Leadership Come Together To Recognize General Aviation In Alaska

September 24, 2012

Last week, I had the opportunity to join my colleagues in Anchorage, Alaska, to celebrate the many contributions general aviation has made to the community and around the state. At a rally held at Signature Flight Support at Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC), Ed Bolen from the National Business Aviation Association, Craig Fuller from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Pete Bunce from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and I met with U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) and Alaska Department of Transportation Commissioner Mark Luiken to discuss how the efforts we are making here in Washington will affect the lifeline of Alaska’s residents and businesses to each other and the nation.

In my first official speech  as head of NATA, I wanted to convey to our 82 Alaska member companies that we are here, working hard to provide them with the opportunities to expand on an already abundant general aviation infrastructure. The economic impact of general aviation in Alaska plays a huge role in the state’s overall economy and job growth. The industry contributes nearly $3.5 billion in revenue annually and employs 47,000 people; that is roughly 10 percent of the total workforce in the state.

In a state where aviation is sometimes the only means of connection within the state, and ultimately with the rest of the country, it is important to work with Alaska’s elected officials to ensure that fees and taxes are low, availability and accessibility are abundant, and business and job opportunities continue to thrive. In Congress, Senator Begich echoed our sentiments about aviation’s vitality. He currently co-chairs the Senate General Aviation Caucus, which has 39 members making it one of the largest, most active and most effective caucuses in the Senate. In Washington, Senator Begich cited the proposed $100 per-flight user fee as a detriment to every aspect of the aviation community. We look forward to working with Senator Begich and the General Aviation Caucus, in both chambers of Congress, to ensure that the user fee, and other pending issues, does not get in the way of, as the Senator stated, “the lifeblood of Alaska.”

Overall, I thought the event was a huge success. We had a turnout of more than 100 Alaskans – pilots, local associations and businesses, and aviation enthusiasts who share the same passion as we do. Aviation is a precious resource of the frontier state and its residents. It is a part of their life, their community and what Alaska really is, and the rally conveyed that message loud and clear.


Updates and Developments

September 14, 2012

Greetings from Washington! I’m just completing my second week leading NATA and here are a few updates.

By now, you’re hopefully aware of our announcement of a major change in our Workers’ Compensation Insurance program coming on January 1, 2013. Beacon Aviation Insurance Services is working with NATA to offer a very high quality program, and we strongly encourage all of our members (and their brokers) to take a close look at the benefits of this new program.

Week one of my tenure was focused on spending time with our great staff here at NATA and beginning introductions with the media. I was interviewed five times last week and it was a great opportunity to speak at a very high level about my ideas on leading our organization. Discussions with AVweb, Aviation International News, Business and Commercial Aviation, Airport Business Magazine and our own Aviation Business Journal provided a great opportunity to showcase the solid work underway at NATA.

Week two began with a trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to attend our fall committee meetings and to visit with some key NATA members in the area. It was a great chance for me to speak – but mostly listen – about issues, concerns and opportunities. And most importantly, I was able to meet some great folks that are afflicted with the aviation bug that resides in all of us! Returning to DC on Wednesday, we met with NATA board member and Epps Aviation CFO Marian Epps to help her prepare for testimony that afternoon before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business. Marian hit it out of the park and stressed the critical need to hold the line on the administration’s proposed $100 departure tax.

Next week takes me to Anchorage for a general aviation rally on the 17th and then back to DC to continue meetings with our employees.

Finally, I want to say thank you all for the many kind words of encouragement during these early days of my tenure. I’m truly humbled and remain highly energized to be leading this great group of people!  

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