Amy Marino Spowart has officially taken the reigns as the 33rd President and CEO of the National Aeronautic Association. In her most recent role as President and CEO of the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF), Amy successfully led the effort to significantly expand the reach of the not-for-profit from a regional focus to a national level. Interested in reading the full press release, check it out here.

We sat down with Amy to discuss some of our hot questions and get to know her better!

Q&A with NAA President and CEO

What are you looking to accomplish during your time as the 33rd President and CEO?

The heart of every non-profit is the mission. Our mission calls us to advance the art, sport and science of aviation and the path to do that is through our members. At every level of affiliation, our members sustain the operation, lead the charge to embrace NAA’s heritage, and achieve our calling to recognize and reward aerospace excellence. My primary goal is to cultivate and drive membership so that every aerospace association who isn’t yet a member joins the NAA, and every current member feels valued and remains.

What are some of the biggest challenges you see facing the aviation/aeronautic industry at this time?

The biggest challenges in our industry all fall under the sustainability umbrella. Not only are there environmental concerns such as carbon emissions and noise reduction, but there are also “plane shamers” impacting general and business aviation in other parts of the world. They are not far away, and we need to work throughout the field to share the good news of aviation. Another important part of aviation sustainability is the lack of current and incoming workforce. Within every career in the industry, there are gaps, and this affects the system’s ability to function fully. Expanding the talent pool by attracting, retaining, and advancing women and minorities is an obvious solution that some in the industry, Congress, and the FAA are taking great steps to address.

How do you think the NAA is positioned to face these challenges?

One of the biggest things that attracted me to this role is the NAA Board of Directors. They are a “who’s who” of aerospace. Every sector is represented, and the Board is also incredibly diverse. This active Board is not only representative what the future of a successful aerospace industry looks like, they are also engaged in the strategic vision to be the thought leaders behind the continued goals to: recognize and award aviation’s best achievements; envision and retain a dynamic and influential membership; and identify the ways that the NAA can play a part in sustainability conversation. We won’t have to work too hard to find the people and entities who understand the issues facing aviation-they are already affiliated with the NAA. We look forward to pulling them all together and listening.

You are the first female President of NAA’s 118-year history. How do you think this addresses gender equality in aviation? What needs to be done to get there?

As I mentioned, the NAA Board is comprised of the best in aviation. That they are gender, racially, and ethnically diverse is secondary to the talent collected in our Boardroom. When the Chair approached me to talk about this role, I am certain the fact that I am a woman never entered his thought process. That being said, not every person in the industry recognizes that what is best for an organization may not look or think like them. I hope that until there is a balance in our industry, women in the industry continue to mentor and lift up the women climbing the ladder behind us and that there continues to be people like the NAA Chair who truly want what’s best for the organization.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love to travel with my husband, hike in the forest, watch bad reality TV, cheer on Penn State Football, and visit our children.

Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?

I have a challenging relationship with birds, especially geese. The fewer the better, so one duck.

Interested in joining the mission or learning more about the NAA? Please contact Tina Wu for more information or to set up a meeting!

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