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NATA names recipients for Industry Excellence Awards
The aviation business industry was built on passion, fortitude and foresight, all attributes inherent in each of NATA's Industry Excellence Award winners, recognised for their selfless contributions to the greater good.

NATA (National Air Transportation Association) has named the recipients of its 2022-2023 Industry Excellence Awards. Honourees will be recognised at this year's Aviation Business Conference on 2 November in Long Beach, California, and will be celebrated across NATA's online channels.

“The aviation business industry was built on passion, fortitude and foresight, all attributes inherent in each of this year's Industry Excellence Award winners. We are so pleased to recognise those individuals and companies that have selflessly contributed to the greater good through their dedication to advancing safety, empowering others to lead and providing stellar service to their clients, colleagues and communities,” says NATA president and CEO Curt Castagna. “Each award represents a true acknowledgement from fellow professionals in the field.”

NATA is pleased to honour the following 2022-2023 recipients:

- Mike Fronapfel, CEO and executive director at Arapahoe County Public Airport Authority in Englewood, Colorado, will receive the Airport Executive Partnership Award, recognising an airport manager for outstanding efforts to nurture the relationships between aviation businesses and airport operators. The award is partly in recognition of Fronapfel's leadership in providing unleaded fuel options at Centennial airport in collaboration with FBO tenants, including jetCenters of Colorado and the Aspen Flying Club flight school. Fronapfel's dedication to proactively offer more environmentally friendly aviation fuel demonstrates foresight and commitment to community partnership, benefiting all airport stakeholders.

- The Excellence in Pilot Training Award recognises an individual or organisation that has made outstanding contributions in safety, professionalism, leadership and excellence in the field of pilot training. Ben Walton, founder and president of Summit Aviation, will accept the award on behalf of Summit Aviation, an award-winning Part 141 and Part 61 flight school in Bozeman, Montana. The Summit Aviation team has developed a jobs pipeline that begins with introductory discovery flights and leads today's flight school students to becoming tomorrow's certified flight instructors, while building hours to become the charter captains of the future, either at Summit Aviation's private charter operation or elsewhere in the general aviation community. The company's programme benefits the collective industry interest, providing a solid talent feeder into the general aviation space and educating young pilots on the wide range of career pathways.

- Andrew Fuller, PC-24 supervisor at Aero Center Epps Atlanta in Georgia, will receive NATA's Line Service Technician Award. Prior to his 23 years at the Atlanta operation, Fuller served 15 years in the Royal Air Force in the UK. He lives by his commitment to being 100 per cent safe and 100 per cent sure that he knows what he's doing 100 per cent of the time, which he instils in his team. Fuller is most proud of his ability to send any member of his team anywhere at any time to complete any job required of them, making each one deserving of recognition.

- The NATA Safety 1st Certified Line Service Professional Award acknowledges achievements of certified line service professionals on an annual basis thereby raising awareness of the positive impact that they have on safety, service and business success. Damien Neff, line supervisor at Naples Airport Authority in Florida is this year's recipient. Neff has spent nearly his entire career in Naples, working his way up through roles including line service technician I, II and III and duty officer before landing in his current role. Neff's work to bring up the next generation of line service professionals and his team's safety record were cited by his peers in his nomination.

- Roman Mendez, general manager at Desert Jet Center in Thermal, California, near Palm Springs, will receive the NATA Future Leader Award, recognising an individual who has shown outstanding promise, passion and professionalism within the general aviation community. His success is attributed to his ability to build and create experiences for his Desert Jet Center team and for their customers. He believes that success is not just measured in profit and loss, but instead by whether his team is happy, continues to grow and consistently provides a five-star experience for every customer. Mendez is being recognised for his commitment to leading by example and willingness to help others grow.

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