Airports Consultants Council (ACC) and British Aviation Group (BAG) Global Business Summit:

Building the Airport and corporate infrastructure for the future. 

BAG and ACC came together for the fifth time to deliver a two-day Global Business Summit.

The event brought together 90+ aviation professionals from across the UK and US - which was a must for those interested in global economic trends, aviation funding and investment, and international networking, particularly airport architects, designers, engineers, operators, planners and suppliers, and developments experts.

Please see presentation slides below

David Debney - Aerospace Technology Institute

Emilie Sydney-Smith - ExO Works

John Heimlich - Airlines for America

Julian Carlson - Pascall+Watson

Kian Gould - AOE

Rob Rushmer - ICF

Tony Chisnall - Schipol Group


Please click here to see the full proGRAMME.



Christina Cassotis, CEO, Pittsburgh International Airport

Ms. Cassotis has been CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which operates Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County Airport, since January 2015.

During that time, Pittsburgh International Airport has experience an 80 percent increase in nonstop flights and three straight years of passenger traffic growth. The airport was named Air Transport World's 2017 Airport of the Year and Regional Airport of the Year by the CAPA Centre for Aviation.

For her role in leading the airport's dramatic turnaround, along with a recently unveiled $1.1 billion Terminal Modernization Program, Ms. Cassotis the 2017 Excellence in Visionary Leadership Awards from Airports Council International - North America, and was named the 2017 Director of the Year for medium size airports by Airport Revenue News. Ms. Cassotis began her career in commercial aviation working for the Massachusetts Port Authority which operates Boston Logan International Airport. She went on to serve as Managing Officer for Airport Services for ICF-SH&E, leading a global team of aviation consultants.


Tony Chisnall, Director Capital Programme, Royal Schipol Group

Tony Chisnall leads the Capital Programme at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. The Capital Programme is responsible for managing the development and construction of the new pier, the new terminal and all related facilities including landside accessibility modifications and multimodal transit facility.

Tony has over 20 years' experience leading complex infrastructure programmes, in multiple sectors including defense, aviation, transportation and utilities. At Abu Dhabi Airports, Tony successfully delivered the upgrade of the whole airfield in readiness for the Midfield Terminal Complex , whilst at the Ministry of Defense he led the implementation of a major transformation programme to improve outcome performance across defense equipment delivery programmes plus logistical and MRO support operations.

He has held multiple senior leadership positions in global organizations including BAA, as Terminal 5 Commercial Director and others for Siemens, and Linde. All of these have had a strong emphasis on building solid organizational foundations for future business success.


Kian T. Gould, Founder/COE, AOE

Kian T. Gould is the Founder and Chief Executive of AOE, a leading global expert in omnichannel e-commerce and digital transformation within the aviation space. He is a regular speaker at many global conferences, and a well-known expert in airport digitalisation; he is best known for transforming Frankfurt Airport into the first digital omnichannel airport e-commerce marketplace and launching game-changing commerce market places for Heathrow, Singapore airlines and many more.

For the past 15 years his company AOE has assisted Fortune 1000 companies with their digital transformation and omnichannel e-commerce strategies. With hits headquarters in Frankfurt and with offices in San Francisco, Zürich, Dubai and Hong Kong, AOE and its global team of more than 250 people in six countries, has established a reputation as a leading provider for airport digitalisation. The company's OM3 platform is quickly becoming the leading technology solution for digitalising non-aviation revenues for both airports and airlines.


Emilie Sydney - Smith, CEO, ExO Works

Emilie is CEO of ExO Works, a corporate transformation consultancy which helps large

organizations like Visa, HP and Procter & Gamble to: Protect themselves against disruption, Incorporate the attributes shared by the world’s fastest growing companies and Build new business lines that could grow exponentially. 

She previously led some of the company’s biggest client projects. She shares practical, easy processes that she has already used successfully with her Fortune 500 and smaller clients to prepare them to survive and thrive in the era of accelerating change. 

Emilie was previously CEO of Unearth Corp, transferring technology from space programs into the global energy industry. 

