The Legend of the Duck

The Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives was created in 1983 during the course of an annual conference of the Southeastern Airport Managers Association.  The meeting was held at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.

The founding fathers included Larry Cox, AAE; Bill Hamilton, AAE; Tim Campbell, AAE; Joe Leahy, AAE; Gary Rice, AAE; Anthony Dowd, AAE; and Roger Sekadlo, AAE; with the cooperation of Spencer Dickerson, Vice President of the American Association of Airport Executives.

The Peabody Hotel had a morning and evening "duck walk".  Each morning, the Duck Master would walk the ducks from the rooftop of the hotel, escort them down the hotel elevator where they would exit on the first floor, proceed across a red carpet to the indoor fountain, and swim their day away entertaining the guests.  And the guests turned out for the event.  Adults and children alike would hang over the balcony railing and crowd the first floor for a glimpse and a photo of the talented little ducks and their elaborately dressed Duck Master.  In the evenings the process was reversed and the ducks returned to the roof for their well-deserved rest.  And again, the crowds turned out.

As the Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives continued to grow and mature, the search for a logo began.  For some unknown reason, various renditions of trains, old and new, were originally used but the leadership found them unsatisfactory.  Finally, someone recommended the duck in remembrance of the Peabody experience. 

The early duck was a simple pen and ink outline of a mallard.  In 1986, then Membership Chairman Bob Brammer sought the support of a public relations firm to assist with a more elaborate design.  That drawing, as described by the design firm, incorporates a mallard in upward flight representing the rise of the Southeast Chapter - AAAE.  The sun, representing the bright future of the chapter, silhouettes the mallard.  Finally, the parallel lines drawn through the sun represent the parallel interests of the airports and corporations that anchor the Chapter and have made it the viable Association it is today.

Following the merger of the Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives with the Southeastern Airport Managers Association (SAMA) in 1997, the SAMA landside-civil airport symbol was added to the logo in reverence to that well-respected Association.

The logo remains true today.  The Chapter is still on the rise, its future is bright and its members and corporations still anchor it to its mission.  Long live the duck!