Dave Long, AAE is an aviation project manager based in CMT’s St. Petersburg, FL, office. He is a Veteran and an airport executive with over 30 years of experience. Dave brings to CMT’s clients a strong background in facility design, construction, and budgeting. He is skilled in building relationships, creating and maximizing non-aeronautical revenue, navigating airline/rental car negotiations, optimizing airport operations, managing leases, leading master planning, and driving organizational development. Dave holds a degree in airway science management from Kent State University as well as an MBA from Webster University. He is a private pilot and an accredited member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE).
What kind of work do you find to be most fulfilling, and why?
For me, it is all about helping others achieve their goals. I personally get a lot of satisfaction when a client project goes from an idea, into production, to final completion.
Beyond that, I like seeing how projects really take hold in the years after completion and become part of an airport’s DNA.
What is your approach to building relationships with clients?
To me, relationships are the foundation of everything. They matter. And it really is easy to manage relationships when things are going great, but when things hit a little rough patch, investing in relationships becomes even more vital. During those times, it’s critical to think of your partner first and really make sure their needs are being fulfilled. If you do that well, all the rest will take care of itself.
How does your previous experience as an airport executive inform your work at CMT today?
I bring my client-side perspective to the work I do at CMT. I understand the challenges and pain points airport executives face – I’ve been in their shoes – so I bring that awareness to the table when serving CMT’s clients.
For example, I’ve been through hundreds of proposal solicitations and multiple hundreds of interviews over the years. It amazed me, the number of well-qualified firms that consistently failed to address anything beyond the technical side of their work. While the technical details may resonate with a few individuals on any given selection committee, it’s vital to communicate how you’ll be providing solutions to others sitting at the table, as well.
From my perspective, if you’re in the interview, you have the technical qualifications and resume to be there. Now is the opportunity to illustrate how you, as a firm, are going to make it easy for me to do my job, whether my role is focused on the technical side, the financial side, the operational side, or the governmental side. How can you simplify my job?
The firms that can effectively illustrate their value across the board are the ones that, in my view, rise to the top of any interview process. Part of my role here at CMT, at times, has been to remind folks of that occasionally.
How do the lessons you’ve taken from your airport work over the years apply to infrastructure work more broadly?
One is relationships: building that strong foundation. Regardless of the sector, you’re in, it’s just important. Understanding the needs of your clients and stakeholders – and the communities they serve – puts you in a great position when responding to anything.
The second is also simple: Do what you say you will do. Following through with what you say you can do – actually delivering on time, on budget, and so forth – one would think that would be normal. But from my perspective as an airport executive, I’m telling you that is not normal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been disappointed with firms not following through on their commitments. It seems very fundamental, but unfortunately, it just is not the norm.
What do you most value about CMT’s workplace culture?
I can honestly wrap it up with one word: family. Dan and Bill – those two folks are the most genuine leaders I’ve ever been affiliated with at any company I’ve been with, or that I’ve dealt with. They truly care about all 400 of us, and they set the tone for the whole firm. I’m at that point in my career where that family-oriented culture really matters to me, and that’s my favorite aspect of CMT. There’s a reason that when folks are hired here, they tend to stay here.