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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.
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NATA makes key leadership changes
NATA has promoted Keith DeBerry to COO, where he will oversee activities relating to safety education and member outreach, and Karen Huggard to VP of government affairs where she will lead advocacy in the capital.
Vice president of government affairs Karen Huggard.

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has made key leadership changes.

Keith DeBerry has been named chief operating officer, overseeing NATA's activities relating to safety education development and member outreach, as well as the day-to-day operation of the association. Since joining the NATA staff in January 2020, DeBerry has served as NATA's senior vice president of safety and education, senior advisor of regulatory affairs (maintenance) and liaison for its aircraft maintenance and systems technology committee.

DeBerry will take over the COO role from Jason Miller, who will continue to serve NATA as chief financial officer.

“The NATA board thanks Jason Miller for taking on the additional role of COO in early 2020 and is thrilled to add Keith's vast industry expertise and operational experience in leveraging organisational efficiencies to the leadership team,” says president and CEO Timothy Obitts. “Keith is well-respected in our organisation and within the industry. We look forward to his guidance as we continue to grow our team and build a member-driven internal culture to ensure we are delivering the best member experience possible.”

Before joining NATA, DeBerry served as the FAA's academy director. Additionally, he led the regulatory standards training division where he was responsible for providing the FAA's aviation safety inspectors and engineers technical training and managed the academy's flight programme.

Throughout his 22 year federal career, DeBerry has gained extensive experience leading, directing and managing aviation safety oversight activities, preparing him for success in his role as the supervisory principal maintenance inspector for UPS Airlines, where he oversaw a workforce charged with Congressional mandated safety oversight of UPS Airlines' 300 aircraft fleet.

Karen Huggard has been promoted to vice president of government affairs. She will continue to lead NATA's advocacy efforts in Washington, DC and strengthen stakeholder partnerships, collaborating on areas of common ground to protect NATA members from onerous regulation, advocate for sound policy and advance the industry's future on issues including environmental sustainability, an unleaded aviation fuel solution and PFAS remediation.

“Karen's experience as a strategic communicator enables the association to advance policy goals that support the business interests of our members,” says Obitts. “She puts our members first, advancing efforts to safeguard our member businesses' present success while charting the course for the industry's future growth.”

Huggard is currently focusing on the upcoming FAA Reauthorisation, identifying and developing strategies to foster innovative growth, modernise infrastructure, increase sustainability, prioritise safety, strengthen the aviation workforce and increase efficiency, while advocating for sufficient resources to equip the agency to maintain a safe and secure NAS that supports a thriving business aviation industry.

After beginning her career in public policy on Capitol Hill, Huggard spent 15 years as a strategic communications professional in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Virginia. She earned a BA in political science from Wheaton College in Illinois.

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