Janice K. Barden, the founder of Aviation Personnel International (API) who was well known within the business aviation community for her contributions over nearly six decades, died on July 31.
Born in Cleveland, Barden obtained a degree in industrial psychology from Kent State University and then spent 15 years working for an airline personnel placement firm. In 1971, she decided to start her own business, API, in New Orleans, establishing the first female-owned and –operated personnel search firm dedicated to business aviation. The firm, now run by her daughter Sheryl Barden, had since placed thousands of professionals in the business aviation field.
Barden had been actively involved with NBAA, serving eight terms as the local committee chair for the association’s annual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition. She also helped create the annual NBAA Careers in Business Aviation Day.
In 1992, Barden was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to a presidential blue ribbon panel to research training options to address the pilot and aviation maintenance technician shortage. She further was appointed to the President’s committee for the rehabilitation of returning Vietnam prisoner-of-war (POW) pilots.
“In everything she did, Jan always made people feel special and valued. She will be greatly missed,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. Barden was the recipient of numerous awards, including NBAA’s John P. “Jack” Doswell Award for her lifelong achievement in support of business aviation and the NBAA American Spirit Award for her pursuit of excellence and service to others in aviation. She also received a National Aeronautic Association Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award and was inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.
“I am immeasurably proud of the lifelong accomplishments and impact that my mother has made in the lives of professionals working in business aviation,” Sheryl Barden said. Along with her daughter, Janice K. Barden is survived by her husband Chuck McKinnon, the former head of IBM’s flight department.