A message from Jeffrey Price, professor MSU Denver and owner of Leading Edge Strategies, an aviation security and airport management training and consulting firm, shares a special message of hope to the 2020 graduating class of aviation and aerospace science.

To the graduates of the Department of Aviation and Aerospace Science Fall of 2020.

You’re graduating at a difficult time.

After 9/11, hundreds of thousands of aviation jobs were lost,

But they came back.

After the recession of 2008, hundreds of thousands of jobs in aviation we’re lost,

But they came back.

And after this pandemic with hundreds of thousands of jobs in aviation, again, lost.


They will come back.

Preparing for the future, being successful both during and after this pandemic means realizing the world we return to is not the world we left. That world no longer exists.

I am frequently asked why I include history in my books and training classes – the keys to our success are discovered by unlocking the past.

Take a look at the game changers in our industry. From the advent of the jet engine aircraft in the 50s, through the Deregulation Act in ’78, through 9/11 and the 2008 recession.

This pandemic is another major game-changer. Despite the sad loss of millions of aviation and aviation-dependent jobs, this also allows the aviation industry to do a lot of restructuring.

And speaking of waves, when I did a series of blog posts a few years back where I read 50 books in 50 weeks, blogging about each book each week, one of the best ones I read was Force of Nature, by surfer Laird Hamilton. I’m not going to leave you with pithy clichés about not being able to control the ocean but learn to swim (or whatever it’s various iterations are).

What I learned from Hamilton is more than a cliche. Hamilton became one of the world’s top surfers because of years of experience, learning to see how the ocean changes with the tides, the weather, the cycles of the moon, and numerous other variables.

Those of you in the aviation industry, you need to do the same thing. If you are out of the industry, take any job to get you back in. It’s always easier to look for a job when you’re within the industry than when you’re standing outside.

Join the trade association most closely associated with your industry. Get involved in the committees and projects. Stay tuned to the information they provide and what their members see in the real world. Subscribe to their newsletters, and other news feeds related to your chosen part of our industry.

Develop your own intel by getting out there and talking to people. No matter how much information you collect, there is always tremendous value in listening to the people on the ground doing the job.

To succeed in the future, you cannot prepare to succeed in a world that no longer exists.

Educate yourself, be real even though it might hurt, and prepare for the future you see coming.

Then be ready to adapt to that future as it reveals itself.


Jeffrey C. Price, Professor

Metropolitan State University of Denver

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