July 3, 2015
When Steve Hadley, NBAA’s regional program director and Southwest regional representative, meets with state legislators, speaks about air traffic control concern, or promotes the benefits of business aviation, he is speaking from a wealth of first-hand experience.
“My passion for aviation goes way back, as far as I can remember,” said Hadley. He distinctly recalls the sights and smells of his first flight, when a friend took him and his father flying in a Piper J-3 Cub before the younger Hadley had entered kindergarten. “I used to look up at the sky and see airplanes, and knew I wanted to fly them.”
Despite the difficulty of finding flight training opportunities in his part of Missouri, Hadley went on to become an air medical pilot, chief pilot of a company flight department, vice president of an FBO and director of operations for two charter flight departments, among other aviation positions. It’s this broad experience that makes him ideally suited to lead NBAA’s advocacy efforts at the state and local level.
As NBAA’s Southwest regional representative for the past nine years, in addition to his role as regional program director for the past three years, Hadley is justifiably proud of the role he has played in supporting the many regional business aviation groups in his region, from the Texans for General Aviation (TFGA) to the Colorado Aviation Business Association.
“It is very gratifying to help enable these groups and assist them with resources, networking opportunities and educational forums, as well as support them with any legislative or operational initiatives they might have,” said Hadley, whose region covers Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.
Shelly deZevallos, president of TFGA, noted that Hadley helped form her association and was instrumental in the passage of favorable Texas aircraft tax legislation this year. “He is always there to answer a call, be a resource and support the many facets of aviation,” said deZevallos. Hadley was also a key player in the formation of the Texas General Aviation Caucus, which has grown to more than 35 members of the Texas legislature since it was started three years ago.
“Steve has fostered a team approach for addressing general aviation issues that has resulted in a strong partnership among all industry supporters and substantially raised the awareness of and support for general aviation throughout the state of Texas,” added David Fulton, aviation director of the Texas Dept. of Transportation.
In May, NBAA hosted the third annual Regional Leadership Roundtable, an event that brings together leaders of regional business aviation groups from around the country for a day of educational sessions and networking. Hadley was instrumental in the formation of the roundtable, as well the recent establishment of the NBAA Local and Regional Group Committee.
“Steve understands and supports the initiatives at the local and regional level,” said Don Hitch, chairman, NBAA Local and Regional Group Committee. “His support of the Local and Regional Group Committee will be instrumental in enhancing the collaboration within the network of regional and local groups.”
Airport access issues across the country are a constant and important focus for Hadley and the other NBAA regional representatives, including the ongoing battle to maintain general aviation access to southern California’s Santa Monica Airport (SMO), and newer concerns about restrictions adopted – but not yet implemented – at New York’s East Hampton Airport (HTO). Although national airport issues consume a lot of Hadley’s time, airport advocacy is nothing new for him: years ago his efforts in negotiating with a utility company helped establish Austin Executive Airport (EDC).
“I feel extremely fortunate to have known and worked closely with Steve over nearly 10 years,” said Iver Retrum, board member of the Colorado Aviation Business Association. “He is truly a one-of-a-kind professional who passionately cares about our industry and his impact on it. His leadership, mentorship, and guidance have greatly affected my industry volunteerism efforts and career.”