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Online Extra: Regional Representation

Regional Groups Work to Promote Aviation Careers and Education

Motivating the best and brightest students to consider a career in business aviation is a focus of many regional business aviation groups. "We all had a dream of working in aviation, and many people helped us along the way," said Chris Ison, secretary of the Georgia Business Aviation Association (GBAA). "Now it's our turn to give back."

Ison, a vice president at O'Gara Aviation Company based at Atlanta's DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK), along with several others from business aviation groups around the country, earlier this year presented an NBAA regional leadership webinar to provide information about scholarship and mentoring programs, and offer tips on how to work cooperatively with educational institutions to encourage students who are interested in business aviation to pursue the profession.

The regional leadership webinar was the third in a series that NBAA produced in response to requests from business aviation groups nationwide. "NBAA wanted to provide informational resources that our regional group leaders had asked for, and we have responded by holding these three webinars," said Kristi Ivey, NBAA's Northwest regional representative, adding that additional resources will be produced based on feedback from the regional group networking session held at NBAA's recent Annual Meeting & Convention in Atlanta.

John McAlindon and Deb Vis of the West Michigan Business Aircraft Association (WMBAA) emphasize the importance of establishing a relationship with local colleges to develop and fund aviation scholarships. WMBAA holds an annual golf event that funds a thriving scholarship program that has been in growing for more than 25 years.

McAlindon said that a key goal of the scholarship program is to promote the development of future business aviation professionals in western Michigan. The partnership that he and Vis have nurtured, along with two area universities, enhances the scholarship program and helps promote it, as the two business aviation professionals are often asked to speak at college functions.

GBAA's Ison provided webinar attendees a wealth of information about how to develop and manage a mentor program, especially once a scholarship program is established. GBAA offered a mentoring program for the first time last year to all of its scholarship recipients, and the effort has already proven successful. Ison noted that a mentoring program benefits both partners, should always be kept on a professional level, and can provide knowledge and skills that might otherwise be difficult to acquire.

Integrating business aviation into the curriculum at state learning institutions was the good news story told by Lisa Swartzwelder and Eric Black of the Business Aviation Collaborative of Ohio, which partners with industry groups, state officials and educators to offer educational opportunities to students while helping meet the needs of business aviation. Six Ohio colleges participate in the program, which is being supported by the Ohio Board of Regents and includes a stand-alone course in business aviation at five of the colleges, as well as a major in business aviation at one institution.

Pictured: Students attended Career Day activities at the 2010 NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention in Atlanta, GA.


For more information on NBAA's regional group leadership webinars and other regional group information, visit or contact Kristi Ivey at