Successful NBAA Maintenance Conference Shines Focus on Industry’s Future

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 202-431-5970,

Washington, DC, May 5, 2023 – From hosting the event’s first-ever Maintenance Competition, to honoring present and former scholarship winners, the 2023 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Maintenance Conference highlighted the importance of passing along the skills and knowledge necessary for the industry’s future professionals to succeed.

More than 1,100 attendees and 164 exhibitors were on hand for the show, which featured dozens of education sessions, many of which were eligible for Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) and Inspector Authorization (IA) credits.

“With a theme of ‘Maximizing Your Personal Toolbox’ every keynote and education session, networking event and fundraising opportunity was focused on the future of the business aviation maintenance industry and encouraging attendees to share what they learned with their coworkers and colleagues,” said NBAA Director, Environmental and Technical Operations Stewart D’Leon, CAM.

“Thank you to NBAA Maintenance Committee Chair Doug Gordon and Vice Chair Nate Dietsch and the entire committee for their leadership and willingness to introduce new features to the conference,” he added.

Inspiring Keynotes

In addition to dozens of education sessions presented by industry experts on topics ranging from supply-chain issues to safety to workforce issues, the conference included two memorable keynote speakers.

To open the event, Andy Papathanassiou, a former college football player who in 1992 became NASCAR’s first-ever “pit crew coach,” said thinking like an athlete can help anyone in any profession succeed.

It’s not about physical capabilities, he explained; it’s about practice and repetition, coaching and mentoring, eliminating distractions and constantly attempting the impossible.

Understanding this, Papathanassiou said, “You will be able to climb any wall, you can bust through any barrier, you will soar as high as your aircraft, you can do anything.”

To close out the conference, retired FBI Special Agent Scott Augenbaum discussed the ins and outs of cybersecurity. Cybercrime is an $11 trillion problem, he said, and it will only get worse.

But, he added, about 90% of cybercrimes could have been prevented, adding the dark web and password reuse are a cyber criminal’s “best friend.”

“Technology is easy…human behavior is work,” Augenbaum said. “Cybersecurity is a mindset.”

First-Ever Maintenance Competition

More than 60 students from five schools took part in the conference’s first-ever Maintenance Competition, competing in five skills events. Record-setting aviator Barrington Irving also was on hand to inspire the students and present competition awards.

“We really hope that you guys consider our sector of the industry because there’s so much to offer,” he said. “I started off in this industry with three holes in the bottom of my shoes. I would never imagine where I am today.”

Participating schools included: Aviation High School – Long Island City, NY, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, CT Aerotech, Dutchess Community College and Stratford School for Aviation Maintenance Technicians.

Awards and Honors

During the conference, the Federal Aviation Administration presented its prestigious Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award to Stephen Stodolski for 50 years of professionalism, skill and expertise. The award is named for the first aviation technician in powered flight.

Stodolski, who began his career in 1969 at Pratt & Whitney, was a founding member of the NBAA Maintenance Committee in 1998.

To highlight the industry’s commitment to growing the future business aviation workforce, the NBAA Maintenance Committee presented the Maintenance AMT scholarships and Hilsmann Memorial scholarships during the conference.

Learn more about the Maintenance AMT Scholarship winners.

Learn more about the Hilsmann Memorial Scholarship winners.

The 2024 NBAA Maintenance Conference is set for April 30 – May 2 in Portland, OR.

# # #

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The association represents more than 10,000 company and professional members and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

Members of the media may receive NBAA Press Releases immediately via email. To subscribe to the NBAA Press Release email list, submit the online form.