Local/regional groups foster and protect bizav

 - November 26, 2007, 7:59 AM

The number of local business aviation advocacy groups has continued to swell to 48 associations as part of an attempt by business aviation users to promote this industry segment. Last year there were 43 such groups, a 40-percent increase from 2000.

While NBAA’s job is to promote and protect business aviation, its
efforts over the last couple of years have largely focused on federal
issues, and for good reason in this post-9/11 world. To fill in the gaps, NBAA has been fostering the development of local business aviation associations.

In fact, at the 2000 NBAA Convention, a networking meeting was held for leaders of these groups. At that huddle, NBAA released a set of guidelines for local/regional business aviation groups. The document is a road map to help those interested in forming such an association with like-minded aviation professionals in the area.

In mid-2001 NBAA took a stronger role when it formed the Local Business Aviation Organization Committee. The standing committee, led by Arizona Business Aviation Association founder Richard Schuller, is made up of representatives from local business aviation groups across the U.S. It held its first meeting at the 2001 NBAA Convention in New Orleans, and met again for the third time last month at the NBAA show in Orlando, Fla.

At the meeting, Phil Roberts, NBAA board member and committee liaison, introduced new NBAA president Shelley Longmuir to the gathered local association heads. Afterward, Joe Ponte, NBAA vice president of membership, distributed an updated vision plan, and two presentations–one on risk-management cost issues for associations and one on security issues, including how to interact with a local TSA director– were given. Jeff Lee, director of IBM flight operations, also discussed the successful aviation career fair held last fall at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. The second such fair was held late last month.

Additionally, Schuller talked about what can be done to promote the growth of more local groups around the nation. On that note, he brought floppy discs loaded with pertinent data for any attendees needing assistance with startup bylaws, mission statement and so on.

Nominations were also held for committee vice chairman. Several individuals expressed interest in running, and they will submit their qualifications to NBAA’s board of directors, which will then choose one of the nominees to be vice chairman. Afterward, the gathering wrapped up with an open discussion seeking input on how to improve communication among the local groups.