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1,000+ Aviation Pros in Houston for Diversity & Industry Shortage Talks, Aug. 14-17th

Chicago, IL (August 1, 2018) - More than one thousand aviation and aerospace professionals will gather August 14 - 17, 2018 for the 42nd Annual Convention and Career Exposition at Marriott Marquis Houston, the city's newest downtown addition. The convention, themed Going Above and Beyond: Your Flight Plan for Success in Aerospace and presented annually by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP), will feature notable speakers including Eddie Pate, Director of Inclusion and Diversity for WWOps at Amazon, Chris L. Winton, Vice President, Human Resources at FedEx Services, Annie B. Andrews, Assistant Administrator for Human Resource Management at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Karen R. Monroe, Managing Counsel, HR, Privacy, Records & Information Management at Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP and Dr. Christine Darden, retired aeronautical engineer for NASA, throughout its four-day program.

"Our industry has an unprecedented opportunity to increase diversity and address the global shortages simultaneously," said Vanessa Blacknall-Jamison, board chairwoman and Flight Stands (AFS) Leadership Development Team - Leadership Coach (ACC) and Change Management Advisor (CMA), FAA. "OBAP has crafted an exciting 42nd Annual Convention and Career Exposition to stimulate rich conversations and inspire aerospace professionals to cultivate plans for success," Blacknall-Jamison added.

The convention will commence on Wednesday, August 15th with the Aerospace Professional Development and Hiring Symposium, one of seven professional development sessions, facilitated by OBAP's Aerospace Professional Development team and sponsored by Amazon, being held throughout the convention. Participating companies like JetBlue Airlines and FedEx Express will provide attendees with an industry outlook, airline hiring and selection processes and career guidance. Following the symposium, the Career Exposition will open and provide registered aviation professionals with opportunities to meet recruiters from 52 participating companies including Alaska Airlines, Amazon, American Airlines, Emirates Airline, FedEx Express, JetBlue Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, UPS and Walmart Aviation.

The Founders' and Pioneers' Breakfast, sponsored by JetBlue on Thursday, August 16th, will honor notable aerospace professionals with an induction into the OBAP Hall of Fame on display during the convention and sponsored by American Airlines. This year's honorees include: - Guion Stewart Bluford Jr., Ph.D. - the first African American in space travel - Brigadier General Ernest G. Talbert (ret.) - the first African American General in the over 350-year history of the Delaware National Guard - Captain Albert T. Glenn - FedEx pilot, past OBAP Board Chair and founder of the OBAP Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. Flight Academy - Azellia White - the first African American woman in Texas to earn a pilot's license - Dorothy Johnson Vaughan - the first African American female Supervisor at the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) later known as NASA - Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson - one of the first black mathematicians at NACA, depicted in the book Hidden Figures and film of the same name - Mary W. Jackson - the first African American woman Engineer at NASA - Christine Mann Darden, Ph.D. - the first African American appointed to the Senior Executive Service, the highest rank level at the NASA Langley Research Center

A free Aerospace Youth Day, presented by the U.S. Air Force, also on August 16th will include workshops with Houston's Lone Star Flight Museum and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (drones) for Houston area students between the ages of 12 - 18. Students will also tour the Smithsonian Institution - Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight exhibit, chronicling black air enthusiasts from the 1920s who overcame racial discrimination to realize their dreams of flight. The exhibit will be on-site all four days of the convention for attendees to experience. The Youth Luncheon, sponsored by FedEx Express, will stimulate conversations about perseverance against adversity and invite Houston area youth to participate and interact with aviation professionals.

The Collegiate Series will include ten professional development workshops over the three-day event to provide more than 50 students with the tools, mentoring and training needed to successfully transition from college to career.

The Corporate Luncheon and Strategic Industry Symposium, being held Friday, August 17th and sponsored by UPS, will offer a discussion around why diversity matters in addressing the talent gap. Industry experts for the highly anticipated symposium include: - Annie B. Andrews, Assistant Administrator for Human Resource Management, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) - Dr. Stephanie Ivey, Associate Dean for Research, Herff College of Engineering, University of Memphis - Captain Houston Mills, Director of Airline Safety, UPS Airlines - Karen R. Monroe, Managing Counsel, HR, Privacy, Records & Information Management, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP - Eddie Pate, Director of Inclusion and Diversity, WWOps, Amazon - Chris L. Winton, Vice President, Human Resources, FedEx Services - Tony Dennis, Director of Recruitment and Retention, Graduate College, Western Michigan University (Moderator)

The convention will conclude with the Annual Awards Gala, presented by Diamond sponsor United Airlines. During the ceremony, emceed by Khambrel Marshall of KPRC2, the NBC affiliate for Houston, TX, awards will be presented to esteemed organization members and industry professionals. Recipients of twenty-nine OBAP scholarships, valued at $169,000, from notable partners including American Airlines, FedEx Express and United Airlines will be announced and thirty-five newly promoted captains and retiring aviation professionals will also be recognized during the black-tie affair.

Additional sponsors and presenters of the 42nd Annual Convention and Career Exposition include Air Wisconsin, Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, America's Navy, American Airlines Credit Union, ExpressJet, Houston Airport System, JetSuite, Len and Senegal Selassie, Southwest Airlines, The Dr. L.C. Carter Foundation, Walmart Aviation, Wings Financial Credit Union and XOJET. OBAP is also proud to welcome Bessie Coleman Aerospace Legacy, Inc. (BCAL) and The U.S. Army Black Aviation Association (USABAA) as partners during this year's convention.

The full agenda can be found here:

For promotional photos, press passes and interviews, contact Shalishah Franklin by email at Join the conversation using and searching the hashtag #OBAPCon2018.


About The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP)

Founded in 1976, OBAP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of minorities in all aviation and aerospace careers. The robust, and diverse, organization is on a mission to inspire excellence, Support, Transform, Educate and Mentor members and youth with opportunities in the aerospace industry from cradle to career. For more information visit