During a crisp fall evening on November 17, 2017 the (Kennedy Airport Airlines Management Council (KAAMCO) held its 60th annual black-tie dinner dance at the Bourne Mansion on Long Island.
Over 320 Kaamco colleagues, friends and guests gathered for a wonderful evening of collegial friendship, exceptional food, wine and dancing in small cottage built by Fredrick Bourne in 1897, known as Bourne Mansion situated on the Connetquot River on Long Island. The Bourne Mansion was once the home of the heir to the Singer Sewing Machine company, and played host to U.S. Presidents and foreign dignitaries.
The decor of the evening was resplendent with association women dressed in bright traditional Indian garb, with platters of rose pedals that were showered on each guest, making everyone feel very special and the evening very colorful.
Some of our readers may recall that KAAMCO was created in 1953 when it was known as IAMCO (“Idlewild Airport Management Council”) and its name changed to KAAMCO in 1964 when the name of the airport changed to John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The KAAMCO annual dinner dances started in 1957 and were held in prestigious venues such as The Plaza, the United Nations delegate Dining Room, Sir Richard Branson’s Penthouse in London, and the beautiful Mandarin Hotel in New York City.
This year, KAAMCO celebrated its 60th anniversary and dinner dance at the Bourne Mansion which featured Wendy Kahn, a renowned Bollywood TV and Radio Personality who was Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
Wendy was accompanied by the Steve Delisi band who entertained the guests with great music. Wendy introduced Ajay Dhawan, President of KAAMCO and the KAAMCO Board of Directors. Ajay welcomed and thanked KAAMCO attendees and guests and gave special recognition to Mike Moran, Port Authority’s General Manager; John Selden; Port Authority’s Deputy General Manager; John Bambury, TSA’s Federal Security Director and Frank Russo, CBP Port Director.
He acknowledged the terminal operators who were present and also gave special acknowledgement to Stephanie Baldwin, recently appointed Vice President – Airport Operations for Delta Air Lines at JFK and a strong supporter of KAAMCO. However, the highlight of Ajay’s welcoming remarks were reserved for Dave Siewert, JFK Air Traffic Control tower chief who was honored as KAAMCO’s 2017 “Man of the Year” for his many years of service and partnership with the KAAMCO airport community.
Ajay remarked that KAAMCO is an amazing organization that we all proudly belong. It has a long and rich history of dedicated airline professionals who have served on its Board, and on Committees and as Executive Advisors, all serving without compensation – and all for the purpose of making this a better airport for our airlines and for our passengers. Ajay gave special recognition and awards to KAAMCO’s Board of Directors: Judy Blainey , Vice President; Jim Groark, Chairman Interline Baggage Committee; Ana Lemos, Treasurer; Roger Scott, Secretary; Ajay Patel, Chairman Security Committee; Jim Bliku, Chairman Grounds Operations Committee; Rodger Becker Co-Chairman Grounds Operations Committee
And Executive Advisors: Alex Battaglia, JetBlue; Pieter Nel, Etihad; Rodger Recker, Envoy; Andrew Halley, Aer Lingus; Don Wright, ANA; Estuardo Alfaro, Qatar.
Ajay also asked Joe Clabby, Owner and President of Corporate Loss Prevention and Mike Moran, General Manager for JFK Airport to please come forward as he read a statement form KAAMCO regarding the new September 11 memorial being created on-airport:
“The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 – 16 years ago – changed our world forever more, especially for those families and friends of the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives that day. As a community of airlines, the Port Authority, law enforcement first responders, firefighters and other emergency personnel we were hit particularly hard, and every year on that fateful day we take pause from our daily routines to remember lives lost and also thanking the hero’s among us.
Joe Clabby, on behalf of the JFK Chamber of Commerce and Mike Moran, on behalf of the Port Authority have taken the initiative to create a permanent 9/11 memorial here at JFK. This memorial will be located in a park-like area that is being donated by the Port Authority. This new memorial will provide our employees with a place for reflection and prayer. The creation of this important memorial requires volunteers, hard work, and yes – financial contributions. I urge you to reach out to Joe and Board members of the Chamber of Commerce to offer your services and contributions. This is our September 11 memorial and it belongs to each of us – let’s make this a reality,” he continued by saying “On behalf of KAAMCO, I am pleased to present a check as a contribution to the future 9/11 memorial at JFK.”
When recounting KAAMCO’s successes with its monthly speakers in 2017, Ajay added,
“KAAMCO, with the support of our government agencies and business partners accomplished much this past year. KAAMCO implemented a new airport-wide Interline baggage contract that is meeting unprecedented baggage delivery success. We have had the benefit of hearing from airline industry guest speakers such as: The U.S. DOT; IATA; NTSB; FAA Air Traffic; Bay Crane; and Paul Demkovich, CEO for AvAirPro’s discussing successful airline consortiums nationwide.
More importantly, we have also established excellent working partnerships with each of the visiting speakers which are invaluable in terms of addressing long-term challenges in our airline operations.
I encourage every airline manager and his or her staff, every business partner who relies on the airlines for business and all of our very important government agencies to continue to follow the successful path that KAAMCO created 64 years ago and make JFK airport the best it has ever been.”
As is long standing tradition, during the annual KAAMCO dinner dance the “mantle of the President” passes from the current President to the next President. Therefore, Ajay thanked the JKF airline community for the opportunity to serve as its President for the second time, and he introduced Judy Blainey, Regional Manager for Cargolux as the 2018 President for KAAMCO. Judy served the JFK airline community on the board of KAAMCO for many years and most recently served as its Vice President. During her first remarks as President, Judy thanked Ajay for his invaluable service to the airline community and she pledged to continue working hard to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of KAAMCO.