SUN ’n FUN CAMPUS, LAKELAND, FL. – (April 22, 2011) – SUN ’n FUN President John Burton is taking on a new role and a new challenge: raising the profile and prestige of the Florida Air Museum (FAM) at the local, regional, national and international levels, FAM officials announced today.
“SUN ‘n FUN and the Florida Air Museum are all about education” said FAM Board Chairman and SUN ’n FUN Executive Committee member Pat Hill. “The incredible new building at the entrance to campus that houses the Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA) stands as testament to our commitment to education. We are now taking a bold step forward in expanding our year-round mission by naming John Burton – a proven leader on a national stage – as the person who will lead the charge as we expand our vision, our programs and our presence.”
Hill said SUN ‘n FUN and the Florida Air Museum have a tremendous opportunity ahead and that it is critically important to ramp up for the future while taking advantage of the legacy that has been established over the past 37 years.
“John came to SUN ‘n FUN more than 10 years ago and raised the profile of our event to a world-class aviation expo,” he explained. “Now we are asking him to repeat his success with the Florida Air Museum. His passion for community and his skill set in public affairs and industry relations could not be a better fit to lead the dreams of the FAM organization. And, his commitment to our overall mission offers the opportunity for us to sustain his deep involvement in making the SUN 'n FUN International Fly-In & Expo a continuing success.”
Hill said Burton will move from his current position as President of SUN ’n FUN Fly-In, Inc., to President of the Florida Air Museum effective June 1. A national search will begin immediately to fill the SUN 'n FUN leadership position. Ernie Sanborn, interim FAM President for the past 18 months, will continue his vital role as head of programming and development and will serve as FAM’s Executive Vice President.
SUN ’n FUN Fly-In Board Chairman and FAM Board member Bill Eickhoff said Burton’s move to the museum is a tremendous “win-win” situation for all involved.
“In discussing the opportunity with leaders in aviation, with leaders in the regional associated partners and with donors, there is a consensus that John (Burton) is the type of leader we need to take on the year-round opportunities and challenges of the Florida Air Museum,” he explained. “It is clear to everyone involved that he possesses the specific attributes we were looking for to take the FAM organization, as the primary driver of the educational mission of the SUN 'n FUN organization, to the next level and beyond by utilizing the strong working relationships he has already established within the industry, government and donor communities.”
Burton has been a member of the SUN ’n FUN staff since July 1999, when he was named Managing Director. He was promoted to Executive Director on January 1, 2000, and to President and CEO on January 13, 2001.
“I’m ready, willing and able for this exciting new challenge,” Burton said. “I have given my heart and soul to SUN ’n FUN for the past 12 years and am now ready to begin the next phase of my professional career. And what better time than now, especially considering the remarkable Fly-In event we just concluded? I hope to apply what we learned these past few weeks – that there is no limit to what can be accomplished by a dedicated and talented team who share a common passion and a common purpose – in the dynamic new environment of the Florida Air Museum. I relish the challenge and look forward to moving forward!”
Prior to joining the SUN ’n FUN staff, Burton worked for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for nearly 15 years, most recently as Vice President of Corporate Communications. He has also served as Public Relations Coordinator at Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh; Publications Editor at Lawrence University in Appleton (Wis.); and Services Coordinator for the University of Wisconsin Alumni Association in Madison.
A 1979 Journalism graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Burton has also worked with ABC (television) Sports on college football broadcasts and the American League (baseball) Championship Series. He is also an active volunteer in and around the Lakeland community.
Burton and his wife, Kristin, are the parents of three daughters: Tahlia (Phil) Combs, Alayna and Brianna.