New NBAA Award Recognizes Professionalism in Business Aviation

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360,

Las Vegas, NV, Nov. 16, 2015 ­– The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today announced the creation of the  Dr. Tony Kern Aviation Professionalism Award, which recognizes those in business aviation who embody the concept of professionalism. The announcement was made at the Single Pilot Safety Standdown, held prior to the opening of NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, which runs Nov. 17 to 19 in Las Vegas, NV.

Kern, co-founder of Convergent Performance, is recognized as one of the world’s foremost leading authorities on human performance, and is widely considered the industry expert on professionalism. The author of five books on human performance, Kern served as a command pilot and flight examiner in the B-1B bomber, as well as senior staff and leadership experience, including service as the chair of the Air Force Human Factors Steering Group and director and professor of military history at the USAF Academy. Upon retirement from the Air Force in 2000, Kern served as the national aviation director for the U.S. Forest Service.

“For far too long, when speaking of professionalism, people have assumed it’s about calling out unprofessional behavior,” Kern said. “This award is about recognizing the many true professionals in our industry who are all doing very positive things.”

Professionalism is also one of the NBAA Safety Committee’s Top Safety Focus Areas for 2015. “Professionalism in aviation is the pursuit of excellence through discipline, ethical behavior and continuous improvement,” said Marty Grier, senior manager of aircraft maintenance for The Home Depot and head of the NBAA Safety Committee’s professionalism working group. “It is a cornerstone focus of active safety management where professional behaviors rule and safe actions become a byproduct.” Read the NBAA Safety Committee professionalism resources.

Jeff Wofford, director of aviation and chief pilot at CommScope and a member of the Safety Committee’s Professionalism Working Group, added that professionalism is, “a learned behavior. It’s a learned attitude, and this award represents a grassroots process for those working within our industry to recognize one another.”

Anyone within business aviation may be nominated for this award, with multiple annual recipients possible each year. The nomination period is expected to open in January. Those receiving the award will be recognized at future NBAA conventions, as well as at NBAA regional events held throughout the year.

Kern noted that with half a million new professionals expected to join the aviation industry over the next decade, the award also represents an important tool for demonstrating proper behaviors to new employees.

“Onboarding those people successfully will depend on establishing good role models for them,” Kern added. “This recognition helps to identify those people to look up to; people who are not only charismatic, but who also have the core competencies to succeed in and grow our industry.”

The NBAA Safety Awards program has for 60 years brought worldwide attention to the business aircraft safety record. These awards recognize member companies for exceptional achievement in maintaining safe flying operations. Much more than a member benefit, they serve as testimony to the high degree of professionalism inherent in business aircraft operations, and as tribute to the skill of a company’s management, maintenance, pilot and support personnel teams.

Learn more about NBAA’s Safety Awards Program.

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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