Ohio Aviation Association Annual Awards

The OAA Annual Awards honor Ohio aviation industry leaders who have made outstanding contributions to furthering the goals of aviation in Ohio. You are invited to nominate individuals or organizations in one or more of the categories listed below. Recipients are honored at the Annual Ohio Aviation Conference each year. 2019 Award nominations are closed. Join us at our Annual Conference to see the winners! 
Check back in early 2020 to submit a nomination for an award recipient for our 2020 Annual Conference.
To read about our 2018 Award winners, click here

Submission Requirements

Any OAA member or organizational member in good standing may nominate an individual or an organization. To make the most of your nomination, provide a concise statement as to why your nominee should be recognized. Tell us how they exemplify the goals and ideals of the Ohio Aviation Association!  If your nominee is selected, we will need to work with you to obtain photos for the presentation of the award.  Nominations are only accepted via online submittals. When you are ready to submit your nomination, submit by using the 2019 Annual Awards nomination form!

Award Categories

Below are Annual Award categories.  Awards require a nomination and because of that, not all awards are presented each year.  Good luck!

Airport of the Year

Each year the OAA selects an airport which puts into practice the association's mission of promoting aviation by providing a medium for the exchange of ideas, methods, information, and experiences.  This award is an acknowledgment of an airport who has made extraordinary accomplishments in moving their airport program forward and helping move Ohio aviation forward.

Airport Manager of the Year

This award honors an individual(s), who has demonstrated historical, sustainable and profound contributions to the aviation industry and exhibited a positive impact on the industry. This individual(s) has provided continuous support of OAA’s mission and goals, as well as the growth and development of the Ohio aviation industry.

Aviator of the Year Award

This award recognizes an individual within the industry who has been an outstanding spokesperson, educator, innovator and advocate for aviation in Ohio. Nominees should demonstrate how their support through research, business development, and technical assistance and community relations has been pivotal to the aviation industry.

Airport Business of the Year

This award honors a business that has demonstrated support of OAA’s mission and goals and has made a significant impact on their community and workforce. 

Aviation Student of the Year

Ohio’s aviation industry success depends upon the engagement of its future leaders. This award recognizes an aviation student member for demonstrating leadership, service, and dedication to advancing their education in an aviation trade.

2018 Award Winners!

The Ohio Aviation Association was pleased to have awarded the following at the 2018 Annual Conference:

Aviation Student of the Year – Mason Tinney, BGSU

This student is a senior in Aviation Management and Operations (AMO) program in the Aviation Studies program at BGSU. According to the nomination, he is one of their most talented, driven, and experienced students who has taken an active role in acquiring skills and practical experience that will help him in his career. Specifically, this student has a 3.6 GPA at BGSU while maintaining a rigorous work schedule including serving as an Operations Intern at Toledo Express Airport where he works both on the operations side as well as assisting in the airport's air service development efforts. TOL has said this student is an excellent choice for this award and that he is also one of the most talented students to serve as an intern at TOL.

This student is extremely talented, dedicated, and has a wide range of experience in aviation management at a very young age. Simply put, he is one of the rising stars of aviation in the state of Ohio. In addition to working at TOL, he has also worked as a Ground Security Coordinator for Quick Flight Services at TOL. He is also a drone pilot, a certified airport inspector, and trained in wildlife hazard management prevention. As an example of his drive and motivation, even though he is graduating this summer, he approached his professor to do an independent study to earn his AAAE Certified Member certification. The nominator wrote, ‘in my five years at BGSU, I have never been surer of a student's ability to positively impact the aviation industry as I am with this student’.

Pictured left to right: Stacey Heaton (OAA Executive Director), Mason Tinney (Award Recipient), and Tory Richardson (2017-2018 OAA President)

Airport Business of the Year – Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services

This business can trace its roots back to the 1980s. As part of an emerging cargo airline, the aircraft maintenance function was (and is) vital to safety and reliability. The aviation technicians for this company maintained one of the most reliable and on-time airline fleets in the industry. The company purchased used DC-9s and retrofitted them, in-house; the company still holds today several supplemental-type certificates (STCs) that were a part of those conversions. Fast forward to 2009, at one of the toughest points in the modern economy to stand up a new business, this business started forging a new path as a maintenance repair organization (MRO). Today, operating out of four large hangars of specialized component overhaul space, the company now employs 800 aircraft maintenance technicians, inspectors, machinists and more. Its manufacturing division boasts the ability to reverse engineer aircraft parts which are not available in the market with state-of-the-art machining, painting, heat treating and finishing equipment.