From 2006 ‐ 2014, Emilie sourced and evaluated potential $20 – 400 million investments in energy production start‐ups and technologies. She was at the crux of global energy market intelligence and was consistently top‐5 rated by delegates when presenting at conferences. 

From 2002 to 2005, Emilie managed corporate development and corporate relations for Sydney Gas Limited. She helped grow the startup to a $300 million valuation. She was instrumental in raising the company's poor reputation to a media‐recognized “market leader.” 

From 1999 – 2002, Emilie worked on the sweeping deregulation of the energy and water markets in Australia and New Zealand, facilitating complex negotiations between senior executives, regulators and Government Ministers.


 Programme speakers:


 Rob Rushmer, Director, ICF

Rob has over 25 years of industry experience covering airport business planning, master planning, and the project management of multidisciplinary airport projects with complex financial, commercial, regulatory, and engineering interfaces. Rob's particular expertise is the preparation and assessment of strategic development scenarios and the interaction of financial, planning, environmental, regulatory and licensing requirements. His view of airport planning is that the master plan is the physical embodiment of the business plan.


John Heimlich, VP & Chief Economist, Airlines of America

John Heimlich joined Airlines for America (A4A) in April 2001 and currently serves as Vice President and Chief Economist. He is responsible for matters pertaining to economics and energy and frequently engages with members of the media. Heimlich represents A4A in the MIT Airline Industry Consortium and the Harvard Industrial Economists Discussion Group and is Chairman Emeritus of the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA). In December 2010, Heimlich received the Armbrust Aviation Group’s award for “Distinguished Achievement in Aviation.” Prior to A4A, Heimlich spent five years at United Airlines in financial planning, financial analysis and international and regulatory affairs. In the latter role, he worked on competition matters, mergers, route cases and antitrust immunity for alliances. A native of Kent, Ohio, Heimlich holds a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Cornell University and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.


Geoffrey Ax, Principal/Aviation Market Leader, Populous

 Geoffrey Ax is a graduate from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Architecture. A nationally recognized leader in the aviation industry with 20 years of experience in designing and managing aviation facility projects in the United States as well as international experience directing large-scale project design with multi-cultural teams. Working with airports, airlines, operators, retail and concessionaires his knowledge of airports, operations, and passenger experience spans the entire campus from airline ticket counters, food, beverage facilities, hangers and cargo facilities and complete terminal projects. Expertise in large project planning with project budgets over $1B USD, alternate project delivery, strategic visioning, creative thinking and thought leadership.

Aviation Market Leader and Principal at Populous. Responsible for leadership, development, and overall vision of Populous' aviation market strategy including client development, project opportunities, high-level pursuit strategies, programming, design, and execution of aviation related projects in the Americas.


Peter J. Kirsch, Partner, Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell

Peter J. Kirsch is a partner with the law firm of Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell, dividing his time between the firm’s offices in Denver, Colorado and Washington, DC. For 30 years, Mr. Kirsch has concentrated his practice on airport development. He has represented dozens of airports on land use, regulatory and environmental issues that arise in connection with airport operations and development. Mr. Kirsch regularly advises airports on federal legislation and regulations, and airport financial issues and has represented clients in precedent-setting litigation regarding the powers of airport proprietors. Mr. Kirsch has been involved dozens of airport expansions, redevelopment projects and commercial development projects and frequently advises both airports and investors in airport-related public-private partnerships (P3s). He has been involved in structuring some of the first such transactions in the US. He is a frequent speaker at conferences on airport law in the United States and elsewhere. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Chicago Law School.


Andy Carlisle, Head of Portfolio Management at Ferrovial Airports

Andy is head of Portfolio Management in the Portfolio Management Department at Ferrovial Airports, responsible for helping to monitor and manage business performance at Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports and providing supporting business plan advice during airport transactions. He has over 25 years of experience, having worked on airport transactions across Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia.

