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, innovation has been the driving force behind the airport industry's growth. In today's rapidly evolving world, airports are no longer just gateways for travelers; they have become hubs of innovation, where cutting-edge technologies and ideas are shaping the future of air travel. This year, we are excited to present the Innovation Track at the 2024 ACC/AAAE Airport Planning, Design, and Construction Symposium. Here you will find the industry's most forward-thinking minds converge to discuss, share, and explore the latest innovation technology. 

Sustainable Culture Change for a More Diverse and Inclusive Aviation Industry

To move the aviation industry forward, industry leaders are looking for ways attract and retain a more diverse, younger workforce with a focus on underrepresented groups. For diverse and underrepresented future leaders to see themselves in the industry, we, as current practitioners, need to develop and foster the environment that supports inclusivity. Airports, consulting firms, and contractors have developed some successful strategies and methodologies to create the change we want to see within the culture that will foster a more diverse and inclusive workforce to meet the needs of our changing world.


Bridging the Gap: Transforming Operational Problem Statements into Technology Solutions

This panel will discuss the processes by which stakeholders and organizations decide when and how to implement technology to address an operational inefficiency, problem, or goal. We will also discuss how to take those problems quickly from ideation to implementation as well as how to foster those processes as part of organizational culture.

Opportunities for AI in Aviation – Developing Innovative Solutions for Planning and Design

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the way we live and work, and the aviation industry is no exception. Generative AI is being explored in airport planning and design and how it can play a role in determining requirements, simplifying the documentation process, and anticipating new opportunities for the aviation industry. With that potential also comes concerns around data scarcity, limited implementation, data privacy and security, algorithm predictions, biases, and liability challenges.  Through thought-provoking discussions, we will explore firsthand how AI is being used for planning and design at airports today. We will talk about the newest applications being deployed to help airport planners and designers, the challenges and opportunities of those applications, and what the future will look like with these emerging technologies. This presentation is intended for airport professionals, engineers, and other stakeholders who are interested in learning more about the use of AI in airport processes and construction projects.

Raising your Profile and Expanding your Professional Reach

If you innovated in the airport development space, but nobody hears about it, did it really happen? Speaking opportunities at industry events are an effective way to tell your story and elevate your position in the market with the goal of becoming a subject matter expert. There’s a lot of help out there on public speaking, but there are not great resources for learning how to get selected for a speaking engagement. This panel of seasoned professionals, who have garnered a reputation for regularly speaking about interesting topics at industry meetings will discuss tips and strategies to help prospective public speakers narrow their focus and better compete for speaking roles at industry events attended by airport owners and consultants.


On behalf of ACC and AAAE, and the 2024 Innovation Track, we look forward to seeing you in March!

Laura Canham

Amanda Sheridan

Laura Canham
Innovation Track Host
Project Manager
McFarland Johnson, Inc.

Amanda Sheridan, P.E.
Young Professionals Innovation Track Host
McFarland Johnson, Inc.