QAT's Experience at 2018 ACPC
Updated: Jul 16, 2019
The 21st of August saw the close of the 2018 Air Carriers Purchasing Conference (ACPC) in Orlando, Florida, and the return of Chris and Brandon, our VP’s of Production and Sales & Development, to QAT. They had great things to say about the conference, including that it was well organized and well done overall. They also mentioned that it had excellent food.
The ACPC’s focus is providing a place for buyers and sellers of aviation-related goods and services to network in a fair and level playing field. The conference has been held annually in locations all over the United States since 1974 and promotes itself as the most productive aviation conference worldwide.
The general vibe of the conference was casual and relaxed. Chris and Brandon were able to fall right in with the flow of things. Attendees often gathered in groups of varying size, and being a small group of their own made it easy to mingle.
The ACPC is focused on networking and offered multiple ways for suppliers and buyers to connect and discuss business, from the meet-and-greets and round table sessions, to the Aviation Networking Forum (ANF) and more. Each opportunity had its own strengths and weaknesses.
The meet-and-greet sessions were scheduled throughout the event and allowed an opportunity for buyers and suppliers to connect in a more relaxed environment than at other times during the conference.
Suppliers could sign-up for round table sessions, which were ten-minute meetings between suppliers and airline representatives. Nearly 90% of all business was conducted during these sessions.
The ANF was a one-day event and lasted a total of five hours. The first two and a half hours allowed suppliers with booth space to showcase themselves to airline representatives; the remaining two and a half hours opened to the remaining suppliers.
The four-day conference included professional development sessions and speeches. Two of Chris and Brandon’s favorite speakers were Bill Agee, a negotiation and purchasing consultant, and Scott Zimmer of BridgeWorks. Agee’s sessions were informative, easy to listen to and absorb, but one of the speeches they found most interesting was Scott Zimmer’s “When Generations Connect.”
Zimmer’s talk was about generational gaps and closing them, particularly when it comes to communication preferences. Examples in Zimmer’s presentation included an affinity for the use of text and phone calls in younger generations, while previous generations tend to use emails, often ones that are more formal in construction and tone.
Another of Brandon’s favorite parts of the conference was the ANF. He felt it provided one of the best opportunities, not only to speak with airline representatives, but with other suppliers as well.
Fortuitously Beneficial Time
Aside from the round table sessions, Chris and Brandon found that the most beneficial time was an evening they spent smoking cigars with other attendees. This was a quieter more relaxed setting and with fewer people.
There are many separate occasions to speak with hundreds of attendees with unexpected opportunities for meeting the right people. Chris said that he considers the ACPC a stepping stone to future business and that it was the perfect meeting place and venue to make contacts.
Chris and Brandon returned from the conference with a general sense of success. They learned a lot, came back with good contacts, and enjoyed themselves in the process, thus accomplishing QAT’s goals of attending the ACPC. With all that we learned, QAT looks forward to attending the 2019 ACPC in Washington, D.C. and will be planning to get a booth for the ANF next year!