Virginia Department of Aviation Director, Randall Burdette, has been selected by the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) to receive the Kenneth A. Rowe Ambassador of Aviation Award. Named after a previous Virginia Director, the award honors a state aviation director who embodies spirit, optimism, and fierce pride in the capabilities of the state aviation agencies. It will be presented at the upcoming NASAO Conference in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This is a special award; it has only been presented eight times since its creation 19 years ago. Burdette will be the first Virginia director to receive it since it was presented to and named after Kenneth A. Rowe in 1994.
Burdette was appointed as Director of the Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV) in 2004 by Governor Mark Warner and then reappointed in 2006 and 2010 by the honorable Governors Tim Kaine and Bob McDonnell respectively. Leading an organization that reports directly to the Secretary of Transportation and the highest executive in state government (the Governor), Burdette took the reins of the agency and initiated programs that set the stage for state aviation agencies around the nation to emulate for years to come. The creation of organizations addressing security, safety and economic development were part of his vision to increase communications throughout the industry locally, regionally and nationally.
As the state aviation agency director, he led the DOAV to become the first IS-BAO (International Standards for Business Aviation
Operations)-registered and ISO 9001:2008-certified state aviation agency in the country. Under his leadership and desire to better serve communities, he encouraged more business-use of airports by adding the infrastructure needed at airports during poor weather. Virginia is the first state to have instrument approaches into all of its public-use airports and is on track to become the first state with weather reporting at 100% of the public owned/public use airports in November of this year. These two improvements will give businesses better access to Virginia communities through its airports. (Photo – Randy Burdette, left, with Kenneth Rowe)
Burdette also commissioned numerous reports and studies including: Virginia’s Flight to 2025: An Aviation Vision for the Commonwealth; Virginia Aviation and Space Workforce Analysis and Strategy Development; Competitive Analysis of Virginia’s Aviation Industry; Virginia Airport System Economic Impact Study; Virginia’s Aerospace Industry-An Economic Analysis; and the Competitive Analysis of Virginia’s Aerospace Industry. Through his efforts AOPA’s Airport Support Network (ASN) reached 100% participation in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Organizations developed under the leadership of Mr. Burdette include : Virginia Aviation Security Advisory Council (VASAC), Virginia Helicopter Association (VHA), Virginia Airstrip Owners Association (VAOA), Virginia Volunteer Pilots Group (VVPG), the Virginia Seaplane Pilots Association (VSPA) and the Virginia Warbird Association (VWA).
Burdette served as the chairman for NASAO’s Executive Committee, acting as the point of contact for the Memorandum of Understanding for NextGen Technologies, and is active in the aviation community, serving on the boards of numerous aviation organizations.