Shelly Simi Selected as the Recipient of the 2019 Stinson Trophy

On February 10, 2020, NAA announced that Shelly Simi was named the recipient of the 2019 Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Trophy.

The Stinson Trophy was created in 1997 by NAA to honor the accomplishments of two sisters – Katherine and Marjorie Stinson. These sisters were among the first 11 American women to be certified as airplane pilots through the Aero Club of America (the predecessor of NAA). Their flying school helped numerous U.S. and foreign pilots to earn their Aero Club licenses, the precursor to FAA pilot certificates.

The trophy recognizes a living person for “…an outstanding and enduring contribution to the role of women in the field of aviation, aeronautics, space, or related sciences.”

Simi is being recognized for “… her accomplishments as a successful and passionate aviation professional and for dedicating over 25 years to opening minds and doors for women in pursuit of aviation opportunities of every kind.”

A love and passion for aviation as a young girl led her to pursue an aviation management and flight operations education at Delta State University, where she earned her degree and began her flight training. Simi was preparing for a career that would lead her from an initial post at Federal Express while in college to an impressive resume of important and exciting senior executive positions with the General Aviation Manufactures Association, (GAMA), Adam Aircraft, Jeppesen, Boeing Digital Aviation, Aurora Flight Sciences and most recently with the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), where she served as president and CEO.

Simi’s enthusiasm was demonstrated in the early 1990s when she volunteered her time, effort and experience to help initiate the creation of a much-needed movement to encourage and promote a stronger female participation in the aviation marketplace. That four-year, start-up movement was the testing period for what would become Women in Aviation, International (WAI), and because of her dedication to the cause, she was asked to become a founding director in 1995. For 20 years, Simi worked closely with founder Peggy Chabrian, taking on numerous committee positions focused on creating a more positive image and inviting environment for women of all ages and backgrounds to pursue educational and career opportunities in aviation.

“I’ve rarely known anyone with the passion for aviation Shelly Simi brings to all she does,” said NAA President Greg Principato. “She always looks beyond what is required. From her work encouraging kids to be involved in aviation to her efforts in getting Women in Aviation off the ground, Shelly goes above and beyond. She is a most appropriate recipient of an award named for Katherine and Marjorie Stinson, two women who embodied the same passion and determination Shelly demonstrates daily.”

“The Stinsons set a great example in creating a pathway to flight so others could join in the amazing world of aviation. I have been blessed to be a part of such a dynamic industry and worked alongside legends that have truly shaped how aviation is used today,” Simi said. “I am honored to be this year’s recipient and share this with all of those who have served as mentors, promoted their passion and led the way for others to be a part of all the things aviation brings.”

The Stinson Trophy will be presented to Shelly Simi on at a date and location to be determined.