It is no revelation that beginning in March 2020, our professional and personal worlds have looked very different.

Personally, the past year robbed us of in-person interactions, vacations, restaurants, sporting events, large celebrations, and classroom learning.

Professionally, it took away in-person meetings, business travel, group presentations, and annual events or fundraisers. It caused organizations to function on minimal resources and dramatically cut budgets, which forced business leaders to rethink and restructure most aspects of their operations, as well as communication efforts. 

On a more reflective note, the past 12 months seem to have taken away one more concept from our organizational culture: the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ mentality. Businesses can consider this year as a clean slate and challenge themselves to be intentional with their processes and people by reintroducing their business plan. 

Caitlin Darras, Senior Public Relations Specialist at the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

Before preparing for a quarterly client presentation, ask yourself and your team: Is this the most effective way to reach our target audience or hit our goal?

Before you plan an annual event or fundraiser, ask yourself and your team: Is this the best use of our resources? 

In the aviation industry, 2020, and into 2021, has been unlike anything we’ve witnessed. At McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) specifically, 2020 put a screeching halt to our 44-month streak of consecutive passenger growth, and over the course of just one month, reduced our passenger traffic by 95.5%.

And while our passenger numbers are starting to slowly increase, it will take years for our growth to exceed 2019, when we welcomed 2.5 million passengers through the airport. 

The lack of passengers, along with our reduced resources and budgets, caused us to postpone and rethink airport programs and amenities that we have offered for many years.

There are 43 parked airplanes at McGhee Tyson airport on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

At the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, one example is our Aviation Academy. 

The Aviation Academy is an annual, five-night program created to raise awareness of what it takes to successfully operate TYS and what crucial role the community plays in the flights and services available at the facility. The Academy provides business and community leaders a behind-the-scenes look at commercial, military and general aviation and introduces them to key organizations that play a significant role in the day-to-day operations of the airport.