Oct. 21, 2020

NBAA has redoubled its efforts to virtually reach out to college and university students as COVID-19 restricts in-person gatherings. NBAA representatives, including President and CEO Ed Bolen, recently spoke with university classes and participated in virtual career days.

Bolen opened Auburn University’s Business Aviation Virtual Days this week by dispelling the myth that only large organizations use business aviation.

“The reality is NBAA’s 11,000 members include Fortune 500 companies, but the vast majority of members are small to medium-sized companies,” Bolen said, explaining the value of business aviation in jobs creation, economic development, efficiency and productivity for the businesses participating in the industry and in humanitarian operations in the U.S. and around the world.

He also shared what a career in business aviation can mean for students, saying the industry is “technology-rich and often on the cutting edge of innovation.” The industry also offers a unique sense of community as well as opportunities for personal growth and participation in humanitarian efforts.

When queried by students as to the most significant change in aviation during Bolen’s career, he replied with various technological advances but said ultimately, the most significant change is the move to more diversity and inclusion in the industry, while honoring those who came before – the WASP (Women
Airforce Service Pilots), Ninety-Nines, Tuskegee Airmen and others.

Bolen suggested students interested in a career in aviation consider what motivates them and how they want to tell their story during interviews or other contacts with potential employers.

“Part of COVID is showing us that we are all human beings. We don’t like to be isolated. We want to communicate – preferably in-person,” Bolen said. “We don’t know what the future holds so we want to have the right people, those with discipline and the capacity to learn and those who want to be part of a team.

The classes of 2020 and 2021 will need to be creative and relentless but we look forward to welcoming that class into the business aviation community, Bolen concluded.

NBAA Northern Mountain Regional Representative Kristi Ivey recently spoke with freshman students at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT, and was joined by Vice President of Educational Strategy and Workplace Development Jo Damato, CAM, to talk with students at a recent University of North Dakota virtual event.

Damato and Ivey emphasized there are multiple career paths in aviation.

“It’s okay to embrace those left turns in life that lead to opportunities and possibilities,” said Damato.

These events are just part of NBAA’s outreach to the next generation of business aviation professionals.

The NBAA Mentoring Network, student resource page and $25 membership and Young Professionals (YoPro) in Business Aviation program, are all geared toward encouraging and developing the business aviation workforce.