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Five Questions for New Board Member Richard Walsh

October 24, 2013

NBAA caught up with newly elected NBAA Board member Richard Walsh, vice president of global aviation and travel security services for the Hewlett-Packard Company, to hear his thoughts on NBAA, its Convention and the value of mentoring students and building the aviation talent pipeline. Walsh was elected to a three-year term on the Board during the NBAA 66th Annual Meeting held on Oct. 23 in Las Vegas, NV.

Q. Why did you want to join NBAA’s Board of Directors and what are your goals for your term on the Board?

A. I want to improve the Association’s capabilities in articulating the value that business aviation brings to companies and the general public. I have a genuine interest in helping the Association understand the future risks that are going to impact business aviation, and help them mitigate those risks.

I have significant concern around the talent that’s going to manage business aviation, so it’s about closing the gaps in the talent pipeline by helping NBAA provide people with a view into exciting career opportunities and the challenges that it offers so we can build the future of business aviation.

I’ve been an NBAA Member for 17 years and I was on the Safety Committee for 13 years, serving as committee chairman for three years.

Q. What do you think is the Association’s most important role in the industry?

A. I think the Association’s most important role is it provides the infrastructure that operators can use to navigate the hurdles from an operational standpoint, a financial standpoint, a safety standpoint and a regulatory standpoint.

It’s also the government relations piece. We [Member Companies] are just not equipped in our organizations to stay up on all the relevant issues and I think the NBAA is really on top of that in terms of keeping on eye on what could impact the industry from a regulatory and political standpoint, and the Association has the infrastructure to do that.

Q. What do you see as the role of NBAA’s Convention within the industry?

A. I think it’s a tremendous venue, and I think the NBAA has done an excellent job of really making it efficient. I think it’s strategic, it’s operational and it’s informative. It’s delivered in a concise fashion that’s accessible to all Members, so to me that’s very attractive. Also, it’s a great opportunity for strategic meetings for all the committees.

It allows our company to connect with key stakeholders in a common venue that we can’t do elsewhere, and it allows us to bring in potentially key vendors that may need to be part of the discussion, which otherwise wouldn’t happen. It just allows us to have collaborative meetings and get up-to-date information on technology so when we are meeting with vendors we can be educated.

Q. At Convention and throughout the year, NBAA works with high school and college students to show them the near-limitless career opportunities in business aviation. Why is it important to work with youth?

A. That’s an area that I’m going to be focusing on in my tenure on the board. I think we [in business aviation] have to do a better job of providing a better view into the tremendous long-term career opportunities in business aviation for someone who is getting out of high school and going into college.

Young people are looking for a career that’s going to challenge them, that’s going to make a difference in the world, and I think business aviation is that venue.

I think we’ve got a lot of work to do yet in that area and we’ve got some gaps to close. NBAA is taking the right steps. We have to start at the grassroots level, leveraging our regional forums and the different programs, to help provide a better view into the career opportunities for people who want to do more than just fly or turn a wrench – we offer that.

Q. What do you view as the most important benefit NBAA offers its Members?

A. I would say it’s government relations. That’s such an important component. I have significant trust in the NBAA leadership to accurately represent the industry and move forward with our position and give us a seat at the table on many of these issues.

I stay up on what’s going on in Washington, but I rely on the NBAA to have the impact so I can focus on the regional side. Government relations is the most critical component.

Biography of Richard Walsh

Newly elected NBAA Board member Richard Walsh is currently the vice president of global aviation and travel security services for the Hewlett-Packard Company, where he is responsible for the operational and strategic oversight of executive flight operations and travel security initiatives. Prior to joining Hewlett-Packard, Walsh worked as vice present of aviation and business continuity for Cardinal Health. Before that he worked for 20 years for United Airlines in multiple training and flight operations leadership roles.

Walsh is past chairman of the NBAA Safety Committee and currently serves on the Southern Illinois University Aviation Management Advisory Board. He has accumulated more than 16,000 hours of diverse flight experience and is type rated on seven different turbo-jet aircraft. This is Walsh’s first term on the NBAA Board.

View the full NBAA Board roster.