San Antonio; the river walk, the Alamo and plenty of Texas style hospitality provided the backdrop for my introduction to the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) back in 1992. The first member to welcome me to the family was the NASAO ambassador himself, Ken Rowe of Virginia, followed by two gentlemen whom I’ve enjoyed a great deal of life with, Dick Spaeth formerly of Wyoming and Gary Adams of Arizona.
It didn’t take long to appreciate that most of the men and women that made up NASAO had a special mojo that motivated them! Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “What lies behind us and what lies before us, are small matters compared to what lies within us!” What quickly became apparent was that what lies within the members of NASAO was and still is a deep passion and respect for aviation and for what they do!
I was reminded of that during a recent conversation with Gary Cathey, the newly appointed Chief for the Division of Aeronautics, Caltrans. Most California state employees are taking two Fridays a month off in order to comply with a mandated furlough. Not Gary! On a scheduled furlough day, there he was, spending time in the office without pay because, as he put it, aviation is my life passion!
That theme has echoed throughout the years I’ve been involved in state aviation and you know, I feel a certain level of comfort knowing that during this difficult time with our economy, the men and women of state aviation will tough it out! Maybe scarred and bloodied a bit, but stronger for the experience and with no less resolve to lead through adversity and cast their vision for the future!
Having the privilege to tell the story of the men and women that make up this family, their vision, passion and the human spirit that drives them, makes publishing the State Aviation Journal a true labor of love! It is also a great responsibility, one that we embrace! From Anchorage to Sacramento, Albany to San Juan, the Journal team is looking forward to the task!