In any walk of life, there are many, many, people who strive and work and contribute to the betterment of their town, their company, their society, their world. All deserve special recognition. But there are a certain few who go the extra mile, on whose shoulders we all stand, and to whom we owe an extra measure of gratitude. This post is about them.
ACI-NA each year awards the William E. Downes, Jr. Memorial Award, our highest honor. Our Immediate Past Chair Hardy Acree calls it our Oscar, though I think it is more important than that (after all, Gary Busey got nominated once for an Oscar). We don’t have a Hall of Fame, but if we did, we’d start with the winners of this award. Just since I have been here, winners include: Bill DeCota, Paul Gaines, Wally Burg, Bob Michael and Jim DeLong. These are all people who enhance the stature of the award by their having won it.
It is time to consider the 2011 Downes Award recipient. A committee has been established, and they await nominations from among the membership. That is one of the best things about this award; winners are nominated by ACI-NA’s own members. And there is nothing more satisfying in this world than recognition by one’s peers. The deadline to submit nominations is April 13 and you can click here for more information and to propose a nomination.
PLEASE take the time to consider the people on whose shoulders we stand and nominate one of them for this terrific award. Presenting the Downes Award is always an emotional highlight of the Chairman’s Honors Lunch at the Annual Conference.
Before closing, but in keeping with a theme of recognizing the great ones, I have two RIPs.
Ted Bushelman passed away earlier this week at the age of 75. Ted was the “face and voice” of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport for more than four decades before his retirement in 2008. As current airport CEO John Mok said: “Ted was an icon in his community and was well-regarded for his…..innovative approach to communications and media relations.” I use the word passion a lot, and Ted had it in abundance: for his airport, for his community and for his friends and colleagues in the industry. Retirement for Ted meant serving on the City Council in his town, devoted to the community to the end. ACI-NA presents an award each year to the person in the airport marketing and communications who best exemplifies passion, dedication and innovation in their work. I have been proud to present this ward in recent years. The first person I presented it to was Ted Bushelman. And the award is called the Ted Bushelman Award. He was a great guy, a great asset to the airport community and we will all miss him.
David Broder died yesterday in Arlington, Virginia. Broder was the best political reporter of his generation; and he was a lot better than anyone in the current generation, for that matter too. He was known as the Dean of the Washington Press Corps, and was first called that when he was 36 years old! He was thorough, fair and knowledgeable. He had scant time for ideologues and for people who wanted just to talk. He had great respect for politicians who wanted to work to achieve results, and he thought politician was an honorable calling. I still remember the day in December, 1992, my old boss, Gov. Baliles called me and said “Broder says I’m on the short list for Attorney General.” This was during the Clinton transition. The transition team hadn’t called him, but Broder did. Good thing, too, because when the Governor got home there were press trucks in front of his house. I especially loved his year-end column listing all the things he got wrong during the year. Anyone on MSNBC or Fox News gonna do that? My first personal encounter with him was when I raked the leaves at his house. His wife, Ann, was a community activist in Arlington and had gone to some fundraising auction for some worthy cause. I was President of the Arlington Young Democrats then and we offered leaf raking services to the highest bidder. Ann Broder won and that’s how I met David Broder. At a time when we need more David Broders, it is especially sad to lose the original.