Nov. 9, 2021
The NBAA Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) program recently welcomed its 700th professional to earn the certification – Capt. Kathy Stafford.
A pilot with more than 30 years’ experience, Stafford had moved into a new role as chief pilot.
“I was learning by fire and drinking from the fire hose,” she said, adding she was struck by the magnitude of information when she began the CAM program.
“I dug in and scoured every bit of course material available while reaching out to other CAMs and professionals for advice. I wanted to do it right for my company,” she said. “Discovering the complexities of operating a flight department legally as a 91 operator was new and challenging. My studies through the CAM program greatly enhanced my knowledge base while providing guidance and resources I was unfamiliar with.”
The CAM program identifies qualified professionals to lead flight departments and companies that use business aircraft. The credential helps business aviation professionals with career growth and opportunities, and improves their knowledge and qualifications to be industry leaders. It also puts them in an elite group of other industry professionals.
The certification process tests knowledge and experience in five subject areas: leadership, human resources, operations, aircraft maintenance & facilities operations, and business management.
In short, CAMs have demonstrated an exemplary level of industry knowledge and expertise, and are committed to excellence and prepared to lead. CAM is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies – the first in the aviation industry to receive this credential.
Stafford has a bachelor’s degree in aviation technology and has worked for companies including Air Midwest, US Airways, Office Depot and Executive Jet Management.
“I wanted to gain a competitive advantage when it was time to apply for a new job,” she said. “I felt earning the CAM certification would reflect my commitment to professionalism, learning, and self-improvement, while bringing potential value to an employer. In short, it would show qualities which are not easily seen on paper – dedication, focus, conscientiousness, and persistence.
“The information and knowledge base added has been incredibly beneficial and useful,” she added. “I wish I had taken on this challenge years ago.”
Tyler Austin, NBAA’s director, certification, said the association is pleased the program is reaching new milestones at such a fast pace. He said it was the result of the industry’s hunger for meaningful professional development.
“The CAM program has been the industry’s gold standard for business aviation management for over two decades now,” Austin added. “We are positioned extremely well to continue to grow with the ever-changing needs of our current and future leaders. With the workforce challenges we continue to see, the CAM credential is a perfect tool for succession planning and retention.”