Aviation Outlook webinar series shares the latest industry trends

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From the CEO of Airbus Americas to the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, Embry-Riddle’s ongoing webinar series, Aviation Outlook, features aviation leaders and the latest industry trends and insights.

Supported in part by philanthropy, the webinar series launched on May 13, 2020, after the pandemic triggered quarantines and shutdowns around the globe.

“The idea was to showcase key industry leaders sharing their insights on how they are navigating the current pandemic and the future,” said Daniel Friedenzohn, J.D., professor and associate dean of the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus. “The goal was to bring diverse voices from different parts of the industry that can speak to the current environment and future trends.”

The series is presented by the deans of aviation, Alan Stolzer (’95), Ph.D. (Daytona Beach Campus), Tim Holt (’01, ’06), Ph.D. (Prescott Campus) and Ken Witcher (’02), Ph.D. (Worldwide Campus – College of Aeronautics).

Some Aviation Outlook guests are Embry-Riddle alumni, including C. Jeffrey Knittel (’80), the chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas, who spoke at the series premiere.   

Knittel discussed ways Airbus had adapted to the pandemic and provided his thoughts on the state of the industry and its road to recovery.

“The aviation industry is different than almost every other industry I can think of,” Knittel said. “It is going to go through a tough time, but we will get back to that [upward] trajectory.”

Webinar topics have ranged from commercial aviation to commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems, and have included a variety of accomplished and inspiring guests.

During the university’s virtual Homecoming Week, held in October, a special Aviation Outlook hosted four aviation industry leaders (and alumnae) — Crystal Barrois (’04), Dana Donati (’19), Rebecca Lutte, Ph.D. (’91) and Kate Fraser (’18) — who discussed how their roles on the FAA’s Women in Aviation Advisory Board are helping to increase the number of minority groups throughout the industry.

“Your workforce should represent your customer base,” said Lutte, associate professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Aviation Institute. “Diversity enhances the bottom line for organizations.”

Scheduled every two to four weeks, the hour-long webinars are open to all and use an online format that allows for audience participation, regardless of location via Zoom. Speakers share their career paths, insights and ideas, as well as their visions for the future.

The university has often hosted speakers on campus, said Friedenzohn, but the webinars have made it possible to host guest speakers and attendees from all over the world. “This is a really good way for us to connect with our community and experts,” he said.

One of the latest Aviation Outlook speakers was Steve Nordlund (’90), an Embry-Riddle Trustee and vice president of Phantom Works at The Boeing Company. Nordlund, who headlined the webinar on March 16, oversees emerging technologies for Boeing, the largest exporter in the U.S.

“Sometimes in these crises [like the pandemic], we find the silver linings,” Nordlund said. “We find new ways to iterate and new ways to serve others, and I think there will be no exception in this crisis.”

Visit the Aviation Outlook website for more information, including upcoming webinars and recaps on prior guests. Webinar sessions are recorded and can be played back online.