NBAA Announces 2020 Leadership and LEAP Scholarship Recipients

Sierra Grimes, NBAA Senior Manager, Registration and NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen presenting at the NBAA 2020 Leadership Conference. NBAA

Four young “Emerging Leaders” were recently award scholarships by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) to attend the association’s 2020 Leadership Conference, held Februray 24 to 26, 2020, in Orlando, Florida. The four recipients received awards with a value equivalent of $2,000 to pay for expenses associated with their attendance at the conference. One additional recipient was selected by NBAA and FlightSafety International to attend FlightSafety International LEAP training. This generous donation from FlightSafety International offers an additional opportunity for a recipient to take advantage of leadership training that can help individuals grow both personally and professionally.

NBAA’s longtime Leadership Conferences are designed for current and future leaders in all facets of the business aviation industry, from aircraft operators to vendors who provide products and services within the industry. The 2020 Leadership Scholarships were sponsored by donations from both industry and the association’s Business Aviation Management Committee members. Representatives from each of these companies were hand at the Leadership Conference to recognize this year’s recipients.

“In some ways, emerging leaders are going to adapt to what business aviation is like today, but in other ways, they will shape what business aviation is like tomorrow,” said Jo Damato, CAM, vice president, educational strategy and workforce development. “I think one of the best things employers can do is listen to them – give them the chance to lead conversations to figure out how we meet in the middle—they will certainly inspire us to make some changes that will make our industry better now, and in the future.”

The 2020 Leadership Conference recipients were:

Ava Shubat: An IS-BAO accredited auditor based out of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Shubat said she hopes to work in flight department leadership in the next 10 years. By attending the Leadership Conference, she believed she would be equipped to become a “better leader and succeed at these goals and continue to promote aviation safety across the industry.”

Elliott Taub: An assistant aviation department manager, Taub has been with his company for more than 13 years. In addition to his position as a captain for the fleet, he oversees maintenance and dispatching functions within a small departmental team. The opportunity to attend the Leadership Conference will allow him to “disseminate new concepts, techniques, and strategies to their team that will translate into continuous operational and safety improvements.” Taub is also a Certified Aviation Manager (CAM).

Melanie Hight: A flight instructor with OpenAir and a recent graduate of Western Michigan University, Hight looks forward to networking at the Leadership Conference and gaining tangible skills to help her grow in her career.

Zachary Falkenberry: Falkenberry, a captain for Quest Diagnostics, has worked in all facets of aviation. He believes attending the NBAA Leadership Conference allowed him to continue building his network and learning from current mentors in the industry. He also is working on his CAM certification and said meeting leaders in the industry would help him prepare for the exam.

In addition to the four NBAA Leadership scholarships, Emmanuel Munoz, a corporate pilot based out of Dubuque, Iowa, was chosen to attend the FlightSafety International LEAP training. This donation by FlightSafety International is geared toward aviation professionals who are current or aspiring leaders, have support from their management teams, are actively pursuing leadership development and have a willingness to provide course testimonials if needed. Munoz began his aviation career in the Navy, and after starting as an intern with his current company, he has worked his way up to captain in three years. “Attending the LEAP training will help me develop the thought process, decision-making abilities, and vision that is required of an aviation department leader,” Munoz said.

“They say there’s nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come—and it was clear from the energy and enthusiasm of our young Leadership Conference attendees, they are ready to help lead our industry into the future,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, who in his address to open the conference highlighted the continued importance of safety, technology, diversity and sustainability in a fast-paced, dynamic industry.

Bolen also reinforced the need to engage with elected officials in support of business aviation. His opening address culminated with a call-to-action as attendees used their smartphones to express support of H.R. 5118 and S. 3303, the Promoting Service in Transportation Act.

Dan Pimentel is an instrument-rated private pilot and former airplane owner who has been flying since 1996. As an aviation journalist and photographer, he has covered all aspects of the general and business aviation communities for a long list of major aviation magazines, newspapers and websites. He has never met a flying machine that he didn’t like, and has written about his love of aviation for years on his Airplanista blog. For 10 years until 2019, he hosted the popular ‘Oshbash’ social media meetup events at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

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