2018 Annual Conference Wrap-Up

Updated April 21, 2018


Dear OAA Members and Supporters, 

April 10th and 11th, 2018, brought Ohio aviation supporters another great Annual Conference with networking, fun, and education!  The theme for the 2018 conference was "Upping the Ante for Ohio Aviation" and you helped us do just thatThe 2018 Annual Conference kicked-off with the OSU Air Force ROTC drill team’s Presentation of the Colors and opening remarks by the 2017-2018 OAA President, Tory Richardson. As Tory welcomed the attendees to this year’s chock-full agenda (no pun intended), he provided reminders of some great opportunities: The Norm J. Crabtree Scholarship Silent Auction and availability of raffle tickets for the Political Action Committee gift baskets. With a record number of attendees, the competition for winning the silent auction prizes was fierce and everyone must be prepared! 

This year’s conference agenda offered nine (9) general sessions and sixteen (16) breakout sessions over the short day-and-a-half. In addition to those numerous educational opportunities, the OAA conference offered student-specific sessions covering items such as resume tips to tips on what it takes to be successful in airport management. 

Our members and non-members alike had the opportunity to hear from both the government side of aviation (Federal Aviation Administration leaders as well as ODOT’s Jim Bryant) and some of our own business members. Sessions provided a variety of information from the latest trends from Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), FBO Operations, and national General Aviation trends to economic development strategies and do’s/don’ts of developing non-aeronautical land. For the general management seekers, an important session on how airports can remain relevant and competitive in today’s airport employee environment was presented by Mindy Price of Direct Effect Solutions, Inc. 

Whether you were learning about pavements, construction observation best practices, or the latest in air services incentives, there were sessions for every interest. For those that couldn’t choose between the great sessions, they could simply mingle with the nearly two dozen exhibitors, all with ample access to conference attendees. The new venue received rave reviews in terms of openness, lighting, and line-of-sight for our exhibitors.

This year’s Annual Business Meeting was held at 11:30 am on Tuesday. The OAA Officers and Committee Chairs presented highlights on 2017-2018 accomplishments and a quick peek at the 2018-2019 ambitions for OAA. We thanked those Directors who are departing their roles (Todd Weeber of Magellan Jets, Jeff Miller of Sinclair Community College’s UAS Program, Doug Hammon of the Ohio State University Airport, and David Price of the Northeast Ohio Regional Airport) and welcomed new or returning Directors (Maria Benovic of C&S Companies, Lisa Dalpiaz of the Akron-Canton Airport, Joe Rotterdam of the Toledo Lucas Port Authority, and Matt McVicker of Findlay Airport). The newly elected 2018-2019 President, Lance Wanamaker of Michael Baker International, was officially voted into office with the hand-off of the gavel occurring later in the evening at the end of the President’s Banquet.

The 2018 President’s Banquet had a very timely presenter, Mr. Dion Flannery, President and CEO of PSA Airlines. He educated the group on the current and detrimental issue of US pilot and mechanic shortages. After Mr. Flannery’s very succinct presentation which shed light on an industry-crippling issue, the evening proceeded with a full slate of exciting awards and scholarship winners! The 2017-2018 OAA President, Tory Richardson, and OAA Executive Director, Stacey Heaton, presented the five scholarship recipients with their certificates and checks of $500 each (in alphabetical order):

• Ms. Emily Harrell, current Ohio State University Student
• Mr. Myron Koyle, entering Kent State University Student
• Mr. Andrew Langen, current Ohio State University Student
• Ms. Bridget Reese, current Pittsburg Institute of Aeronautics Student
• Ms. Natalia Welton-Torres, current Kent State University Student

Pictured from left to right: Natalia Welton-Torres, Bridget Reese, Andrew Lange, Myron Koyle, Emily Harrell, and Tory Richardson (2017-2018 OAA President)
We had an excellent response to our 2018 scholarship application process; if you are interested in applying for future scholarships, please watch our website for next year’s announcement of application availability and deadlines! Keep in mind that the scholarships are open to all students in or entering an aviation-related degree or certification program at an Ohio institution. 

Following the smiles that crossed the stage for the scholarships, Tory Richardson and Stacey Heaton presented the Annual Awards for the Student of the Year, Aviation Business of the Year, Airport Manager of the Year, Airport of the Year and Aviator of the Year. Three of the five recipients were kept in the dark until their names were read! It was wonderful to work with the nominators to keep the proverbial cat-in-the-bag over the last several weeks! The genuine surprise on their faces was worth the wait! This year’s winners were selected from numerous submittals. Each award nomination was reviewed by the awards committee to evaluate whether the nominee exemplified the values, goals, and mission of the Ohio Aviation Association within their respective role of aviation. Each of these nominees stood-out from the others for their passion and dedication to the success of Ohio aviation. For details on the presentation language, please visit our awards pageThe Ohio Aviation Association was extremely pleased to present the following awards:

• Aviation Student of the Year: Mr. Mason Tinney, current Student at Bowling Green State University
• Aviation Business of the Year: Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services
• Airport Manager of the Year: Mr. Doug Hammon of the Ohio State University Airport
• Airport of the Year: Erie-Ottawa International Airport (presented to Stan Gebhardt, Airport Manager)
• Aviator of the Year: Mr. Dwight Bowden, President of the Ashtabula County Airport Authority

Among the plethora of scholarship winners, award recipients, and educational opportunities, the OAA conference hit the mark in terms of fun as well! Following the President’s Banquet, we enjoyed a “funny-money” casino night which allowed our members to mingle and get to know one another. With prizes going to the top three “earners,” the accolades for the casino company rang-out with a request to ensure we do it again next year!

In other conference news, the Norman J. Crabtree Scholarship Silent Auction brought in nearly $3000 and the PAC baskets brought in over $1750! Thank you to all who helped OAA in “Upping the Ante for Ohio Aviation” this year!  Under the leadership of Lance Wanamaker of Michael Baker International, we can’t wait for next year’s conference! And last, but certainly not least, thanks to OAA's Board of Directors who helped make this an incredible event this year!

Stacey Heaton, AAE
Executive Director
Are you interested in presenting at our 2019 conference? Keep a watch towards the end of 2018 for the availability of the abstract/presentation form at www.ohioaviation.org.