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Colorado Group Marks Achievements At First Anniversary

January 21, 2011

Nearly a year after its reformation from a local aviation group into a statewide organization representing the interests of business aviation, the Colorado Business Aviation Association (CABA) has expanded its membership, established new relationships with state and local government and business leaders and helped create new aviation groups in several locales in Colorado. It also has promoted the value of business aviation through a series of events and a just-completed video.

The group has accomplished this with an all-volunteer staff and proactive membership that never seems to allow competitive differences to stand in the way of the larger need to promote business aviation and the positive impact it has on the state's economy and quality of life.

"We're very proud of the accomplishments we've made over the past year," said David Purvis, CABA's Chairman. "Have we met all of our goals? I'd say, no. Have we met the majority of them? I'd say, absolutely."

The Group's New Mission

It late March of last year, members of the Centennial Aviation Business Association, whose mission was to promote the value of Denver's Centennial Airport and the business aviation activity there, expanded the group's mission.

Under its new charter, CABA set out to:

  • Promote aviation and related businesses throughout Colorado;
  • Respond to issues impacting the state's airports, including safety and operational effectiveness;
  • Educate the public about Colorado's aviation activities, and;
  • Initiate and support efforts to preserve the state's airport-related businesses.

For the most part, Purvis and others in CABA say, the group has met those challenges, especially when it comes to reaching out to and organizing business aviation groups in other areas. Those efforts have helped CABA expand its membership to 80 member businesses and more than 150 individuals. "People feel more inclined to approach us and feel that we're more accessible because we represent the state as opposed to a smaller geographic region of the state or airport," said Purvis.

The significant progress the group has made hasn't come without some growing pains. "We went from an organization where everyone was based at Centennial Airport, to one that had to work for everyone statewide," said Iver Retrum, CABA Membership Director.

An important step was bringing in new board members from outside Denver to reflect the group's new statewide status. Being a board member requires a huge time commitment. So CABA now asks all new board members to sign commitment letters agreeing to attend a minimum number of meetings and participate in various association activities. "I think it really helps layout for our board members what exactly is involved in making this organization what it is," Retrum said.

Aviation Saves

CABA also launched an open house at Centennial Airport designed to promote the value of business aviation statewide, called Aviation Saves. Held on April 28, the public and media were invited to view a variety of on-airport static displays, and attend an industry luncheon featuring a list of formidable industry guest speakers, including NBAA President and CEO, Ed Bolen and Jack Pelton, Cessna Aircraft Company Chairman and President. CABA plans to host a second event this summer, in June, which in addition to the displays and dinner speakers also will include a golf tournament.

Legislative Efforts

On the legislative front, CABA has teamed with the Colorado Airport Operators Association. The group, which represents airport managers at the state's many airports, functions as a kind of sister organization that helps monitor legislation that might impact airports and business aviation. "They keep us in tune with things going on in the state," said Retrum. "And, we can be a kind of lobbying extension going out to the public and our private members saying, 'This is something you need to pay attention to that could affect your business'."

The partnership already has paid off, as the groups were able to defeat property tax legislation that would have been detrimental to airports and aviation interests. "There were some significant clauses in there that would have directly impacted airport tenants and authorities," Purvis said. "We were successful in getting the word out to aviation interests in the stateā€¦that eventually led to those bills failing."