NATA Announces Recipients Of Industry Excellence Awards

Pat Epps will be presented the William A. "Bill" Ong Memorial Award during the NATA Industry Excellence Awards Dinner on May 4 at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, D.C.


Christiansen has served as chairman of the National Air Transportation Association and as chairman of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Fractional Ownership Aviation Rulemaking Committee that developed the new FAR Part 91K to regulate fractional operators. He currently serves as chairman of the Air Charter Safety Foundation, an organization devoted to raising the safety awareness of Part 135 charter operators and the traveling public.

"The NATA Board of Directors is deeply honored to celebrate Jim's many outstanding achievements," stated Coyne. "Jim's contributions in leading the development of new Part 91k regulations as well as being chairman of NATA and now the ACSF are just a few of his many outstanding accomplishments."

Jeff Burger, editor of Business Jet Traveler, will receive the Aviation Journalism Award that identifies a journalist, writer, or publication excelling in consumer education or editorial support that is beneficial to the FBO/Air Charter industry. Burger joined Business Jet Traveler in early 2004, a few months after the publication's launch. Besides editing the magazine, he writes its "Inside Fractionals" column and has conducted its interviews with such people as Sir Richard Branson, James Carville, Suze Orman, David Neeleman and F. Lee Bailey. He helped to oversee BJT's redesign and its introduction of an annual Buyers' Guide issue, which is now in its fourth year; he also conceived last year's popular special issue on The Bizav Advantage. During his years with the magazine, it has won one bronze and two silver awards in the prestigious Folio: Editorial Awards in the Best Transportation/Travel Magazine category. Articles edited by Burger have also won national and regional awards.

The Columbus Flight Standards District Office will be the recipient of NATA's FAA Customer Service Excellence Award and will be recognized as an FAA facility that has represented the highest degree of customer service and elevated the quality of interaction between the FAA and aircraft maintenance and repair facilities, Part 135 certificate holders, airport service organizations, and flight schools. They were nominated by NetJets for their dedication, professionalism, and willingness to work through a very challenging project.

The ATP/NATA General Aviation Service Technician Award acknowledges the exceptional performance of a licensed airframe and power plant mechanic or radio repairman who has practiced his or her craft for a period of 20 or more years. Steve Taylor, long-time Epps Aviation employee, has been named as this year's recipient. After securing his A&P certificate in 1973, he was employed by Epps Aviation and has been a fixture since that time. Rising through the ranks from mechanic in the piston shop to head of all maintenance services at Epps, Taylor epitomized the virtues of loyalty, commitment, continued education and patience. During his tenure, Epps Aviation has developed into one of the leading service centers in the southeast United States.

John Bales, airport director of Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Missouri, is this year's recipient of the NATA Airport Executive Partnership Award, sponsored by Airport Business Magazine. The Airport Executive Partnership Award recognizes an airport manager for his or her outstanding efforts to foster relationships between aviation businesses and airport operators. Recipients of the award must illustrate leadership in the "partnership" between airport operators and airport tenants. Bales has been the airport director at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport since 2008. He has done an exemplary job of maintaining a customer service mentality, and at the same time promoting responsible growth and development of the airport. Bales takes a partnership stance with regard to all airport tenant business dealings, and he is always willing to help with any problem. He has successfully lobbied for state and federal funding for key infrastructure projects, and also successfully introduced a Missouri House of Representatives bill establishing tax incentives to help promote aircraft maintenance operations in Missouri.

William M. Hays will be this year's recipient for the Excellence In Pilot Training Award for his outstanding contributions in safety, professionalism, leadership, and excellence in the field of pilot training. As a flight instructor, he has recommended a countless number of pilots for certificates and ratings from Private Pilot through Transport Pilot with a pass rate near 100% for the past 36 years. Hays presently focuses the majority of his efforts on the overall operations of ATD flight training and air charter operations with an emphasis on quality, safety, standardization and regulatory compliance.

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