June 30, 2022

Twenty young business aviation professionals (YoPros) traveled to Capitol Hill this month for a series of productive discussions with congressional staffers about the important role of business aviation around the country, and current issues facing the industry.

The “YoPro Fly-In” was organized by NBAA’s YoPro Council as part of the association’s enGAge initiative, which encourages young industry professionals to participate in advocacy efforts across the broader general aviation community.

“Many of these YoPros had never been to Washington, DC and may not have really understood going in how our government works,” said Sierra Grimes, NBAA senior manager for government affairs and YoPro group founder. “I think everyone came away empowered after seeing how significant their voices can be in advocating for our industry.”

YoPros divided into groups for meetings with staff for several key lawmakers, including members of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. YoPro Council Secretary Jamie Muñoz, general manager of Galaxy FBO at Addison Airport (ADS), was on the team that met with chiefs of staff for Reps. Tony Gonzalez (R-23-TX) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-30-TX).

Discussion topics ranged from workforce and supply chain concerns to shoring up the Texas power grid to eventually support advanced air mobility operations. “These are the people who help drive real change, and they were incredibly open to listening to us and willing to learn about the roles of general aviation and business aviation in their districts,” said Muñoz. “I think we really made an impact and represented our industry well.”

Matt Mustain, a pilot for a Fortune 500 flight operation, admitted to feeling initially unsure about what to expect from his first time on Capitol Hill and meetings with staffers for Sen. John Boozman (R-AK) and Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-4-IA) on such topics as infrastructure, sustainable aviation fuel and industry safety.

“I’ve never been that involved in politics,” he said, “but we had incredibly receptive audiences and I came away with a lot of insight into the legislative process and what we can do to be advocates for our industry.”

Ian Lumpp, vice-chair of the council and director of business development at FLYING Magazine, also met with staffers from Feenstra’s office, where workforce development and business aviation opportunities are among the pressing issues in the Hawkeye state.

“My pastor and dentist are pilots in Iowa,” he said. “Without general aviation, they can’t do their jobs to go from one appointment to another while still being home on the same day. if we want business aviation in our rural communities, kids need to know that there are all kinds of jobs (not just being a pilot) in business aviation.”

Other YoPros met with representatives from the offices of Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Rick Scott (R-FL), Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Reps. Sam Graves (R-6-MO) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-FL).

Founded in 2014, NBAA’s YoPro program is dedicated to building relationships between emerging leaders working at NBAA member companies across the business aviation industry. Learn more about NBAA’s YoPro program.