Breaking News: Tom Poberezny Out as Head of EAA

Surprise announcement came on Tuesday.

Retire Big

Retire Big

EAA Chairman Tom Poberezny abruptly retired from the organization on Tuesday in a small event that wasn’t widely announced.

During his improvised remarks at that ceremony, Poberezny thanked EAA members and stressed that the real strength of the organization was in its members and that the greatest pride he took in the job was in the success of the organization and of the members and volunteers.

The impact that Tom Poberezny had on the organization cannot be overestimated. While his focus on the business side of the organzation came at the expense, some argued, of its grass roots constituency, his leadership paved the way for a larger, more powerful and more energetic organization.

One such example was in the staggering growth of the annual airshow, which was renamed AirVenture under his leadership, as well as the improvement of the grounds to their state-of-the-art configuration today. His focus on growing the organization into a general aviation organization was also a theme of his leadership. Under his watch, the EAA became a powerful lobbying organization fighting for the rights of not just pilots and owners of amatueur-built aircraft but of all of general aviation up through light jets. AirVenture, in fact, has in recent years become a popular spot for the launch of business aviation programs.
Poberezny's father, Paul, founded the organization in 1953 from the family home outside Milwaukee and ran it throughout the 1980s.

Wednesday will mark the first day in 58 years that the organization was not headed by a member of the family.

The location of Poberezny’s farewell speech was appropriate, under the brown EAA arch that was the original entrance to the show when the event moved to Oshkosh decades ago. Poberezeny remarked that “millions of people have passed under that brown arch to fulfill their aviation dreams,” and in so saying, contentedly counted himself as one of those people.

View his retirement speech below.