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Embry-Riddle to Salute Top Aviation Organization Leaders at EAA AirVenture with Personalized Aircraft

July 20, 2015

Embry-Riddle to Salute Top Aviation Organization Leaders at EAA AirVenture with Personalized Aircraft

University’s Name A Plane Program Unveils Special Tributes to EAA, AOPA, NBAA, GAMA, NATA and HAI at Annual Air Show and Convention

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – As part of its scholarship-raising Name A Plane Program, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will honor six aviation advocates in leadership roles in special dedication ceremonies at its exhibit booth during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015.

Representing some of the world’s top aviation trade associations, these executives exemplify a shared vision to support pilots, safety, education and the industry as a whole.

Embry-Riddle leadership, including Interim President Dr. John R. Watret, will unveil personalized decaled planes named for the following groundbreaking aviation organization leaders in daily ceremonies Tuesday and Wednesday:

- Mark Baker, President & CEO of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) – A longtime general aviation pilot, Baker is just the fifth president of the world’s largest aviation member association. In addition to focusing on key advocacy initiatives like third class medical reform, making ADS-B equipage more affordable and protecting general aviation in the U.S., Baker is intensely focused on keeping pilots engaged and bringing new pilots into the community. Key programs he has spearheaded include AOPA’s flight training initiative, a long-term effort dedicated to increasing the percentage of students who earn a pilot certificate; the flying clubs initiative designed to keep flying fun and affordable; and AOPA’s new Rusty Pilot Program, designed to return lapsed pilots to the skies.
- Ed Bolen, President & CEO of National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) – Presidentially nominated to multiple commissions ensuring the future of the U.S. aerospace industry, Bolen has chaired and served government and nonprofit organizations that have impacted not only the nation’s impact on aviation, but advancements in communications, surveillance, navigation and air traffic management. He also serves on the Aviation Advisory Board of MITRE Corp., a federally funded research and development corporation.
- Pete Bunce, President & CEO of General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) – A facilitator of new general aviation product and safety technology development through transformative regulatory initiatives, Bunce promotes policies that enable better, safer and more efficient certification processes globally. Winner of the Aviation Industry Leader of the Year by Living Legends of Aviation and the International Council of Airshows (ICAS) Sword of Excellence, his work as an advocate for sound tax and trade policies is key in fostering the growth of general aviation. He also serves as co-chair of the U.S. NextGen Institute.
- Tom Hendricks, President & CEO of National Air Transportation Association (NATA) – As a longtime leader in aviation safety, security and operations, Hendricks is at the center of legislative and regulatory advocacy before Congress, federal agencies, and state and local governments. Overseeing NATA’s gold standard Safety 1st training program and serving on numerous advisory boards and committees, including the National Aeronautic Association, he uses his background as an experienced pilot, retired Air Force Reserve colonel and airline flight/line operations director to establish excellence across the aviation industry.
- Jack Pelton, Chairman of Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) - A forward-thinking executive with a deep respect for the organization’s founder Paul Poberezny’s vision for experimental aircraft, recreational aviation and EAA. Pelton has continuously worked on all issues that promote and advance the growth of recreational aviation. This includes advocacy on reducing the barriers for all aviators such as the third class medical reform, safety enhancement equipage, rules governing homebuilt aircraft and many other reforms. His career experience in product development (including new aircraft design) and as retired Chairman & CEO of Cessna Aircraft Company serves as groundwork for his continued passion for the industry as a whole.
- Matt Zuccaro, President & CEO of Helicopter Association International (HAI) – Active in the helicopter industry for nearly 40 years, Zuccaro is a longtime, key figure in commercial, corporate and public service operations in the aviation industry. A decorated Vietnam War veteran, he has served in multiple roles with HAI including being instrumental in restructuring the organization’s by-laws and leading industry research and task force groups as a member and consultant. His role as past president and chairman of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council fostered a new era of development, retention of heliports, community interface and regulatory, airspace and infrastructure improvements.

“The passion of these leaders and the immense impact their organizations have had on not just the business, but the future of aviation, is immeasurable,” said Watret. “The Name A Plane Program is about recognizing and giving back, so we are proud to honor them and continue to work hand-in-hand with them and their organizations to inspire, train and educate the next generation of aviators.”

The Embry-Riddle booth space at No. 49, 50, 59, 60 and 61 is located in Aviation Gateway Park at EAA AirVenture. Times for specific ceremonies Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are TBD.

- Melanie Hanns, Director of University Communications/Media Relations, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; (386) 226-7538, (386) 283-0753;

About Name A Plane
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Name A Plane Program provides a unique opportunity to personalize one of the university’s residential campus fleets of Cessna 172s and Diamond Twin Stars as a tribute, honor, memorial or recognition of a loved one, special individual or organization. Money raised from this campaign goes directly to support students in the form of scholarships and financial aid. For more information, contact Director of Annual Giving, Yoon Choi, at (386) 226-7223 or For more information on the Name A Plane Program, go to

About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 75 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” and EAA’s yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit Immediate news is available at

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