My passion for design originates from high school when I took my first technology classes. Classes like AutoCAD and architecture allowed my imagination and creativity to come alive. As an aviation management student, there was one class that caught my attention more than the rest — AutoCAD for Airport Environments. I spent an entire semester designing my own airport, using AutoCAD and a few other programs, to make an airport in 3-D simulations. By the time I submitted the final project, I knew what I wanted in life. I wanted to become an aviation planner.
In order to have a successful college class, a great instructor is essential. Fin Bonset is not just a faculty member, but a perfect illustration of the success that follows graduation from Florida Tech. He obtained both his B.S. in Aviation Management with Flight and M.S.A. in Airport Development and Management from Florida Tech. Since graduation, Bonset has shown his dedication to Florida Tech through instructing, volunteering and giving. He has instructed classes such as airport design, aviation planning and AutoCAD for airport environments since 2003. In fact, Bonset is the recipient of the Outstanding Faculty of 2006 Award for his excellence in teaching. In addition, he is also the ex-treasurer of the FIT Alumni Association, a frequent FIT Athletics donor and is still actively involved in planning the annual College of Aeronautics Alumni Association Safety Symposium. Bonset is not just an instructor, but also a great mentor — especially if your dream is to become an aviation planner.
“Being an airport planner/designer, you should know about engineering management. Try and do an internship or any part-time/full-time job in aviation while you do your degree; be proactive and get involved with industry organizations such as AAAE, ACC, ACI and FAC. Attend the conferences with your student discount and start networking — it will set you up for when you graduate. Do the latter in your first semester! So many students wait until the last semester to start working the system; by that time, it is usually more difficult to get a job. Remember, aviation is a small world and the more you build relationships, the more you will have a better chance at an awesome career.” – Bonset
Throughout his time teaching, Bonset has also established a successful career. In 2000, Fin Bonset started as a Junior Planner with Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc. only working on small Florida Airport Master Plans. Today, he is Section Manager – Aviation Planning/Senior Project Manager at one of the leading aviation planning companies, Atkins. He is responsible for growing Atkins North America’s airport planning practice, project management, supervising planning teams and overall business development for the aviation group. Bonset has gained experience working on airports throughout the entire world, being named one of Airport Business’ Top 40 Under 40.
“Within the airport planning profession you never know what you’ll be doing next, it could be some CAD work for an airport layout plan for a large commercial airport or you could be conducting a noise analysis at a small General Aviation airport where residents are upset about flight training activities, or you could be traveling to Egypt to plan for new maintenance facilities for EgyptAir. You just never know. So to everyone out there, don’t get stuck doing one thing. Do something really well for 1-2 years and do something completely different after that. It’s always good to get out of your comfort zone. It fosters learning and you can never stop learning, certainly not within this profession!” – Bonset
Outside of the aviation planning world, Bonset has many other interests. He is currently a member of a flight club at Valkaria Airport and enjoys flying recreationally whenever he can. Bonset is also an avid surfer and loves spending time with his wife and family.
I have a lot in common with Fin Bonset — passion for aviation, traveling, planning and design. Knowing that he stood exactly where I am standing today, I know that the success I am aiming high for is possible as a Florida Tech graduate.