July 28, 2015

As president and CEO of Aviation Personnel International – the San Francisco-based firm that has been matching aviation professionals with business aviation jobs for 44 years – Sheryl Barden stays busy. But as a member of NBAA’s Associate Member Advisory Council (AMAC), she’s been inspired to take on another role – aviation advocate.

“I am honored to be a member of the AMAC,” said Barden, who was named to the group in 2012. AMAC members serve in an advisory capacity, representing Associate Members before the NBAA board.

Hearing first-hand about the many legislative and regulatory matters on which NBAA is working, Barden said she is “so impressed with what our Association is doing,” but she wants to broaden NBAA’s voice by getting individual NBAA Members to engage with their elected representatives on important business aviation issues, such as FAA reauthorization, including a proposal recently discussed to create a privatized Air Traffic Control (ATC) system funded by user fees.

Barden recently published a blog post, “Aviation Advocacy: When Many Speak As One,” where she provides 10 tips for contacting elected officials about FAA reauthorization and other important policy matters. Included among Barden’s suggestions are the following:

  • Request face-to-face meetings with congressional representatives.
  • Invite elected or appointed officials to NBAA events or regional business aviation group meetings.
  • Use NBAA’s Contact Congress tool to get in touch directly with elected officials.
  • Attend or volunteer at your state’s aviation day events.
  • Support NBAA’s Political Action Committee.

One of the most important things Barden said she’s learned from working with NBAA officials is “the power of not just our individual voices, but of our collective, unified voice.” She is a big fan of the Contact Congress feature on NBAA’s website, adding, “I send letters regularly through Contact Congress and I’ve asked anybody I know to do the same. You know, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.“