Young business aviation professionals (YoPros) can make meaningful impacts by advocating for the industry on the state and local levels. Whether you talk about airspace access, sustainability, diversity or another important topic, state and local advocacy can lead to real change.
“NBAA’s YoPro Advocacy Working Group is encouraging young professionals to get involved in advocacy on a national, regional and local level and teaching them how to engage effectively,” said Sierra Grimes, NBAA’s senior manager for government affairs and YoPro group founder.
“NBAA’s YoPro Advocacy Working Group is encouraging young professionals to get involved in advocacy on a national, regional and local level and teaching them how to engage effectively.”
Sierra Grimes Senior Manager for Government Affairs, NBAA
YoPros who attended this summer’s “Fly-In” were given a homework assignment: return home and engage with their representatives in their home districts.
Calvin Rieb, Cargill’s lead of global remotely operated systems, is passionate about innovative technologies. He aims to educate state and local government officials about the benefits of drone technology and discourage them from enacting restrictive and prohibitive regulations.
“My goal is to ensure state and local governments don’t pass unnecessarily restrictive laws and make an already complex regulatory environment even more complicated,” said Rieb. “States should be embracing the technology and developing best practices for safe and privacy-conscious integration [of drones].”
What types of opportunities should YoPros look for? Think outside of aviation: join your local chamber of commerce, attend airport board meetings, etc.
“You can really make a difference at the local level. It starts with attending local events with policymakers,” said Aasiya Shaikh, managing director of Flight Crew International. Shaikh says advocacy is essentially a sales position, and you never know when you’ll run into someone with influence. Be ready to share topics important to young professionals in the industry.
Also, take time to maintain your network – both within and outside aviation. And don’t hesitate to ask your connections for introductions to others or for help in moving your initiatives forward.
One of the simplest ways to have an impact is to vote. Research candidates for local elections to determine whether their positions on issues align with yours.
Overall, experts say the key is just to be active in your community and be prepared to share your message.
“Advocacy starts in our communities. Be engaged. Participate. It’s really that simple,” said Shaikh.
Review NBAA’s resources for young professionals at nbaa.org/yopro.