OAA Annual Conference Recap 

OAA Annual Business Meeting Discusses the State of Aviation in Ohio

Columbus, OH - On April 30 - May 2, 2024, the Ohio Aviation Association (OAA) held its Annual Conference at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Columbus, Ohio. The event brought together aviation professionals, legislators, and other stakeholders to discuss the current state of aviation in Ohio and explore future opportunities for the industry.

The event began with the monthly OAA Board meeting.  Here the OAA Board of Directors welcomed new board members a welcome message from outgoing OAA President Lisa Dalpiaz and an introduction of incoming OAA President Amanda McGee. In his second year as the OAA Executive Director, Tony Fiore, also addressed attendees.

The opening general session was led by Shannetta R. Griffin, P.E., Associate Administrator of Airports for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Later that evening, the OAA hosted a legislative reception welcoming lively conversation amongst conference attendees and members of the 135th Ohio General Assembly.

The next morning, attendees were engaged in a Legislator Aviation Panel. The panel featured Ohio legislators including The Honorable Adam Holmes, Chair of the House Aviation & Aerospace Committee, The Honorable Bill DeMora, Member of the Senate Transportation Committee, and The Honorable Bill Reineke, Vice Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Next up attendees heard important updates from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Great Lakes Region and DET-ADO.  Speakers during this session included Dominika Drozdzal, Senior Advisor, Great Lakes Region; Richard Kula, Manager, Planning and Programming Branch, Airports Division, Great Lakes Region; and John L. Mayfield Jr., Manager, Detroit Airports District Office.

Attendees then made their way to breakout sessions.  This year’s conference introduced two separate tracks for attendees to choose from – general aviation or commercial service.  They heard about important topics surrounding risk stacking; stormwater master plans; hanger; upgrading an ATCT; airport zoning; design to construction; runway rehabilitation; and minimum viable infrastructure for enabling advanced air mobility.

Another new panel discussion this year was regarding creative airport funding.  During this panel Terry Slaybaugh with JobsOhio gave an aviation growth overview.   Sarah Spees with the Dayton Development Coalition discussed the Sierra Nevada MRO at Dayton International Airport.  Ryan Blackburn with JobsOhio discussed military and federal sector projects.  And Susan Restrepo with the Ohio Department of Development discussed other airport property opportunities. 

Attendees ended the evening enjoying a jazz band trio and trying their luck on a few various casino games.

The final day of the conference started off with an education panel discussion titled "From Classroom to Aviation Career – Connecting Aviation Education Programs to Today’s Workforce.  The panelists included Dr. I. Richmond Nettey, Professor, Aviation Management, Kent State University and two students discussing their capstone project; Dr. D. Blake Stringer, Director, Center for Aviation Studies, The Ohio State University College of Engineering; Dr. David J Miller, ​A&P Mechanic, Associate Professor, Aviation Technology, Sinclair Community College; and Catherine E. Smith, Teaching Professor, FAA Chief Instructor, Bowling Green State University Flight Center.

Next up ODOT’s Office of Aviation, Director, Jim Bryant, and Matthew Preisler, Aviation Planner/Project Manager, Consultant, ODOT Office of Aviation, provided an update on the Ohio Airport System Plan to Ohio airport stakeholders.

Attendees then went to a series of breakout sessions, including streamlining procurement services for airport grant projects; coordinating logistics; airport pavement maintenance; generating revenue through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and renewable energy.

During lunch attendees heard from our keynote speaker, Ohio’s 66th Lieutenant Governor, Jon Husted.  The Lt. Governor spoke about economic and workforce development as well as the investments in infrastructure around the state.

The annual scholarship presentation and awards ceremony marked a milestone for the association.  Due to the efforts of volunteers and generosity of donors the newly created Ohio Aviation Foundation was able to double the number of recipients and amounts granted out to aviation students.  Connor Pessler from Miami University and Brendan Kleman from Kent State University were awarded $2,500 each for their respective aviation studies.  In addition, Monica Chakerian and Hafid Yabarow both from Columbus State Community College were awarded $1,000 each.

The program then moved on to recognize three aviation professionals that stood out among the rest over the past year.  Candace McGraw, President & CEO of CVG Airport was recognized with the Aviator of the Year Award recognizing her decades of contributions to the aviation industry.  Josh Tattrie, Airport Manager of Lima-Allen County Regional Airport, was recognized as the Airport Manager of the Year.  Finally, Aviation Student of the Year award went to Erin Walling.  She recently completed two separate Associates of Applied Science degrees in Aviation Maintenance Technology and is currently studying for the FAA testing so she can complete her A&P certifications.

The conference ended after roundtable discussions for both general aviation and commercial service airports.

The dates are set for the 2025 OAA Annual Conference.  They are April 29-May 1, 2025.  The event will once again be held at the Renaissance Downtown Columbus.  Save the dates!  We look forward to seeing you at the conference next year!

For more information on the Ohio Aviation Association, membership, and future events, please visit www.ohioaviation.org.




OAA Calendar of Events

  • June 20, 2024 - Board Meeting - Regional Event (TBD)
  • July 25, 2024 - Board Meeting - SW Ohio Regional Event (I68)
  • August 22, 2024 - Board Meeting - Erie-Ottawa International Airport (KPCW) 
  • September 19, 2024 - Board Meeting - Virtual
  • September 27, 2024 - Norm J. Crabtree Scholarship Golf Outing - Golf Club of Dublin (Dublin)
  • October 24, 2024 - Board Meeting - Virtual
  • November 21, 2024 - Board Meeting - Virtual
  • December 4, 2024 - Legislative Reception in Columbus at the Ohio Statehouse
  • December 19, 2024 - Board Meeting - Virtual

Ohio Airport Events

  • August 17, 2024 - Mid-Eastern Regional Fly-In (MERFI Wings & Wheels) - Grimes Field - Click here for more info.



Please send me the events happening at your airports!


Welcome to the Ohio Aviation Association

The Ohio Aviation Association is a non-profit association that brings many together to strengthen the voice of aviation in the State of Ohio. Members consist of:

  • airport management & staff
  • city & county commissioners
  • aviation engineers/planning professionals
  • fixed base operators & direct service providers
  • aviation students
  • aviation education institutions
  • aviation enthusiasts 
Learn More About Us


OAA Political Action Committee - Call for Support

The Ohio Aviation Association Political Action Committee (OAA PAC) would like to thank those who have supported our efforts in 2023. Without your assistance, the OAA PAC would not have been able to provide over $5,500 in donations to Ohio legislators that support aviation in 2023.  We ask you to consider supporting our efforts into 2023 and 2024 because our work is not done. The latest federal legislation that provides funding for airports brings the need to continue to talk about airports with state legislators.  We will work to ensure Ohio can fully realize all the federal funding that is due to our eligible airports.

We cannot do this without your assistance! To learn more about OAA PAC, or to contribute, please click the button below:

Learn More About OAA PAC


Member Highlight

Our Member Highlight program will periodically highlight members. The purpose is to bring attention to recently completed airport projects, or upcoming projects, in Ohio as well as highlight airport economic impacts in one, easy-to-read document. Once completed, this one-page speaking piece can be used by members when speaking with officials, OAA will use it to spread the news of Ohio's airports, and more!  Contact us at [email protected] for more information on how to get your airport or business highlighted!

Learn More About the Member Highlight Program

Our newest member highlight: