The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced the recipients of the 2012 Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Awards. Henry Ogrodzinski, Keith Ferris, Dick Koenig, Christopher Kraft and Dr. Irving Statler will be honored at the NAA Fall Awards Banquet on Tuesday, November 13 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia.
Ogrodzinski is President & CEO of the National Association of State Aviation Officials – a 81 year old organization which represents all 50 state government aviation agencies (plus Guam and Puerto Rico) in Washington, D.C. Before joining NASAO in 1996, he held a number of senior management positions at other organizations including General Motors’ avionics division, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Gulfstream Aerospace and The United States Air and Trade Show in Dayton, Ohio. During his career, Ogrodzinski has served in a number of important positions in aviation to including Co-Chairman of the US Aviation Security Advisory Committee Working Group on General Aviation, Board of Nominations of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, Board and Executive Committee of NAA and President of the Aero Club of Washington.
A 52-year veteran of the Society of Illustrators Air Force Art Program, Keith Ferris has flown in and participated in missions of almost every jet aircraft type in the Air Force inventory all over the world. He is a member of the Order of Daedalians, the national fraternity of military pilots; is a founding member and past president of the American Society of Aviation Artists; and is an honorary member of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds flight demonstration team. He was also inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey in 1992. His work has appeared in Argosy, Time magazine, Fortune magazine, Aviation Week and Space Technology, Missiles and Rockets, Flying Magazine, the Navy’s classified Top Gun Journal, Stars and Stripes, and Air Force Magazine. He has painted for almost every major defense contractor in America and completed a variety of commissions for the U.S. Government, both practical and creative. He holds patents for five air combat camouflage paint schemes. He is probably best known for two 75-foot murals at the National Air and Space Museum on The Mall in Washington, D.C. titled “Fortresses Under Fire.”
As a proven and respected advocate of aviation, Dick Koenig has made significant contributions to the business and general aviation community for over 40 years through his leadership and constant promotion of aviation. Koenig is currently the publisher of FLYING magazine, which has more than 450,000 subscribers worldwide. A former helicopter pilot in Vietnam, Koenig has served as a pilot in corporate aviation, commercial airlines, and the Air National Guard as well as serving as a flight instructor. He entered the world of aviation publishing in 1974 joining the Denver-based publishing firm Jeppesen-Sanderson. Two years later, FLYING magazine hired him and he has served there for over 35 years. He currently serves as the vice president/publisher of Hachette Filipacchi Media Publishing Company. Koenig has been involved with Women in Aviation, International, since its inception where he is a founding Board member and currently its treasurer. He has also served as a Director for the Corporate Angel Network since 2000 and was recently elected to the Board of The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation. Koenig has been personally involved in the revitalization of the general aviation industry by serving on the “Be a Pilot” Board.
Christopher Columbus Kraft, Jr., is a retired NASA engineer and manager who was instrumental in establishing the agency’s Mission Control operation. Following his graduation in 1944 from Virginia Tech (then known as VPI), Kraft was hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor organization to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He worked for over a decade in aeronautical research before being asked in 1958 to join the Space Task Group, a small team entrusted with the responsibility of putting America’s first man in space. Assigned to the flight operations division, Kraft became NASA’s first flight director. He was on duty during such historic missions as America’s first human spaceflight, first human orbital flight, and first spacewalk.
During his over sixty-year career, Irving Statler has made outstanding contributions to aviation safety through research and innovation in fields that include stability and control, data analysis and monitoring, and human factors. Much of Dr. Statler’s career has been in direct service to his country including the Army Air Corps during World War II, serving as a Research Scientist for the Army, Director of the NATO Advisory Group for Aerospace R&D, and as a NASA Research Scientist. His pioneering work in aviation safety has positively influenced at least two generations of researchers and the aviation industry to move from a forensic approach to a prognostic approach.
“As the Distinguished Statesman Award is synonymous with lifetime achievement, these individuals together have contributed immensely to five very distinct aspects of the aviation and aerospace industry. Each has left an indelible mark in their areas of expertise,” said Jonathan Gaffney, Chairman of the Selection Committee and president of NAA. “They have truly enhanced the history of this most important award.”
Members of the Selection Committee included four previous recipients of the Distinguished Statesman Award – Walter Boyne, Chairman of NAA; The Honorable Jim Coyne, President Emeritus, National Air Transportation Association; Lenny Potts, Trustee of the National Skydiving Museum; and Major General Charles Metcalf, USAF (Ret.), former Director of the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Other selection committee members included Bob Stangarone, Embraer; Paula Hochstetler, Airports Consultants Council; and Chris Benich, Honeywell.
The Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award was established in 1954 to honor outstanding Americans, who, by their efforts over a period of years, have made contributions of significant value to aeronautics, and have reflected credit upon America and themselves. The National Aeronautic Association is a non-profit, membership organization devoted to fostering America’s aerospace leadership and promoting public understanding of the importance of aviation and space flight to the United States.