NBAA President Ed Bolen is in an upbeat mood.

“We’re certainly going to put forward a compelling message about our industry,” he tells ShowNews. “We believe this is a great industry from a number of standpoints: the technology, the experiences that are available, the community that we offer, the humanitarian flights that we do, our commitment to sustainability. There will be a lot on display, and we hope that it will help us attract and retain an enormously talented and enormously diverse and inclusive workforce for the future.”

That the sector needs new talent is by no means a revelation. But Bolen is proud of how NBAA has gone about promoting business aviation to young entrants, and is pleased with new efforts to attract and retain the kind of people the industry requires.

“We’ve done careers days before, but I think a couple of things are happening that are particularly important,” he says. “One is that NBAA now offers a Professional membership, that gives aspiring professionals like students an opportunity to be more tightly connected to the convention, as well as those between jobs, people in the military, or retired people. We also have a growing and exciting young professionals group that meets. This will be the second year where we’ve done 40 Under 40, where we shine the spotlight on the new generation.”

If the industry wants to make sure its appeal to youth is as strong as it can be, then the efforts to make business aviation more environmentally sustainable will be of critical importance. This is another area, Bolen points out, where NBAA has been at the vanguard, helping to shape and promote the efforts the sector is making to reduce the environmental impacts of private air travel.

“Our community has really led the way in adoption of a lot of things that have reduced our environmental footprint,” he says. “Our industry was the first adopters of winglets. We were early adopters of GPS to allow for more precision flying and more direct routes. We were early adopters of composite technologies. We’ve always been about flying farther, faster and higher, but also more efficiently and sustainably.”

As the show opens, Bolen’s message to attendees is clear.

“We believe business aviation is a great industry,” he says. “It’s a remarkable industry that does a lot of good, and we want that to be known. This is the time to talk about people’s experiences and not just be quiet and go about your business. Take pride: take pride in the great work we’re doing, and share that with friends and family and coworkers.”