Washington, DC, – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today announced that Jeff Lee, longtime flight department leader, airman and former chair of the Association’s Board of Directors, will receive the John H. Winant Award at the 2015 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Las Vegas, NV in November.
The Winant Award is one of NBAA’s most prestigious honors, recognizing former NBAA directors whose service to business aviation continues well beyond their tenure on the board. The contributions to NBAA of John Winant, the award’s namesake, spanned more than five decades. First elected to the NBAA Board in 1957, Winant served in all of the Association’s volunteer-elected officer positions until his appointment as NBAA president in 1971. He served in that role for 15 years, until 1986.
Even in retirement, Winant continued to actively support the association and the business aviation community. For example, he authored two books about the development of business aviation and the history of the Association and its programs.
Lee is the vice president of flight operations at American Express, where he has led the department since 2011. Previously, he was director of flight operations at IBM for more than 30 years. Lee served on NBAA’s Board of Directors from 2001 to 2013, including one term as chairman, beginning in 2008. He also served for many years as president of the Westchester Aviation Association (WAA), a group representing the local aviation community in New York’s Westchester County.
As president of WAA, Lee developed a two-day Aviation Career Fair to encourage young people to pursue a future in the industry. Nearly 2,000 students attended the first career day at Westchester County Airport (HPN), and the event became a model for all other aviation associations across the country. The annual event continues to date, and more than 8,000 students have attended.
Over the years, the Career Fair proved not only important in introducing students to careers in aviation, but also in demonstrating business aircraft operators’ continuing collaboration with local citizens and communities around the airport on policies that represent all stakeholder interests.
Lee also worked to promote a constructive dialogue among local aviation stakeholders, the business community and government officials by launching a series of annual “Westchester Business Takes Flight” luncheons held at HPN. The luncheons, which have highlighted the value of the airport, and the good citizenship of the business aviation community, have featured guest speakers including NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, astronauts Jim Lovell and Robert “Hoot” Gibson and many others.
Lee also pioneered a series of safety events at HPN, and two nearby NJ airports – Teterboro and Morristown – on issues such as emergency egress, icing and international operations. This past June, he spearheaded a safety day at New York’s Stewart International Airport (SWF), attended by more than 120 business aviation professionals.
Lee, who began his aviation career as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and is a graduate of the Air Force Academy, remains active in WAA.
“Jeff Lee represents the best of business aviation, and his continuing contributions to the industry reflect John Winant’s legacy of life-long dedication to promoting its interests,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “Like John Winant, Jeff constantly gives back to the industry and leads by example – even when Jeff was part of NBAA’s leadership on the national stage, he remained deeply involved at the local level, away from the spotlight, but at the center of important safety and professionalism initiatives. He works to welcome new operators to the industry, is a hands-on leader and a mentor and friend to many. NBAA is honored to recognize Jeff with this award.”