Aviation Industry Policy Expert Retires

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ACI-NA Announces Retirement of Deborah McElroy…

Started at Regional Airlines Association

Highly refined skills as to Administration

Commanded technical expertise needed at both

Will be missed

Trade associations provide a vital function in Washington. Congress and the Executive Branch are all too willing to act with little or no facts. Carrying complex messages to DC’s policy makers requires hours and hours creating relationships and communicating with those with the power to decide legislative and regulatory parameters for an industry. That effort is intense and expensive.

An Association needs to run efficiently and earn revenues to accomplish these goals. The technical staff is charged with knowing the regulations better than the agency staff. It is possible, however, to have too much talent and the senior management must exercise judgment as to balancing talent.

With those items on the expense ledger, it is incumbent on the association’s leadership to raise the funds to pay for the organization. Dues notices are not welcome messages; so, collateral services are the path to painless revenue generation.

All of that is hard to do for one organization- learning the technical aspect of a business in order to deal with policy issues in an intelligent fashion, allocating scarce staff resources to issues with the greatest impact to your members, etc. Perhaps most significantly, listening to the people who pay the dues and formulating a realistic agenda to represent the industry.

Debby McElroy has more than met the requirements described above for two trade associations- the Regional Airlines Association and the Airports Council International, NA. The transition from representing operators of regional airlines to representing airports is unusual, almost unique[1], in the aviation trade association realm.








ACI-NA Announces Retirement of Deborah McElroy…

December 3, 20108

WASHINGTON – Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) today announced longtime Executive Vice President Deborah C. McElroy will retire from the organization, effective December 31, 2018… Following her retirement, McElroy will continue to serve ACI-NA in an advisory capacity for special projects.

“Everyone at ACI-NA – including me – has greatly benefited from Debby’s guidance on all facets of aviation during her years of service to the North American airport industry,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke.  “She has been a trusted advisor to our members and a passionate advocate for shaping sound aviation policy throughout her career.  Her leadership will be missed, but we wish her well in her retirement.”

McElroy joined ACI-NA in 2006, as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs after serving seven years as President of the Regional Airline Association (RAA).  Named ACI-NA Executive Vice President in 2007, McElroy oversaw the safety and security, environmental and technical operations departments, coordinating policy and regulatory issues to effectively advance the airport industry agenda.

“Debby’s deep understanding of aviation and her ability to bring stakeholders together have made us a stronger industry,” said Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport CEO and ACI-NA Board of Directors Chair Candace McGraw.  “Her significant contributions to our industry have well-positioned us for continued success as we prepare for the next generation of air travel, especially as Matt steps into this well-deserved role.”

Prior to joining RAA in 1987, McElroy was employed by the U.S. International Trade Commission as their senior aerospace industry analyst and the U.S. Department of Labor as an international economist. A graduate of the University of Maryland, with a degree in economics, McElroy has more than 30 years of experience in aviation, regulatory, and trade issues.

Debby’s commitment to advancing airport industry priorities is unparalleled,” said Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority Executive Director and ACI-NA Board of Directors Vice Chair Lew Bleiweis.  “She has diligently worked on behalf of U.S. and Canadian airports, helping them to serve their customers and communities.  We thank her for her contributions to our industry, and we look forward to working with Matt to further advance the industry.”

Debby has been a true aviation industry association professional and provides an excellent role model for those who choose her career path.


[1] Bob Aaronson, ATA 1989-1992; ACI World 2002-2008


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