It is hard to believe that it is 2016 already and here we are celebrating FABA’s seventieth year of service to the aviation businesses of Florida. I am honored and humbled to be a part of this great organization that has meant so much to so many of us over the last seven decades. In this issue of Florida Aviation Business we will be looking back and paying tribute to our history and accomplishments over the years. We will also be looking forward to the many great things to come in our future.
We can’t forget how much is going on in our present, as 2015 saw a number of notable achievements for FABA. Here is where we currently stand regarding each of these notable changes:
• Our annual conference was the best attended in recent memory with lots of new attendees, sponsors and exhibitors.
• While our Aircraft Sales Tax bill did not make it, we quickly adjusted course and commissioned our first ever economic impact study to bolster our efforts this year.
• In another first, we worked with NBAA, AOPA, SFBAA, TBAA, FAC and others to host a General Aviation Caucus in Tallahassee.
• FABA received national attention at the NBAA Convention in Las Vegas for our innovative approach to our utilization of technology in running a state aviation organization.
• Our recognition as an innovative organization continued with an opportunity for FABA to lead the Regional Group Session at this year’s NBAA Scheduler’s and Dispatchers Conference in Tampa.
• New committees were formed to leverage a larger cross section of our membership and move us forward in the important areas of membership, the annual conference and education.
• Membership has grown and FABA finished the year on a stronger financial footing.
We continue to see significant tailwinds in early 2016. After last year’s setback on our Aircraft Sales Tax Exemption bill, Jenny Showalter, Executive Director and FABA Lobbyist, Eric Prutsman have re-doubled our efforts in Tallahassee. The progress we are seeing is very promising and we remain optimistic for a favorable outcome in the future that will have a significant positive impact on all of our members.
The General Aviation Caucus has now met for a second time in coordination with the Florida Airport’s Council. This important initiative gives us the opportunity to speak directly with legislators about the importance of aviation in Florida and share the issues we need to foster for continued growth for our vital industry.
With several legs flown back and forth to TLH, our focus now is on SRQ and the 70th Annual FABA Conference. We have picked a familiar and phenomenal venue, The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. We have expanded meeting space to accommodate more attendees, sponsors and exhibitors. The conference committee has been hard at work pulling together a fantastic program that will appeal to all of our diverse members and their respective businesses.
Before you get too engrossed in the rest of this issue, I encourage you to head to the FABA.aero website to get registered, to sponsor, exhibit and attend the 70th Annual FABA Conference. I look forward to seeing you all there.