The 2016 Business Diversity Forum presented by Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Business Diversity Development soared to new heights with 400 attendees on April 1. New enhancements included a dynamic keynote speaker, 22 roundtable discussions, and the presentation of individual Diversity Champion awards. The event showcased business development at Lambert Airport and provided opportunities for minority, disadvantaged, and women-owned businesses to connect with prime contractors and airport decision makers.
“Diverse Opportunities to Create New Successes” was the Forum theme. “All of you here today inspire us to work very hard to create new partnerships in the business community,” said Amber Gooding, Assistant Director of Business Diversity Development and Community Programs, in opening remarks to launch the Forum.
Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge announced, “The Airport just completed its best year of passenger service in the past seven years.”
Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge welcomed attendees and outlined the positive strides the airport has made towards achieving the major objectives of its strategic plan: financial stability; growing passenger air service; improving the customer experience, and economic development. She noted that with the addition of eight new markets and expanded service in several existing markets, the airport just completed its best year of passenger service in the past seven years. In the area of economic development Hamm-Niebruegge said, “People are now coming to us about development projects, both aeronautical and non-aeronautical.”
Keynote speaker Ravi Norman, CEO of THOR Construction, Inc., one of the largest minority-owned companies in the United States, lived up to his reputation as a dynamic motivational speaker with a rousing talk on his SIT-EAT-GROW model for business success. He said that individuals must begin with personal foundational pillars grounded in faith. The crux of his SIT-EAT-GROW model is that you must have access to opportunity; you must be seated at the table in order to eat, which can, in turn, lead to growth.