The NAA Looks to Young Professionals to Drive Innovation

Representing Diversity in the Industry, the NAA Celebrates the Inaugural Class of Aviation’s Next Generation

Washington, D.C., March 20, 2024—The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is thrilled to announce the launch of a Young Professionals Committee (YPC). This new initiative will increase the diversity of experiences and drive the NAA mission.

“Over 100 years after the founding of NAA, a new generation of aviation leaders is emerging,” said Sam Magill, NAA Vice Chair. “The NAA is excited to provide this group with an important platform on the national stage. We are as excited to learn from them as they are to gain experience from us. From the very first meeting, we are energized about what this group will offer the NAA.”

In partnership with the NAA’s Corporate, Affiliate, and Aero Sports membership, the NAA engaged young, passionate, and skilled talent from all over the county to join the organization and represent the organization’s mission as tomorrow’s aviation leaders. The YPC targets professionals below 39 in the early stages of their careers and with a passion for working for people and the industry.

The initiative’s first cohort comprises 14 young professional positions recruited through the NAA’s leadership for specific programmatic work.

  • Keith Alvares, Embraer
  • Sarah Arnold, Vertical Aviation International
  • Jennifer Balzer, Republic Airways
  • Mary Cooper, Aero Club of Southern California
  • Theresa Daly, Bombardier
  • Ryan Durr, United States Parachute Association
  • Giovanni Ferro, MedAire
  • Veronica Gerson, ACI-NA
  • Melissa Groome, Leonardo Helicopters
  • Elayna Hall, NBAA
  • Julia Harrington, Axis Jet
  • Brady Ornat, Academy of Model Aeronautics
  • James (JP) Stewart, Soaring Society of America
  • Palmer Timmons, International Aerobatic Club

“Our industry needs continuous fresh looks and approaches to problems in all corners of the industry,” said Amy Spowart, NAA President and CEO. “With these emerging leaders, the NAA will gain a fresh perspective and new ideas.“

The appointments will initially be for 3 years, during which the youth-led committee will develop its charter.

“The overall goal in creating this committee is to support aviation’s future leaders and create opportunities for them to learn board-focused work,” added Magill. “We will also create and support dedicated mentorship and training programs for the cohort.”