Olcott Responds to Warren’s Assertions

 - October 4, 2007, 7:32 AM

Former NBAA president Jack Olcott weighed in on the NBAA contretemps with a letter sent to member representatives. In it, he said Robert Warren’s letter reflects a “deficiency of knowledge” of the organization. Olcott, who served as president of NBAA from May 1992 until Shelly Longmuir succeeded him last July, challenged several of the “troubling management issues” that Warren enumerated.

According to Olcott, the financial management of NBAA during his watch was “sufficiently prudent” to oversee a tripling of NBAA’s revenues and quadrupling of its uncommitted reserves. And while membership increased 2.5 times, staff size went up only 1.7 times during the same 11-year period. He said the association received unqualified audits with strong endorsement for its financial management.
NBAA’s legal counsel reviewed all significant contracts, he said, and all requests for expenditures above a certain level required his signature. He personally reviewed all checks, and travel requests were approved “via a traveler scheme.”

Contrary to a magazine article generated by Warren that characterized NBAA as a “sleepy organization,” Olcott said the association took “high visibility” positions on many issues–from the user-fee debate on Capitol Hill to regulatory issues such as FAA regulation of fractional aircraft operations (FAR Part 91 Subpart K). NBAA also led the effort to place the “Business Wings” exhibit in the National Air & Space Museum and assumed a leadership position on international activities related to business aviation.

“From my discussions with colleagues,” said Olcott, “I believe the GA community did not perceive the new NBAA president and executive v-p either as engaged in business aviation or as coalition builders.”

Olcott, who now operates his own business aviation consulting firm, also took issue with Warren’s allegation that the board’s actions were influenced by the possibility that the resignation of NBAA’s vice president of operations would be followed by the resignation of his wife, who is the association’s vice president of conventions and seminars. He said that “underestimates her professionalism and discounts the depth of the NBAA team.”

Said Olcott: “To characterize NBAA as other than highly effective, especially when the claims are from someone who was a key member of an office of the president that never seemed to find its stride, is inappropriate.”