Aviation professionals, supporters, exhibitors and enthusiasts converged at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Marcos, TX, on April 15-17 for the 33rd Texas Aviation Conference. This year’s conference, which was sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Aviation Division, set an all-time attendance record with 566 registered guests.
“Many people may not realize how vital general aviation is to the economic stability of many cities and communities throughout Texas,” said Texas A&M Transportation Institute Research Scientist and co-conference organizer Jeff Borowiec. “It is a major economic driver and this conference is a great way for airport managers to meet face-to-face with TxDOT to discuss future needs.”
The three-day conference featured speakers from TxDOT’s Aviation Division, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Association of State Aviation Officials among others.
The featured morning speaker was Dirk Laukien, President and Founder of Black Forest Ventures/Galaxy FBO. During his address, Laukien spoke of his aviation background and passion for providing the best customer service experience for his clients. Galaxy FBO opened in 2014 and is located at Lone Star Executive Airport (KCXO) in Conroe.
At the award ceremony, Aviation Director Dave Fulton presented the Texas Aviator of the Year award to Jim Schwertner, President and CEO of Schwertner Farms Inc., former member of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and former Chairman of the Texas Aviation Advisory Committee.
“This is truly one of the biggest honors I’ve had in my life,” said Schwertner, who had no idea he was receiving the award. “People like yourselves who are involved with aviation are very passionate about it, and I’m no different. Every time I go up in the sky, it’s an amazing experience.”
“As I travel around the state, things just keep getting better and better and I think everyone in the room should take a lot of pride in what we’ve accomplished in the last 20 or so years,” said Fulton.