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Kern Award Winner Morgan Bonde: Focus on Continuous Improvement

As a teen, Morgan Bonde was mentored by several pilots from the Chicago-based Motorola flight department. To be a Motorola captain before he turned 30 became a goal of his – which he achieved with a few years to spare.

Throughout his career – Bonde is currently a Gulfstream 650 international captain and safety program manager for Adobe – his quest for additional knowledge and focus on continuous improvement has served him, and his employers, well.

“When I got ‘volunteered’ to take over the safety function, it resonated with me,” says Bonde. “The safety responsibility fits my personality. When we talk about being a professional in aviation, it’s always about seeking out knowledge. For me, personally and professionally, it’s all about continuing that growth.”

Bonde is a recipient of NBAA’s 2022 Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award, which means he exemplifies leadership in many areas of his position in business aviation. To become as proficient as possible in his safety program manager role, he became certificated in the USC Aviation Safety and Security Program and made a point of networking with highly experienced individuals, among other things. “Networking has been my No. 1 resource,” notes Bonde.

Participating in numerous industry organizations has also proved helpful to Bonde, who currently serves on the GE Aviation and Polaris Aviation customer advisory boards. He has participated in the NorCal Chief Pilots and National Chief Pilots Roundtables and served on several Gulfstream advisory teams.

“You don’t know what you don’t know, and participating in these groups is a way to stay up on the industry,” avers Bonde. “For one person to keep up with it all is incredibly challenging, so these networks can be powerful tools for staying on top of things.” Bonde also recommends going to industry events like safety standdowns or conferences at least once a year.

“If we stay comfortable with the status quo, maybe it’s time to get uncomfortable,” notes Bonde.

Having benefited so much from mentors in his teen years, Bonde believes strongly in mentoring young people in aviation, and he has had mentees with the NBAA Mentoring Network, as well at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, his alma mater.

“It’s on all of us to be mentoring the next generation,” says Bonde. “It’s also pretty neat to talk to people who are in the same shoes I was in maybe 10, 15 years ago.”

Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award

Three individuals were selected to receive the NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award in 2022. 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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