The Tony Jannus Society presented its top award to Fredrick W. Smith, Chairman, President and CEO of FedEx Corporation, at its 48th Annual Reception and Banquet on October 27, 2011. The Tony Jannus Award honors individuals for extraordinary accomplishments in commercial aviation.
At an afternoon press conference, Smith thanked the society for the honor and praised the Tampa Bay area, and notably Tampa International Airport as “one of the most efficient, best, and brightest spots in the marketplace.”
Serving Tampa International since 1974, FedEx is the airport’s leading cargo carrier. Shipping everything from computers and electronics to live penguins arriving for a visit to a nearby Sarasota aquarium, FedEx is an integral part of the Tampa Bay business community.
Following Smith’s comments, the society honored the winner of the Tony Jannus Awards High School Essay contest. The contest challenges students to write an essay about Tony Jannus and his influence on the development of air travel. The winner, Farhan Hiya, a senior at Gaither High School expressed his joy at winning his first time entering the contest with his essay “The Past and Future of an Influential Dreamer.”
The winning student receives three round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines and $600 in spending money. Farhan expressed his interest in aviation, although he has no plans to pursue a pilot’s license at this time. Instead he looks forward to college and a possible degree in aviation, medicine or engineering. With his tickets he hopes to plan a trip to New York in the near future to visit family and friends.
Farhan’s teacher, Jeff Ditman, also received two round-trip tickets courtesy of Southwest Airlines. The Society awards the student’s teacher in recognition of the instructor’s encouragement to the student and the legacy of aviation history. With his tickets Ditman, a newlywed and recent Yale graduate, plans on taking his wife to his hometown in Connecticut. Fellow Yale alumni Fredrick Smith, praised Ditman for his efforts, both with his star student and his chosen career as an educator.
In a special honor to the winning student, Smith presented Farhan with a replica of a FedEx aircraft. He congratulated the young man and encouraged him to pursue his dreams, whatever they may be.
“Our world would not be what it is today without pioneers pursuing their dreams,” Smith said.
FedEx is a $37 billion global transportation, business services and logistics company that serves more than 220 territories around the world, with 275,000 employees. Since 1989, FedEx has been recognized as the world’s largest full-service, all-cargo airline.
Since founding FedEx in 1971, Smith has been an active proponent of regulatory reform, free trade and “open skies agreements” for aviation around the world. Most recently, he has advocated for vehicle energy-efficiency and a national energy policy.