The Alphabet Soup of Industry Associations

There are many aspects of my job I truly enjoy, and other parts that, well, are part of the job. The part I enjoy most as editor of this magazine, and executive director of AMTSociety, is the interaction with other industry associations. A few I always appreciate interaction with that come to mind are ATEC, EAA, RAA, ARSA, GAMA, AWAM, NATA, NBAA, HAI … OK, there are many more and I could fill this page if I spelled them all out for you. In the case of aviation most exist to promote the industry segment they are aligned with, support members through benefits and information; some represent members and the industry relating to government affairs and rulemaking activities, outreach, events and more. Some industry associations provide a sense of community for their members.

As I interact with these like-minded groups I can’t help put conclude that most have very similar missions and goals; again to promote and support. Some of these associations focus their efforts on the business aspects of their aviation segment, while others focus more toward offering individual member benefits and that sense of community. So why do businesses and individuals belong? Good question. As for individuals it appears most belong for certain member benefits, which could be a wide range of offerings, and that sense of community.

Sense of community enables you to surround yourself in person or virtually with like-minded people in order to share experiences and learn from one another. Sense of community can also be one of the most difficult offerings for any organization because not everyone is a joiner or cares to interact and share. Sense of community really gets down to the individual person and whether they feel community is important to them. I believe one of the more successful organizations to provide that sense of community is the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) which I’ve been a member of for decades.

Generally speaking, pilots are viewed as joiners and participants who enjoy sharing experiences and learning from one another. The Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) appears to be viewed differently and generally considered a non-joiner; I hear this comment regularly. So, if we’re all aviators and professionals in our respective fields then why the difference?

Industry organizations are good and provide much-needed support to businesses and individuals. Consider participating in one or more of the many organizations aligned with your business or career field. There are many options available today so join in.