SC Aviation Association Holds Annual Conference

The South Carolina Aviation Association (SCAA) held its Annual Conference at the Spartanburg Marriott in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on February 15 -17, 2023. The three-day conference brought together airport directors and managers, commissioners, government officials, consultants, airport partners, aviation enthusiasts and industry leaders.

The conference theme was “Navigating the Future” and covered industry trends, state and federal updates, project showcases, networking and innovation from corporate partners. The education sessions included FAA and South Carolina Aeronautics Commission updates, an economic development case study from Georgetown County, airport development updates and more.

The Honorable Ira Ellis “Bid” Coward, II was inducted into the SC Aviation Hall of Fame as an Elite Aviator on February 16, 2023. He is pictured at right with his award, presented by Terry Connorton, SCAA Past President.

The conference’s Hall of Fame Banquet saw the induction of two individuals into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame. The Honorable Ira Ellis “Bud” Coward, II and retired Col. (ret.) Michael Miller were inducted. To be considered for the Hall of Fame, nominees must make a substantial contribution to aviation, performed with a high degree of excellence, above and beyond the nominee’s vocation or political position.

Two prestigious awards were presented during the conference. The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Joe Frasher, retired Director of the Greenville Downtown Airport and The Order of the Palmetto was given to James D. Stephens, Director of the Greenville Downtown Airport. Stephens’ award was presented by the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission (SCAC) Chairman, Delphin A. Gantt, Jr. and given to him for his efforts in promoting aviation for the state as the Executive Director of the SCAC.

The association raised more than $12,000 for its Scholarship Fund during the conference from a silent auction and golf program. The SCAA Scholarship Fund is committed to furthering aviation by providing financial assistance to South Carolina residents pursuing a career in aviation.

Retired US Air Force Col. Michael Miller was inducted into the SC Aviation Hall of Fame on February 16, 2023. He was represented by his children, Laura Smoak (left) and Christopher Miller (right), who were on hand to accept the award from SCAA Past President Terry Connorton (center). In the background is a portrait of Charles Lindbergh, which was painted live by artist Jared Emerson.

“The members of the South Carolina Aviation Association look forward to the annual conference and this year was no exception. Not only was the attendance exceptional, but the educational discussions and impactful interactions among the attendees made it a complete success,” stated Kevin Howell, South Carolina Aviation Association President.

The South Carolina Aviation Association plans to host its next Annual Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, February 14-16, 2024.

SCAA actively promotes and encourages aviation and airport development to meet air transportation needs and assist the state in achieving economic development goals. Its membership is comprised of airports and aviators across South Carolina, as well as aviation industry partners.