JONATHAN GAFFNEY became 31st President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Aeronautic Association on July 9, 2007. Since that time, he and the staff of NAA have transformed one of the world’s oldest aeronautical organizations (founded in 1905) from near-insolvency into a vibrant, sustainable association dedicated to its original charter: "...the advancement of the art, sport and science of aviation in the United States."
Working with the NAA Board and Staff – as well as the aerospace industry – NAA has been able to decrease expenses by approximately 40% through a 50% staff reduction and a 70% reduction in leasing and operations and subsequently produced the first eight profitable years (2008-2015) since 1999. Together with his team, they have increased corporate support of NAA by almost 300%; have re-establishing strong, professional relationships with NAA’s corporate partners, air sport affiliates, and associated aero clubs; have strengthening NAA Board involvement; and greatly increasing the exposure, value, and prestige of numerous NAA Awards including the Robert Collier Trophy, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, the Katharine Wright Trophy, and numerous other awards.
Prior to arriving at NAA, he served for 12 years as the Vice President for Communications of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the operators of Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airports. In his position he had executive responsibility for the Authority’s Government Relations Program, Public and Media Affairs, Community and Business Relations, Marketing, and the Authority’s Noise Abatement Office. He was involved in the coordination and management of all major, external Authority initiatives including the promotion of over $6 billion in capital development, legislative strategy, regional cooperation, media strategy, major events, crisis communications, marketing programs, and business relations. In 2001, he played a central role in the reopening of National Airport after its 24-day shutdown, post-9/11, and in his career at the Authority conducted over 1000 media interviews.
A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (M.A.,'88) and Quinnipiac University (B.S. '83), he completed a 22-year career as an Officer in the Navy Reserve, retiring with the rank of Commander. During his Navy Career, he completed tours of duty onboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) where he was the Radiation Health Officer as well as the Medical Administrative Officer; recalled to active duty during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; and served as Officer-In-Charge of a Naval Reserve Fleet Hospital Detachment.
Prior to his work in aviation, he served for five years as a senior staff member in the United States House of Representatives as Legislative Director to Congressman Jim Moran. On the Hill he managed the Congressman’s legislative agenda including strategy, speech writing, constituent communications, bill drafting, and voting recommendations. He also directed a number of critical regional projects including coordinating a regional response to the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure process which recommended relocating six major commands from Northern Virginia.
As a staff member at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the late 1980''s, he worked on a number of important projects, including directing the CSIS Project, "National Service for Out-of-School Youth" which became the basis for the National Guard’s "Challenge Program." In addition to this work he researched, wrote, and delivered numerous speeches, position papers, and congressional testimony on such areas as the legislative process in Congress, defense, U.S. foreign policy, naval operations, the U.S. defense industrial base, and national service. He appeared numerous times on networks including CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and CSPAN providing insight and opinion on politics and U.S. foreign policy. His columns appeared across the nation including the Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Boston Globe, the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, and the Rocky Mountain News.
During his career, he has testified before committees of the United States Congress on defense downsizing and veterans’ issues, and has served on a number of regional and statewide commissions. He has spoken frequently to industry and corporate groups on public relations, organizational streamlining, media relations, government relations, and crisis management.
A native of Monument Beach (Cape Cod, Massachusetts), he is married to Tracy Malone, a retired Navy Captain, and they have three children. They reside in Arlington, Virginia.