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Minnesota Airports Conference

2018 Minnesota Airports Conference

April 18-20, 2018
Duluth Entertainment Convention Center
350 Harbor Dr
Duluth, MN 55802

About the Event

The annual Minnesota Airports Conference features experts in aviation and aerospace fields sharing their experiences in general assembly presentations, workshops, and open forums. The conference, held in conjunction with the Minnesota Council of Airports annual meeting, also includes technical and safety presentations, an industry trade show, and an awards and recognition program.

75 years logo

The conference aims to deliver the most up-to-date and advanced information for Minnesota aviation professionals and provide an opportunity for industry and government officials to exchange ideas on funding, trends, airport management, operations, maintenance, and best practices. Please join us for an engaging learning experience and an opportunity to network with your fellow professionals.

The 2018 conference will also commemorate a significant anniversary for Minnesota, its airports, and the communities they serve. In 1943, the Minnesota Aeronautics Commission became the Minnesota Department of Aeronautics. In the same year, a constitutional amendment was proposed (and ultimately passed in 1944) that would allow the state to collect taxes and build airports. Please join us in celebrating the 75th anniversary of this historic change at the conference!


  • Register online
  • Register by mail or fax: Download the registration form (PDF)
  • Cost (includes sessions, meals, and banquet):
    • Full conference: $225 ($255 after April 3)
    • One day (Wednesday or Thursday): $125 ($155 after April 3)
    • Student registration: $75 for the full conference; $30 for Thursday only
    • Guest fee for Thursday awards luncheon: $30
    • Guest fee for Thursday night social: $50
  • Registration contact: Marie Villano, or 612-624-4972

Program Highlights

To honor the 75th anniversary and highlight the history of aviation in Minnesota, the conference will open with a tour of the CIRRUS Aviation facility on Wednesday morning.

One of our featured speakers will be Dr. Margaret Rhea Seddon. She was one of the first six women to enter the astronaut program in 1978. Seddon worked at NASA for 19 years, serving on three space shuttle flights and spending a total of 30 days in space. She is also the author of the 2015 autobiography Go for Orbit. She was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2015.

Dale Klapmeier, co-founder and CEO of Cirrus Aircraft, will also be a featured speaker this year. In 1984, Dale, along with his brother Alan, founded Cirrus in a barn in rural Wisconsin. Since then, Cirrus has revolutionized the general aviation industry. Under Dale’s leadership, Cirrus has been the largest producer of piston aircraft since 2013. In addition to numerous aviation industry and entrepreneurial awards, Dale and Alan were formally inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2014.

For full program information, please download the conference brochure (PDF).

The conference is brought to you by the Minnesota Council of Airports and the Minnesota Department of Transportation and facilitated by the Airport Technical Assistance Program (AirTAP).




Topics Covered

  • Women in the aviation industry
  • Updates from MnDOT, the FAA, and the TSA
  • Airports 101
  • Environmental compliance
  • Airport legal issues
  • Airfield pavement management and preservation techniques
  • Intro to unmanned operations
  • Public engagement at your airport
  • Why won't the FAA fund all of my project?
  • Implementing successful airport construction safety phasing plans
  • Aviation leadership perspective with Brian Ryks
  • Tell us about Super Bowl LII
  • Invisible casualties: overcoming adversity after a tragedy at work
  • State Aviation System Plan

Become a Sponsor/Exhibitor

Learn about becoming a sponsor/exhibitor at the 2018 conference.

Who Should Attend

The conference focuses on airport management, operations, and maintenance, but it is open to anyone interested in aviation.


Accommodations are available at the Holiday Inn & Suites Downtown Duluth for the following special rates: $99 plus tax for a standard room or $129 plus tax for a king suite, two-bed suite, or executive level room. The special rates are also available through the weekend following the conference for those who choose to extend their stay.

To make a reservation, go to the hotel website or call 1-888-HOLIDAY. To receive the special rate, please use or mention group code "MCA."

Parking is free at the hotel upon arrival. The hotel can also store your luggage for early arrival.

More Information

For more information, please contact Mindy Carlson at 612-625-1813 or

AirTAP | University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN 55455 | Location & Contact Information