This business demonstrates the mission and goals of the Ohio Aviation Association and has had a significant impact on local and regional employment and the broader community. Some of the recent additions include the in-house classes that allow students with interest in mechanical processes and an aptitude for how things work, to attend classes, on the job, and gain the certificate to allow them to work on aircraft structures. A partnership with the University of Akron resulted in a state-of-the-art coating process being developed in-house to mitigate corrosion of aircraft parts. A partnership with the local vocational school allows graduating airframe and powerplant mechanics to spend two years with the company exploring all facets of the profession, allowing them to determine what tasks fit their skill sets the best.

Choosing to maintain a local presence in the face of options to find more lucrative markets demonstrated a commitment to the community and the local workforce. Using the strength of its parent company, this business advocates for the industry and continues to forge new pathways. The most recent hangar built for operations includes facilities to complete an operation for which it holds an STC and is one of the only companies in the world certified to complete it. It competes on a global scale and wins, continuing to draw airline business to the airport and the region. As a member of the network that situates Ohio as one of the largest aviation supplier states in the nation, this Business continues to deliver value and service to the industry. It enhances the region, and community, with quality jobs and many in-house opportunities for new technicians, as well as those who have spent a lifetime in the industry.

Pictured from left to right: Stacey Heaton (OAA Executive Director), Dan Evers (Executive Director of Clinton County Port Authority), Jim Savastano (General Manager, Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services), Brady Templeton (President, Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services), and Tory Richardson (2017-2018 OAA President)

Airport Manager of the Year – Douglas Hammon, OSU Airport

Doug Hammon has served as the Airport Director at the Ohio State University Airport since 1999. Previously Doug served as Director at the Butler County Airport and has served as an Airport Planner for the ODOT in the early 90s. Doug is a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives. He has served as a lecturer for the Center for Aviation Studies of over 15 years. And presently lectures as well for the Knowlton School of Architecture. A Past President of OAA, Doug continues to serve as an at-large Board member.

Doug has served the OH aviation community in numerous ways. In his role as Airport Director for one of the busiest airports in OH, Doug has led by example, running an airport in business-like fashion, promoting the use of aviation, supporting the flying community and maximizing the economic impact of his facility. Doug and his staff have run the FBO for many years, establishing a profitable operation that provides excellent customer service and serves as an economic benefit generator for the University and the area. Doug has served as a mentor to numerous young aviation professionals and has served as a ready resource for many other airports that sought out his experience or knowledge about leases, contracts, fueling, etc. Doug has led the OSU Airport through difficult seasons with neighbors yet building a strong working relationship that has enabled the airport to again pursue a needed and aggressive development program.

Doug has engaged thousands of elementary school children at his airport, sparking the love of aviation for many. Doug has served all of OH aviation through his leadership at OAA, his continued willingness to serve in whatever ways he can, and he has been a ready and able messenger as all of us at OAA have learned to "Tell the story" of aviation and its impact to all Ohioans.

Pictured from left to right: Stacey Heaton (OAA Executive Director), Douglas Hammon (Airport Director, the Ohio State University Airport, and Tory Richardson (2017-2018 OAA President)

Airport of the Year – Erie Ottawa International Airport

This Airport has earned a solid reputation with its clients and the community, by making decisions that will not only positively affect the airport and its tenants, but also bring growth to local businesses, and enhance the local tourist industry. The airport director is adept at balancing the needs of the airport to keep it running smoothly with what is required to maintain current tenants’ satisfaction while attracting new customers. The airport team has always demonstrated unyielding integrity, exemplary customer service, and great respect and appreciation for its customers. The airport does not believe in an “Us vs. Them” approach, but rather actively seeks to involve the community so that a level of development and growth is achieved which will benefit all parties.

