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Members Step Up to Leadership Council

Atlanta, GA, October 19, 2010

Over the past two years, as business aviation has faced unprecedented political, regulatory and public perception challenges, many NBAA Members have come to the industry's defense. Perhaps most impressive, over 20 Member Companies have gone the extra mile and made a $10,000 investment to join the Association's Leadership Council, which helps NBAA advocate on behalf of the industry.

Chris Strong, NBAA's vice president of membership marketing, said the Leadership Council significantly strengthens the Association, enabling it to better promote business aviation by helping fund initiatives like the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign.

"The best people to convey the importance of business aviation to local communities and the national economy are in the business aviation community itself," said Strong. "In order to facilitate policies and perceptions that promote the growth of business aviation, many members of our industry must be aggressive advocates in Washington DC and with the media."

Two people who have stepped up to the plate are James E. Cooling, managing partner of Cooling & Herbers PC, the Kansas City aviation law firm, and Patrick Epps, president of Epps Aviation, the Atlanta-based FBO.

Cooling, an aircraft owner and pilot who served for nine years on the NBAA Tax Committee and another nine years on the NBAA Board of Directors, said he joined the Leadership Council because he wanted "to find a way to continue to make meaningful contributions to an organization and an industry I strongly believe in." Noting that his 25-person firm is among the smallest companies on the council, he feels his involvement helps give voice to small companies. But he encourages all companies that have benefitted from the industry to give back.

Pat Epps, a veteran pilot and multiple NBAA award winner whose FBO has been a fixture in Atlanta for 45 years, gladly donated money to support "this wonderful industry" because he believes advocacy is vitally needed today. Concerned about some politicians' negative attitudes toward business aviation, as well as the impact of overreaching regulations, he feels everyone in the industry needs to speak up to ensure business aviation's future.

Cooling and Epps obviously are deeply involved in industry advocacy because they believe it is the right thing to do. However, they also enjoy the benefits of Leadership Council membership, which include a detailed political briefing from NBAA staff, recognition on the Leadership Council section of the NBAA web site, and complimentary seats to the NBAA/CAN Charity Benefit and the exclusive President's Reception held during the Annual Meeting & Convention.

If you are interested in joining the Leadership Council, contact NBAA Vice President, Membership Chris Strong at For more information or to review the latest list of council members, visit