Much of his career has been spent in consultancy, based in the UK and the United States and he has specific experience in due diligence, strategy development, business planning and management organisation. Having led advisory teams at Jacobs Consultancy, ICF and LeighFisher, he established AirPort360 to provide independent transaction advise before joining Ferrovial Airports in late 2017. Andy holds a BSc in Geography from Kingston Polytechnic and an MSc in Transport Planning & Management from the Polytechnic of Central London.


Zoë Layden, Managing Director, Claveaux Consulting Ltd

Zoë Layden is a risk management expert with 29 years’ experience in the International insurance market. Zoë is Managing Director of Claveaux Consulting, working with an array (re)insurance entities regarding aviation development as well as Aerospace industry companies needing support for their risk management and transfer needs.

Zoë believes in a wholistic approach to risk. Managing the systemic risks facing an aviation business comprises many disciplines, not least of all the insurance purchase itself. Fascinated by global interfaces, she has forged a business helping others navigate the complexities of theses interlinked aspects of our global infrastructure.

Prior to starting her own business she was broker relationship and Chief Underwriting Office Airline Director Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty. She was responsible for portfolio management and strategic direction of the airline practice underwritten in the four hubs, London, Paris, Munich and New York. Zoë previously spent 16 years at Willis Ltd in London and New York where she held a number of key production and management roles. Originally from Boston, Zoë graduated from Tufts University and is also fluent in French.


Simon McNamara, Country Manager United Kingdom & Ireland, IATA

Simon McNamara is IATA's Area Manager for the United Kingdom & Ireland leading its local regional activities and supporting the wider IATA team in its work to represent, lead and serve the airline industry. Previous to his current role he was Director of Communications at Flybe and formerley Director General of the European Regions Airline Association.

A graduate of City University, London, in Aeronautical Engineering, McNamara also holds an MSc from Cranfield University in the UK in Air Transport Management.


 Steve Armitage, Head of Innovation and Intelligent Automation, Heathrow Airport

30 years of airline industry expertise gained at British Airways and Heathrow Airport - operating both IT and core business developments. Since joining Heathrow, I have been involved in the first steps of passenger automation and improvements in security processing. Currently Head of Innovation and Intelligent Automation in Heathrow's IT team whose purpose is to make sense of digitilisation, intelligent automation (physical and virtual) and smart connected devices and to help the airport prepare for this revolution and to make the right future happen sooner.


Arlyn Purcell, Director, Aviation Environment & Sustainability for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport 

Ms. Arlyn Purcell is the Director of Aviation Environment & Sustainability for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  Her role includes support of the Port of Seattle’s long-term goals for sustainability, as well as oversight of the airport’s sustainability, environmental compliance, and airport noise programs.  Ms. Purcell is an environmental planner with almost 35 years of experience in the public and private sectors, with experience in airport noise, environmental review, sustainability, and airport planning.  Prior to coming to the Port of Seattle, she led sustainability and system-wide airport planning initiatives at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.  She also is an active member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Airport Cooperative Research Program, which conducts applied research on topics of interest to the airport industry.  Ms. Purcell has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and a Master of Regional Planning from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


David Debney, Head of Technology – Whole Aircraft, Aerospace Technology Institute

David Debney joined the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) as its Head of Technology for Whole Aircraft in January 2019.

He is responsible for whole aircraft technology assessment and represents the ATI in the development of the UK's Future Flight Challenge.

Before joining the ATI David worked at Rolls-Royce as Chief of Future Aircraft Concepts, where he was responsible for developing concept designs for hybrid propulsion systems on aircraft of all sizes.

He also led the team that created the Rolls-Royce eVTOL concept that was launched at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2018. Previously, he led the development testing programme for the XWB-97 gas turbine.

His technical background is predominantly in development engineering and he has extensive experience in the certification, validation and testing of gas turbines.


