Although I am not a pilot (gasp!), I have spent my entire life and career surrounded by aviators and aircraft. Perhaps I am not able to speak in the technical terms of a highly trained and skilled pilot, but I have learned a thing or two about flying through osmosis. Using a flying analogy to describe the current state of FABA, I would say that we are at Flight Level 200 and climbing. For those of you newer to the association, you may think that analogy a bit perplexing and possibly underachieving. If you have been around for a while and stuck with FABA through the lean years, you understand that reaching FL 200 and climbing is actually a good—make that a GREAT thing!
We have made no secret of the fact that just two years ago, FABA was on the verge of folding. Membership was on the decline, the enthusiasm of those members who stayed was waning, and the association found itself at a crossroads. Under the strong leadership of now Past President, Deric Dymerski, and a small but dedicated board of directors, the almost 70 year old FABA made a commitment to refocus and takeoff one more time for an unknown destination.
Fast forward to today and FABA is a completely different association than the one we saw just two short years ago. Now lead by President, Mike French, FABA is a changed association. With a full and active twelve member board, the formation of three member-staffed board committees, and a growing membership base, FABA is aggressively climbing through the clouds on our way to a higher and more efficient altitude. While pilots use a checklist and their training to know how to climb-out in flight, FABA must use a different strategy. We are currently plotting on some unchartered territory and must use goals to help us achieve our desired elevation. FABA’s plans for ascent include:
• Working tirelessly in Tallahassee to pass the proposed Aircraft Sales and Use Tax Exemption legislation making Florida a friendly state for aviation. This includes a $20,000 Economic Impact Study FABA has commissioned to support our bill.
• The creation of a General Aviation Caucus in Tallahassee providing our industry with a group of legislators readily accessible to our association when issues arise.
• Continued partnership with other industry associations and supporting their work not only in Florida, but also on a national level when a voice from our state is needed. FABA is actively working to let our Senators and Congressmen know that we oppose ATC Privatization and support government oversite by the FAA in our Nation’s airspace system.
• Diversifying FABA’s membership to include a greater variety of industry related businesses and professions.
• Identifying ways to increase our membership outreach beyond the annual conference by providing more regional opportunities for our membership.
• Building a fiscally sound association able to withstand any storms that may lie ahead.
As your Executive Director, I vow to leave the past behind from this point forward. What happened in the last 20,000 ft. is in the past. Our eyes are trained on the panel monitoring all of the controls, but paying special attention to the altimeter and watching what we anticipate to be a steady climb.
FABA Executive Director