April 15, 2013

Leaders from 22 regional business aviation groups discussed best practices and opportunities to be more collectively effective during the inaugural NBAA Regional Leadership Roundtable, held on April 11 in Englewood, CO.

The agenda, arranged by NBAA at the request of the regional leaders, featured six key topics: volunteer management, keeping meeting content fresh, expanding membership, advocacy and legislative issues, scholarships and leadership goals.

Don Hitch of the NBAA Access Committee facilitated the meeting along with NBAA’s Northwest Regional Representative Kristi Ivey.

Attendees found plenty to discuss as they prepared for the challenges facing them. For example, those looking for experience on legislative issues heard from those with a great deal of experience in this field, such as the Michigan Business Aviation Association, whose contacts on Capitol Hill helped raise $1 billion for airports in the state.

The newest groups, like Texans for General Aviation and the Nevada Business Aviation Association, both founded this year, listened to advice from some of the more experienced groups. For example, officials from the Minnesota Business Aviation Association advised their peers to always be up-front with lawmakers in order to be successful in the legislative arena.

Regional leaders agreed that volunteer management can be tricky and discussed how volunteers are recruited and how to recognize who will be successful in these roles. One group said it uses a “commitment letter” that board members must sign. Ivey said a template for such a letter is available from NBAA – one of a number of such resources the Association offers through its Regional Business Aviation Groups Library.

To help keep meeting content fresh and members engaged, the South Florida Business Aviation Association holds “satellite” meetings in places like Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, as well as meetings specifically for pilots.

The use of social media was also debated, as well as the best way to raise money for scholarships.

“I am very happy to tell you that every single participant in this first-time event came away with the feeling that this event was extremely valuable and would definitely add to their groups success,” commented NBAA’s Regional Program Director Steve Hadley. He added that this event would be held annually at different venues across the country.