Dawson Frank on Leveraging Limited Space & the Future of Aviation | Episode 10

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Welcome back to the Agati Video Podcast, a space where Joe Agati, COO & Director of Design here at Agati Furniture, hosts conversations with designers, architects, and difference-makers to bring inspiration and education to your work.

“We are 5 to 10 years out from ever considering a new terminal, so we are trying to make as much happen in the space we’re allocated.” – Dawson Frank

It’s always a value-packed conversation when we get to talk to someone who is practically leading innovation each and every day, especially in an industry like aviation.

For today’s episode of the podcast, we’re welcoming Dawson Frank, Project Development Manager at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), a Top-10 U.S. airport that served nearly 52 million travelers in 2019.

Dawson has many years of experience in a variety of aviation roles and we’ve actually had the opportunity to work together on some projects as well. In this episode, he’s able to bring unique perspective from the behind-the-scenes of airport operations and share what he and his team are preparing for as they move into the future.

We cover topics like increasing automation and the potential introduction of biometric technology down the line, how they are leveraging limited space to continue growing without sacrificing on customer satisfaction, how he’s managing 100 capital projects at once, the importance of comfort throughout their airport, and some of what they learned in recent furniture tests.

No matter the industry you’re in, this conversation with Dawson is sure to be thought-provoking. Listen in!




  • “The journey is more important than the destination.”
  • “We are 5 to 10 years out from ever considering a new terminal, so we are trying to make as much happen in the space we’re allocated.”
  • “We’re always trying to make sure our facility is convenient and as easy to move through as possible.”
  • “Every 3 years, an airport has to do a full-scale emergency exercise.”
  • “When it comes to seating, fabrics, and materials, we don’t want to be the guinea pig.”
  • “Everybody has an opinion on seats because it’s something everyone will use as they move through our airport.”
  • “For us, it really is all about the customer experience.”
  • “Common sense should weigh more than creativity.”

Our Key Takeaways:

1) Customer experience should be the top priority. All throughout our conversation, Dawson reminded us of this. It’s encouraging to see SEA prioritizing their patrons so meaningfully, and is a good challenge for each of our spaces.

2) Aviation is changing, and the future is looking really exciting. We have a lot to follow-up with Dawson on in a future episode. Including the potential of biometric technology and automation, there is a lot of exciting potential to continue improving on the travel experience and carry it into the future.

3) “Common sense should weigh more than creativity.” This was a perfect final challenge from Dawson. It can be easy to get wrapped up in something new or different, but functionality and durability have to remain top priority in a public space. Music to our ears!

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