Technology and trends were the focus of the 2018 NBAA Local and Regional Group Roundtable, held May 23 in San Diego, CA.

“The Local and Regional Group Roundtable was one of the most successful gatherings we have had, with 30 groups from all across the country represented,” said Steve Hadley, NBAA’s director of regional programs. “Our theme for the roundtable was technology, so we used a variety of new communication techniques to deliver presentations and facilitate more effective communication.”

New to the roundtable this year was a presentation by John Shea, government relations manager for the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), who shared with industry leaders how to engage state and airport officials on business aviation issues and how to operate as a regional group within their state.

“There’s nothing more valuable to our organizations than bringing together local aviation organization leaders from around the country to share information and educate each other,” said Shea. “The key to capitalizing on a mutually beneficial relationship starts with simply reaching out, opening up a dialogue and finding common ground where local groups and state officials are aligned. States rely heavily on these groups to be organized and to use the proper channels, so the door is open for action to be taken.

“Whether it’s providing testimony in state legislatures or coordinating on aviation hill days, our officials, NBAA’s regional representatives and local general aviation groups can have a huge impact,” Shea added.

Shea highlighted the valuable work that local and regional groups did in fighting the threat of ATC privatization, and how that issue demonstrated the strong partnerships between NASAO, NBAA and the other aviation associations. Shea also discussed the need for business aviation workforce development, citing broad support for legislation that would create a grant program to enhance workforce development in maintenance and pilot careers in business aviation.

The roundtable also focused on how local and regional groups are addressing workforce development challenges, and how to engage young people in aviation. The San Diego Aviation Explorer Post 120 and members of NBAA’s Young Professionals Council led these discussions. A luncheon presentation on volunteerism was delivered by Jo Damato, NBAA’s senior director of educational development and strategy, CAM.

NBAA Chief Operating Officer Steve Brown, addressed the value of the groups’ work in fighting ATC privatization, confronting workforce challenges and addressing unmanned aircraft regulations. Brown also presented NBAA’s Silk Scarf Award to retiring NBAA Western Regional Representative Stacy Howard.

“This year’s Local and Regional Roundtable – our 6th annual – was an encouraging example of the commitment these leaders have to grassroots advocacy in their cities, counties and states,” said Hadley. “NBAA relies on the support and guidance of these local and regional organizations, and the roundtable provides a priceless opportunity to learn from one another and share information.”