According to ATL Facilities Management Administration Director John Means, earning the distinction of Accredited Airport Executive (AAE) was a major milestone in his career. He recently passed the AAE exam of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE).
“I pursued this because eight years ago when I came to the airport, Means explained.
“I was ‘green as grass’ as far as how airports are run, how they are regulated, and why the regulations were so important to creating or retaining a safe, efficient and governmentally compliant airport.”
AAE certification is the highest leadership accreditation that AAAE offers and often includes a multiyear process. The airport professional must first pass a written Certified Member (CM) exam that covers airport management and technical fundamentals. After additional experience is obtained, Certified Members can apply to take the AAE test, which entails an interview by a board of AAAE members using a structured list of 180 questions that test a person’s knowledge of airports on a wide range of subject matter, including finance, operations, safety, security and marketing.
“The one-week course was excellent,” Means shared. “I’d describe it as drinking from a fire hose for a week, but a wonderful download of airport fundamentals.”
AAAE was established in 1928 to act as clearinghouse to assist industry professionals in learning the technical and business aspects of airports. It has evolved to providing airport managers assistance in many other aspects of running airports, ranging from providing representation with Congress, to offering consultations on technical matters, and providing guidance and updates on legislative issues that concern airport leadership.
To better prepare for certification, Means interviewed employees from finance, security, aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF), emergency command, operations and safety. He even observed recent FAA-139 inspections to gain increased knowledge.
“I encourage everyone that loves this business and enjoys a real challenge to consider pursuing the certification,” Means said.