For more than 10 years of state service to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, deputy director Grayson Ardies has been recognized with the 2020 State Aviation Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO). This award was established in 1989 to honor State Aviation personnel who have excelled in their service and dedication to aviation progress and development in their state.
Ardies began working for the Commission in 2009, serving first as the lone 5010 airport inspector and working up through the ranks to become Deputy Director in January 2019. Ardies has an exemplary reputation for his significant contributions to aviation and aerospace, and for providing excellent service to constituents and citizens in the aviation and aerospace community.
“Referring to someone as ‘indispensable’ should be done with the greatest caution,” advised Victor Bird, Director of Aeronautics. “Every member of an organization is vital to its success. The person that comes the closest to being indispensable, however, to not only the Aeronautics Commission but the Oklahoma aviation and aerospace community, is Grayson Ardies.” Bird went on to say there were many talented and hardworking candidates for this award across the United States this year but felt Ardies stood out in his field and industry.
Ardies has led many complex statewide initiatives and projects including a three-year effort working with the State Legislature to protect military training airspace, a two-year Aviation and Aerospace Economic Impact Study published in 2017 concluding that the industry is the second largest economic engine in the state, development at Carlton Landing Airport at Lake Eufaula through a P3 (private/public) partnership, and leading the difficult and sometimes precarious but necessary five-year process to close Lake Murray State Park Airport.
“Grayson has consistently provided superior service to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, the airports we serve, the citizens of Oklahoma, and NASAO through his listening ability, exceptional project management, tact, tenacity, and wisdom. Grayson has earned the respect of his colleagues, elected public officials, and military officials. He is an asset to Oklahoma, to NASAO, and to the broader aviation and aerospace community, and he is very deserving of honor and respect,” concluded Bird.
“We have many talented and dedicated people working for the citizens of the State of Oklahoma, and Grayson Ardies is exemplary of that. We are honored that NASAO has chosen Grayson as the recipient of this year’s State Aviation Distinguished Service Award. He is one of those exceptional individuals that possesses the technical knowledge to understand and oversee complex projects and the communication skills to explain the infrastructure investment strategy and the anticipated outcomes. That is critical to garnering the support needed to provide for an exciting aviation and aerospace future for Oklahoma. Grayson’s work not only inspires the staff at Aeronautics but aviation agencies across the country,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz.
The NASAO State Aviation Distinguished Service Award recognizes that the vitality and effectiveness of a state aviation agency directly reflects the quality of agency personnel. NASAO strives to annually identify staff members that have performed in an exemplary manner and whose contributions will serve as an inspiration to other state aviation agency personnel.