NBAA Awards 14 Scholarships to Students at NBAA-BACE

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202)

Las Vegas, NV, Oct. 8, 2017 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), through NBAA Charities, offers a wide range of scholarships that support young people seeking careers in business aviation. This week at NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), 14 students will be receiving the following awards:

UAA Janice K. Barden Aviation Scholarship                                       

The UAA Janice K. Barden Aviation Scholarship is named for the late founder of Aviation Personnel International, who was active in the aviation community for decades and received NBAA’s John P. “Jack” Doswell Award for her lifelong achievement in support of business aviation. This year’s recipients are:

  • Erich Miner, a freshman at Western Michigan University, is majoring in flight science
  • Joel Montoya, a senior at University of Nebraska at Omaha, is majoring in professional flight
  • Natalie Shemigon, a junior at Metropolitan State University of Denver, is majoring in aerospace science
  • Odanys Velazquez, a junior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, is majoring in aeronautical science
  • Sgt. Rainiel De La Nuez, a Marine Corps air delivery chief selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program, is studying unmanned aircraft systems at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Al Conklin and Bill de Decker Business Aviation Management Scholarship

The scholarship was initially created to honor the memory of Al Conklin, a U.S. Air Force veteran and business aviation leader for more than 60 years. Today, the scholarship also honors Bill de Decker’s contributions to business aviation, for which he was honored in 2014 with NBAA’s John P. “Jack” Doswell Award. Together, Al Conklin and Bill de Decker first published the Aircraft Cost Evaluator in the 1970’s and later founded Conklin & de Decker, an aviation information company that provides aircraft operating cost and performance data. This year’s recipient is:

  • Michelle Bennett, a senior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, is majoring in global business with an aviation/aerospace focus

William M. Fanning Maintenance Scholarship

Named in honor of retired NBAA staff member William M. Fanning, who was active in maintenance issues during his nearly 20-year tenure at the association, the Fanning Scholarship recognizes individuals who are studying to enter the field of business aviation maintenance. This year’s recipients are:

  • Jeremy Smith, a member of the Army National Guard who is completing his training as an aviation maintenance professional at the National Aviation Academy
  • Scott Simon, a former aircraft commander for the Wyoming Air National Guard, is currently training for his A&P license at the Michigan Institute of Aviation and Technology

Lawrence Ginocchio Aviation Scholarship

The Lawrence Ginocchio Aviation Scholarship was created in 2001 by NBAA Charities, along with the family and friends of the late Lawrence Ginocchio, to honor his outstanding personal contribution to business aviation. This year’s recipients, selected for demonstrating honesty, integrity and selflessness, are:

  • David Burridge, a senior at Broward College, is majoring in aircraft airframe and powerplant mechanics 
  • Petre Stefanescu, a senior at Arizona State University, is majoring in aeronautical management technology
  • Tate Wegman, a sophomore at Liberty University, is majoring in aeronautics
  • Clare Willette, a sophomore at Kent State University, is majoring in flight technology
  • Wilford Rose, a junior at Kansas State University, is pursuing a professional pilot degree

Eddie Queen Business Aviation Management Scholarship

Along with Signature Flight Support, NBAA Charities created the Eddie Queen Business Aviation Management Scholarship to honor the memory of Eddie Queen, a Signature Flight Support line service technician for 58 years. It is awarded to students pursuing a career in business aviation management at NBAA/UAA institutions who show an exceptional commitment to customer service. This year’s recipient is:

  • Leonia Hunt, a senior at Florida Institute of Technology, is majoring in aviation management with flight

The 2017 scholarship winners will be officially announced during NBAA-BACE at a press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 1 to 1:45 p.m., in the press room (N115) at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

NBAA Charities offers monetary and training scholarships for both students and aviation professionals, such as flight department managers, pilots, maintenance technicians, schedulers, dispatchers, flight attendants and flight technicians. These scholarships, which total nearly $100,000 annually, are administered by NBAA standing committees and would not be possible without the generous financial support of NBAA member donors.

To learn more about the numerous scholarship opportunities offered by NBAA Charities, contact Tyler Austin, manager of professional development, at (202) 783-9267 or, or visit