Simon Clouston, Technical Director, WSP

Simon Clouston is a Technical Director in WSP's Planning and Advisory business based in the UK. He has more than 30 years' experience and expertise in the management of environmental and sustainability issues across a range of industry sectors. He is a Project Director for WSP's role as Administrator of the global Airport Carbon Accreditation (or ACA) Programme. ACA is now in its 11th year accrediting the carbon performance of some 280 airports worldwide


Xavier Oh, Noise Strategy Manager, Heathrow Airport

Xavier has held the position of Noise Strategy Manager at Heathrow Airport since 2016.  His key responsibilities involve the development, implementation and oversight of the airport’s Noise Action Plan, which includes noise management, noise insulation strategy, stakeholder engagement and research projects.

His previous role was in environmental policy at the airport industry association - Airports Council International (ACI) from 2005 to 2016.  This included representing airports on the committee developing international standards on aircraft noise and emissions certification and guidance manuals, as well as sharing best practice between airports globally.  

Prior to this, he was an acoustical consultant in New Zealand working on environmental, industrial and architectural noise control for a wide range of industries, town planners and individuals.  His first job was as mechanical engineering consultant, specialising in vibration analysis in the mining and general industries in Australia.


Lara Potter, Director, Workforce for the Future, Arcadis

Lara Potter currently leads the Workforce for the Future Programme for Arcadis in the UK. The programme supports digital transformation across disciplines and sectors - building understanding of the skills, capabilities and culture needed to make the most of digital technology. Prior to her current role, she led a multidisciplinary Strategic Environment and Safety Consultancy team.

Lara is passionate about the opportunities that digital technologies offer to improve the outcomes delivered by the build environment sector. But she says "digital is not just about technology, it is all about people - how we empathise and understand the needs of the citizen and society - and how this is translated into the skills and capabilities needed in the built environment sector".

She is based in Cambridge, UK. She holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Manchester and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Cambridge.


Kevin Thorpe, Business Specialist, Department for International Trade (DIT)

Kevin’s career has included Senior Director positions in strategic procurement, operations, business development and managing. His international background covers Asia and the US overseas and both private and public sectors in the UK. 

Kevin has successfully developed a number of UK businesses to international success and taken companies to FTSE flotation, a process which included both acquisitions and mergers.

Prior to joining DIT, he was an Executive Director at a London based project management consultancy where he was responsible for business development in the transport and government practices, Kevin has worked on DIT infrastructure programmes since 2009.


Julian Carlson, Director, Pascall+Watson

Director at Pascall+Watson, Julian has over 20 years’ professional experience in the aviation sector, where he has taken on successive leadership roles on a range of high profile projects across the UK and the Middle East.

He specialises in highly complex projects with multiple interfaces, where he utilises his project management expertise to deliver high quality design and has an active interest in electrical and distributed aviation.

He engages in all stages of the design and delivery process, promoting collaboration across the client, design and construction team.


Jonathan Adams, Director, Laing O'Rourke

Jonathan is a director at Laing O'Rourke, with specific ownership of the aviation sector. He has over 20 years direct airport project experience in both contracting and as a Client at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead.


Liam McKay, Director of Corporate Affairs, London City Airport

Liam McKay originally joined LCY in 2013, and in 2018 became Director of Corporate Affairs. Liam oversees government, business and community relations, communications and policy matters for the airport.

Liam has over ten years' experience in campaigning and communications, and previously was responsible for Transport for London Communications and Engagement in Central London during the 2012 games. Prior to that he was the London Regional Manager for the BBC's switchover Help scheme and worked on the 2011 Census on behalf of the London Mayor and Councils.

He is a member of the Airports Council International Policy Committee and ACI Carbon Task Force, as well as a number of other aviation, transport and regeneration bodies.

A native of Edinburgh, Liam has an undergraduate degree from the University of Edinburgh and a post graduate degree from University College London.


Nathan Summers, Project Manager, Kimley-Horn

Nathan has 16 years’ experience as a Project Manager for Kimley-Horn specializing in design and construction of airfield projects. Nathan is graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering. He is a licensed professional engineer and is a LEED® Accredited Professional. Nathan has provided professional engineering services at Chicago O’Hare, Cleveland Hopkins, Detroit Metro, Indianapolis, Minneapolis‐St. Paul, Memphis, Phoenix Sky Harbor, and Las Vegas McCarran airports.