The Abingdon Foundation has named Holley Gardel its first "It's About Time" scholarship recipient. The foundation, established last year, has provided Gardel with airfare, accommodations, and registration to be at Heli-Expo this week in Las Vegas so she can attend seminars and meet with members of the helicopter industry.
“The aviation industry is crying out for more pilots every day. Yet companies continue to overwhelmingly focus on recruiting men to fill their jobs. There are women all over the world who—if exposed to helicopters as a viable career or hobby—might pursue the field. Why not give her a chance?” said Abingdon Foundation president Abingdon Mullin.
Mullin, an active pilot with more than 3,000 hours, has spent a majority of her career creating opportunities for women in the aviation industry. She took an interest in aviation at age 14, when some flight instructors spoke at her high school. In 2011, she dedicated a portion of her sales from her company, The Abingdon Watch Co. (Booth C2343), to offer a scholarship to bring women to the Women in Aviation Conference. She continued on to create three annual sponsorships, prompting the creation of the Abingdon Foundation last year.
“The mission of the Abingdon Foundation is to expose industries like aviation, helicopters, engineering, even horology to high-school-age students and up at their schools, community events, and through sponsorships. Each year, the Abingdon Foundation will be bringing a woman to Heli-Expo to show her how incredible the helicopter industry is and to help her find out where she fits into this crazy rotor world,” Mullin said.
As the Abingdon Foundation continues to grow, so does Abingdon Watch. Mullin told AIN that the company is expanding its range of watches—it currently offers aviation, dive, and travel watches, but the company is working with an undisclosed Nascar driver to create a racing watch. Mullin also expressed interest in expanding the company’s tactical watch offerings and creating a watch for equestrians.