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Kern Award Winner Nick Verdea: Paying it Forward

Feb. 9, 2022/date]

In Nick Verdea’s flight department at The Williams Companies, it’s not surprising that six out of seven operations employees – pilots and maintenance technicians – have their NBAA Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) accreditation. Verdea, the director of aviation who also was the 100th CAM recipient some years ago, strongly encourages everyone in his department to participate in continuing education programs, including CAM and NBAA’s new Safety Manager Certificate program.

“Safety has to be a mindset,” said Verdea. “We have to reduce risk to the lowest level, and any tool that can support that effort is important.”

Verdea, a 2021 recipient of both NBAA’s Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award, as well as Bombardier’s Safety Standdown Award, sets an example for his department by his involvement in numerous professional development and safety-related activities.

Verdea may be the only CAM with a Global Leadership Professional accreditation from the Wharton School of Business, something that has been helpful to him since he also manages his company’s travel program. He has taken numerous continuing education programs and received his Master of Aeronautical Science degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He also served for 20 years on NBAA’s Business Aviation Management Committee, in addition to serving a term on the CAM Governing Board. He currently is a member of the Aviation Director’s Roundtable.

The Williams flight department has been IS-BAO Stage III certified for almost six years, with Verdea the driving force behind an organization that stresses communication and continuous improvement.

“We want to be the best version of ourselves we can possibly be,” noted Verdea. “We strive for perfection, but will settle for excellence.”

Verdea credits the business aviation community, including NBAA, with being supportive and encouraging throughout his career, which has been entirely in Part 91 operations.

“I have had so many people be there for me, so I’m all about paying it forward,” declared Verdea.

Verdea’s passion for business aviation spills over to wanting his staff to be satisfied with their careers as well, and he encourages them to go for what makes them happy. He is informally mentoring another industry professional and is willing to help anyone who reaches out to him. Verdea believes it is important to lead by example, and he certainly sets the bar high.

Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award

Seven individuals were selected to receive the NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award in 2021. Created in 2015 to honor Dr. Tony Kern, this peer-nominated award recognizes individual pilots, maintenance technicians, flight attendants, dispatchers and other aviation professionals who excel in leadership in the areas of professional ethics, vocational excellence, continuous improvement, professional engagement, professional image and selflessness.

Learn more about the NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award.

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