The focus on customer satisfaction is being reflected in the significant growth the airport has experienced. With all the development and growth, in the last 5 years, there has been an increase in fuel sales by 350 percent and a revenue increase of 400 percent. This growth comes back to the community in the form of employment. There has been an increase of staff, from three full time and two part-time employees, to now having five full time and three part-time employees.

The community supports the airport and recognizes its value. Service to the islands, and international services with its newly instated customs facility, is of great benefit to the county. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, now located on airport property, adds a dimension of development that will attract international travel and be an asset for potential commerce. The sense of community pride is not falling short with the work put in by hosting the very popular community events. Even Santa Claus stops by for a visit during the holidays! The airport believes in the importance of sharing their passion for aviation to the community not only through the fly-ins, but also by coordinating and hosting two sessions of a summer camp for junior pilots! The program teaches the young and young at heart all aspects of aviation, from being a pilot, to mechanics, history and the joys of flying. From the staff that greats all visitors with a smile on their face to the joy and excitement they bring to the community with events, the passion for aviation, the community pride and the love of the job, is apparent in their strong growth rates.

Pictured from left to right: Stacey Heaton (OAA Executive Director), Stan Gebhardt (Airport Manager, Erie Ottawa International Airport), and Tory Richardson (2017-2018 OAA President)

Aviator of the Year – Dwight Bowden

This person is a graduate of The Ohio State University and an Army Veteran. He is an active pilot (SEL, INST, SES) and an aircraft owner. He was appointed to a specific Ohio Airport Authority in 2008 and elected President of the Authority in 2011. He owns a small business based in Mentor, Ohio named OH Technologies. OH Technologies, Inc. specializes in the design, manufacture, and distribution of critical hardware components for standardized engine oil testing.

In 2017, the Airport Authority completed a $9 million project which resulted in the reconstruction of the airport and the upgrade of the runway environment to the latest FAA standards for ARC-C2 airports. Moving this project, which began in 2003, to completion required broad community involvement in generating local match dollars for the FAA Grant as well as great coordination with the FAA, local, state and federal offices. This award recipient provided the strong leadership for this complex project that removed barriers and kept the project moving. In the end, the result was a first-class airport with ARC C-2 classification and an Ohio State operating certificate for a fully compliant airport. One of the few airports in Ohio gaining such certification. His leadership of the Airport Authority resulted in a change in airport operations that centered on ethical behaviors and respect for customers safety and service requirements. Manuals were developed for airport operations as well as human resources management. All of this is available thru the OAA library.

To improve Airport Authority governance, this award recipient proposed changing Ohio law to allow members of the authority to attend meetings by teleconference and worked with our State Representative and the OAA to effect a change in the law. This change affected both Airport Authorities and Port Authorities and helps to recruit and retain strong leaders from our community. Northeast Ohio Regional Airport has long-term financing problems shared with all Ohio airports. He enlisted the Cleveland Foundation to help provide for future financing for airport needs. Three charitable funds were created to provide tax-advantaged donation opportunity for local donors. These funds focus on airport operations, capital improvements, and debt retirement. He has shared the concept with OAA members during past conferences as well as a Webinar. With the completion of the runway project, he is working with local government officials and various local groups to include airport sponsorship of official activities. These include participating in discussions Appalachian Regional Commission and our county commissioners in developing broadband installations in rural areas of our county. We are also working with The Kent State University in expanding local career opportunities which could include airport facilities and sponsoring local celebrations such as the Wine and Walleye event in the Ashtabula Harbor during the summer. The airport is also one of the sponsors of a Remote Access Medical (RAM) event planned for April of 2018. To support Ohio Aviation and promote the Northeast Ohio Regional Airport, this recipient has invited political candidates at the local, state, and Federal level participating in primary and general elections to visit the airport and discuss the value of the airport to the community and how airport development will enhance economic opportunities.

Pictured from left to right: Stacey Heaton (OAA Executive Director), Dwight Bowden (President of Ashtabula County Airport Authority and President of OH Technologies, Inc.), and Tory Richardson (2017-2018 OAA President)