GOOD NEWS –NATA and NBAA have excellent leadership

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NATA Announces Leadership Transition

The Association Thanks Martin H. Hiller for his Service and Welcomes Gary Dempsey as its New President

NBAA Congratulates Board Chair, Gen. Lloyd ‘Fig’ Newton, 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy Recipient

NATA announces new President from industry

NBAA’s chair receives Wright Brothers Trophy 

The above two important announcements from aviation trade associations about their leadership.

Aviation policy is a competitive business in Washington. First and foremost, the goal is to assure that legislative and/or regulatory actions do not harm this sector viz-a-viz other businesses; in these days of increasingly tight federal budgets and of a stagnated agenda, there are battles over dollars and floor time. Second and sadly, there is increasing tension within the flight business.

Recent history has pronounced that these executives know more than policy and lobbying. The most stable associations have established business models that work plus, the leadership must be vigilant on office expenses, accounting, personnel issues, insurance and collateral services which their members need. Attention to all of the constituencies within a single association is more difficult than one would expect.

With that background, what’s the news?

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Gary Dempsey as its new President. He succeeds Martin (Marty) H. Hiller, who assumed the role of NATA’s President in 2016, after 6 years of service on the association’s Board of Directors. Dempsey will start his duties on October 1, 2018.

“The transition follows a succession plan set up by the Board to continue leveraging the valuable experience of our members in driving association policy and effecting meaningful change within the industry.”

Unlike other air alphabet groups, NATA has had a history of electing Presidents who have theretofore been members, whose resumes reflect experience working in aviation business.

  • Hiller has developed his skills working for North Shore Holdings, LLC. The company has interests in aviation, carbon, and minerals. Primary aviation activities include the ownership of fixed-base operations, including Marathon Jet Center and Marathon General Aviation, Marathon, Florida.


  • Dempsey has a long career in aviation including Gulfstream, Jet Professionals, Jet Aviation AG, and most recently served as Jet Aviation’s Vice President of Sales Americas, where he was responsible for forming and leading the company’s aviation sales team. He was also a Member of NATA’s Board of Directors for the past 6 years, serving as Board Chair in 2014.

NATA has a strong cadre of policy experts; so, the addition of Mr. Dempsey should work well.

NBAA is constituted differently. Its President/CEO and other senior executives are highly regarded in the policy and lobbying spheres. It has a well-established source of revenues not from dues. Over the past decade or so, the NBAA Board has been filled with high profile leaders from its Member companies, which are not typically directly involved in aviation. Its past Chairman, Gen. Lloyd “Fig” Newton, will receive the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, one of America’s most prestigious aviation awards. The General’s aviation career is most impressive:


Newton served as an aviator in the U.S. Air Force for over 30 years, logging more than 4,000 flying hours, including 269 combat missions in Vietnam. In 1974, he became the first African American pilot to become a member of the famous U.S. Air Force demonstration team, “The Thunderbirds.” He retired from the Air Force in 2000 as a four-star general, then served as Pratt & Whitney’s executive vice president of international military programs and business development until 2006.

Born to a family of sharecroppers in Ridgeland, SC, Newton graduated from Jasper High School, then earned a bachelor of science degree in aviation education from Tennessee State University, where he was commissioned in 1966 through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He completed his pilot training at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona the following year. Newton has a master’s in public administration from George Washington University and holds honorary doctorates from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and South Carolina’s Benedict College.

Newton has long supported efforts to promote aviation education. He is a founding member of Polaris Tech Charter School in Jasper County, SC. He also has supported the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., an organization dedicated to the preservation of the history of African American veterans who served during World War II. Each year, the General Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton Chapter grants two $1,000 scholarships to deserving young men and women.

Today, Newton chairs NBAA’s Board of Directors and serves on the boards of L3 Technologies, Torchmark Corp. and the National Defense University. He will be inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame later this year.


These two news stories should give confidence to the Members of NATA and NBAA that their organizations have exemplary leadership, a major asset in these troublesome times in Washington.







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