The National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) recognized excellence, both in its members and state aviation programs, during the association’s awards banquet held at its 83rd Annual Convention and Trade Show in Providence, Rhode Island earlier this month.
The South Carolina Aeronautics Commission was recognized this year for the Most Innovative State Program Award and the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission received the NASAO Center for Aviation Research & Education, Aviation Education Program Award.
“We were pleased with the quality of programs entered this year for recognition by our member states,” said Kim Stevens, NASAO Interim President and CEO. “To have the opportunity to showcase a successful program in your state and then be recognized by your peers is important to our members.”
The Aviation Education Program Award recognizes the efforts of the state aviation agencies to educate and motivate the public with aviation-related education programs. The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC) was recognized for their unique program in that OAC provides grant money to public and private entities that have developed programs to promote aviation and aerospace among students in Oklahoma. Instead of reaching out to students with one particular program, OAC, by providing grant money, is able to partner with numerous key organizations in encouraging K-12 students to learn more about aviation and aerospace through a variety of learning activities and experiences.
(Photo above – From left are, Grayson Ardies, OAC Aviation Program Manager, Victor Bird, OAC Director, Chris Willenborg,
NASAO Immediate Past Chairman and Kim Stevens, Interim President, NASAO.)
“The workers who won the Cold War and Space Race for the U.S. have retired or are retiring. It is imperative that we replace this work force to maintain our preeminent place in the world insofar as aviation and aerospace,” said Victor Bird, Director of the OAC. “I don’t think that there is anything more important that we do as state aviation directors than aerospace and aviation education programs that encourage young Americans to choose aviation and aerospace as a career. This award is, indeed, an honor for our program and the State of Oklahoma.”
The most Innovative State Program Award was established in 1984 to recognize truly unique and service-oriented state aviation programs. The South Carolina Aeronautics Commission was recognized this year for their statewide airport compatible land use evaluation tool. The intense, interactive web based tool has been featured in airport trade magazines such as ”Airport Improvement”, presented at the Transportation Research Board annual meetings and will be highlighted in an upcoming FAA Advisory Circular update on Airport Land Use.
“The South Carolina Aeronautics Commission is honored to be this year’s Most Innovative State.” said James Stephens, Interim Executive Director. “Our efforts have been many, but our passion about the protection of our airports far exceeds our efforts.”
Using multiple technologies, the staff conceived a Geographic Information System (GIS) web based tool to aid airport sponsor’s both at small general aviation airports and large commercial service airports with the ability to manage the issuance of building permits. The intellectual knowledge of the staff, with assistance from three consultant firms, enabled an electronic land use program to be developed for South Carolina.
Stephens noted as they continue to use their new GIS land use tool, they know the long term benefits will surpass their development efforts and costs. “We would like to thank our staff and development team for a job well done,” said Stephens. “The staff of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission has worked tirelessly for over three years turning this concept into a reality.”
(Photo above – From left are Chris Willenborg, NASAO Immediate Past President, James Stephens, Interim Executive Director of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, Paul Werts, Deputy Director, Mihir Shah, Lead Aviation Planner and Kim Stevens, NASAO.