Membership News from the Chairman
I want to update you on important changes to the VABA and ask for your continued support. I firmly believe that the changes recently approved by our Board of Directors will strengthen the aviation, unmanned systems and aerospace industry in Virginia by providing valuable services to our members.
For most of its history, the VABA has been an all-volunteer organization, and has always competed with the demands of everyday life and business obligations of those volunteers. While the organization has a long and successful history, in 2016 the Board determined that the VABA needed to become the industry leader in advocacy for the aviation industry in Virginia. In order to achieve that goal, the VABA hired Bud Oakey and Advantus Strategies to manage the association to utilize its extensive experience with policy and advocacy.
In the three years that the VABA has been managed by Advantus Strategies, it has been effective in advocating for industry priorities.
While the VABA will continue to focus on advocacy, scholarship management, and the annual legislative reception, the association will also offer additional services to members. These new services will focus on how to better expand economic growth opportunities at Virginia airports and its' surrounding areas. This includes how to attract aviation and related businesses to the field, better tools and advocacy for the growth of the businesses at the field and that support aviation throughout Virginia. That said, the VABA is pleased to provide the following new and expanded services:
Advocacy: The VABA will continue to promote policies before the General Assembly and Congress that enhance future aviation and UAS development. We will work proactively on aviation tax policy, development and workforce. We will also work to ensure federal, state, and local laws foster a competitive environment for businesses operating at Virginia airports.
Consulting Services and Economic Development: The VABA will expand its focus on aviation business development, providing assistance, expertise and understanding with FAA regulation and grant assurance programs in regard to airport operations. We will also work to expand airports by making them regional centers for economic development by attracting diverse businesses.
Scholarship Management: The VABA will grow its current educational opportunities to high school and college-age individuals interested in the aviation and aerospace industries. The association offers direct scholarship opportunities along with managing others on behalf of donors. These services will attract young people in to an aviation career path to meet the increased job demand our members have. and provide them with the resources to pursue education and employment in these fields.
Workforce Development: The VABA will begin hosting and sponsoring workforce development events across the Commonwealth. These events will match aviation students and professionals with industries seeking to hire the best talent.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Council: The VABA will work to provide continuing education and build a competitive advantage for those who use and deploy UAS. We will represent the greater UAS community in advocating for policy and regulatory issues as the local, state, and federal levels, and work to grow the use of UAS technology in current businesses to improve delivery of services.
VABA members play a key role in ensuring Virginia continues to look to the future on aviation and UAS business issues. In partnership with our members, we are a strong, strategic voice in state, local, and federal aviation industry matters. Again, I ask you to join me in this effort by supporting the VABA with your renewal or new membership.
Thomas "Mike" Mickel
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