Bombardier opened its Safety Standdown this morning in Wichita with conference veteran Tony Kern, founding partner and CEO of Convergent Performance, who challenged the roughly 450 in-person attendees to think of their organization as a working ranch. Wearing a black Stetson, work boots, and a western overcoat, Kern equated an organization’s standards officer and safety officer as the herding and guard dogs of the “ranch” and that both should be distinct positions within an organization to ensure a culture of safety that permeates to the individual level.

“Standards and safety should not be viewed as part-time additional duties,” he said. “They are critical, core requirements for moving safety forward.” He recommended that organizations “keep pushing the bar” on developing safety as well as standards officers.

During his hour-and-15-minute-long presentation, Kern also addressed the industry’s pilot and mechanic shortages, emphasizing that they could be alleviated in part by attracting more women to those careers. But first, he said, the industry needs to acknowledge that sexual discrimination is still an issue. And “we can’t make progress if we don’t acknowledge it exists,” Kern emphasized. He urged participants to make business aviation the place for women professionals.

Kern’s presentation followed opening remarks from FAA acting deputy executive director Derek Morgan, NTSB member Michael Graham, and NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. Bombardier officials said 51 percent of this year’s in-person attendees are here for the first time.


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