The Charger Blog

University of New Haven Alumnus Brings Aviation Industry Expertise to Business Students

Harry Holt ’78, co-founder and owner of Columbia Air Services, Inc., which sells, services, stores, and fuels private aircraft, visited the University to evaluate business students’ pitches and proposals.

March 6, 2019

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of a SLiCE capstone project
Students pitched ideas and presented research as part of a SLiCE capstone project.

Image of Harry Holt ’78
Harry Holt ’78 listened to students’ presentations.

Gina Lippolis ’19, a global studies major, and her teammates stood in the front of a classroom in Echlin Hall, pitching the launch of an accredited flight program at the University of New Haven. They cited increasing interest in aviation and a shortage of pilots as reasons for starting the program, and they proposed a partnership between the University and Tweed New Haven Airport.

The group presented the idea and their research to Harry Holt ’78, the co-founder and owner of the Groton, Conn., based Columbia Air Services as part of its Shared Live Client Experience (SLiCE) capstone project. The experience, which was part of the students’ management and organization class, gave them the opportunity to get immediate feedback about their ideas and their presentation.

“It was very insightful to hear Mr. Holt’s feedback,” said Lippolis. “I learned more about aviation and the challenges of building a program like this.”

This was the first of four presentations that Holt evaluated, along with Darell Singleterry, the students’ instructor.

“The aviation industry is as complex as it gets. We are not making widgets – you can’t turn up the volume to make more money. I think everyone learned a lot from this exercise.”Harry Holt ’78

“I think the utility of this exercise is teaching students that business is extremely complex,” said Holt, who earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration and completed a minor in aviation management. “The aviation industry is as complex as it gets. We are not making widgets – you can’t turn up the volume to make more money. I think everyone learned a lot from this exercise.”