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Industry excellence is recognised by NATA
NATA's list of the great and the good is to be celebrated in June. The focus is on leadership, safety and maintenance, and this year sees new honours that recognise FBO customer service and rising business leaders.
NATA president Gary Dempsey has announced the recipients of its Industry Excellence Awards.

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) will recognise the recipients of its Industry Excellence Awards during a June presentation luncheon held in conjunction with the NATA 2019 annual meeting and aviation business conference.

The inaugural FBO Customer Service award will be presented to Michigan-based Pentastar Aviation customer services supervisor Kristine Ross. Over 30 years she has helped the company build long-term relationships with its customer base, cultivating a reputation of helpful, friendly customer service representatives (CSRs). Over the past decade she has also contributed to charitable efforts by volunteering her time to organise logistics for the company's community outreach.

The Future Leader award encourages and recognises aviation business professionals who make significant contributions to the industry and serve as guiding lights for the next generation. For this first time it is given to Florida-based Naples Aviation FBO manager Michael Hushek, who oversees a 24/7 operation and manages a staff of 50. His 15-year aviation career encompasses 10 years of FBO management, where he often seeks opportunities to engage, develop and mentor his staff members for future success.

Naples Aviation line technician III Scott Seber will receive the fifth annual Safety 1st Certified Line Service Professional award. Over the past 20 years Seber has encouraged a high standard of safety, professionalism and leadership on the ramp, demonstrated by his willingness to train new line service team hires and learning about the latest equipment and aircraft to ensure quality work within his department. He also regularly volunteers his time and 30-year aviation expertise on the company's safety committee to foster the application of industry best practices for his team, customers and the community.

The ATP/NATA General Aviation Service Technician award, sponsored by Aircraft Technical Publishers, acknowledges the exceptional performance of a licensed airframe and powerplant mechanic or radio repairman who has practised his or her craft for a period of 20 or more years. This year it goes to Pentastar Aviation vice president of maintenance operations and advisory services Douglas Levangie, whose near 40-year aviation career includes more than 34 years with Pentastar. Through his attentiveness and leadership, the company is maintaining the highest expectations for airworthiness and quality standards, business ethics and customer service both within his department and across the organisation.

The recipient of the Airport Executive Partnership award is Van Nuys airport manager Flora Margheritis CM. With three decades of airport operations experience, Margheritis has supported Los Angeles World Airports and Van Nuy's safety, security and sustainability efforts, including solar and sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) projects. Additionally, she collaborates with onfield businesses and the local community to address noise impacts; works to maintain optimal business practices; manages the airport's financial self-sufficiency; and enforces rules, regulations and minimum standards.

Western Michigan University's College of Aviation is the recipient of the Excellence in Pilot Training award. Since 1939, the college has been the only comprehensive aviation programme at a public university in Michigan and, with just under 1,000 undergraduate students, is the third largest aviation programme in the US. The college trains the future aviation workforce with over 50 aircraft, 80 years of education experience and a 92 per cent post-graduation success rate.

“For over 30 years, the association has celebrated those that embody the spirit of general aviation, serving as model examples for their peers and the next generation of aviation leaders,” says NATA president Gary Dempsey. “NATA is excited to once again recognise the accomplishments of individuals and organisations that contribute to advancing the health and vitality of our industry.”

Companies that provide qualified new and recurrent aviation maintenance technician (AMT) training to their employees are recognised with the AMT Employer Recognition awards. Winners receive either a one, three or five-star award depending on the percentage of employed AMTs meeting the training requirements. This year the award is granted to 21 companies, including nine recipients that will have been recognised for five consecutive years. “For the past seven years, NATA has continued to highlight businesses that encourage and support their maintenance personnel with top-tier training. This award signifies the value of investing in a critical subset of the aviation workforce by providing training that attracts, retains and grows our industry,” adds Dempsey.

The William A 'Bill' Ong Memorial Award was given to Marathon Jet Center/Marathon General Aviation Martin Hiller and the Distinguished Service Award to Banyan Air Services' Don Campion. NATA will also present its Distinguished Public Service Award to former FAA executive director of the aircraft certification service Dorenda Baker.

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