The Experimental Aircraft Association has named longtime pilot and EAA member Rod Hightower, EAA 357443, as the incoming president of the association.
Hightower, a Texas native, has a distinguished career in business leadership. His career spans more than 25 years of business management for manufacturing and industrial companies. He has led both U.S. and international operations with as many as 2,300 employees and annual revenues of as much as $470 million.
Hightower is also a vintage aircraft enthusiast, having restored his own Stearman biplane, which he flies out of the Creve Coeur, Missouri airport. He is a director of the National Stearman Foundation and has helped organize the annual Stearman National Fly-in. His duties as EAA president will begin September 7 and include the day-to-day operations as well as direction of EAA programs and strategy. He is only the third president in EAA history and the first outside the Poberezny family.
"This is a very exciting time for EAA and general aviation," said Hightower, who attended last week's EAA AirVenture with his wife, Maura, and their five children. "I'm honored to be selected as the next leader of such a passionate group of aviation enthusiasts as EAA members. I've been a part of the organization for more than 20 years. There is much work ahead, but I am eager to start."
Tom Poberezny will remain as EAA chairman, using his experience and background to foster EAA's business relationships, philanthropy and the organization's endowment. He will also remain as chairman of the annual EAA AirVenture fly-in.
"Rod's selection completes a process that began with an initial meeting of EAA's executive board in 2005," said Poberezny, who has served as EAA president since 1989, when he succeeded his father, Paul, who had been president since EAA's founding in 1953. "Rod has the passion for aviation that is absolutely essential to serve EAA's 160,000 members, as well as the extensive business operations background that is necessary to successfully meet the challenges and opportunities ahead for EAA."
"It's important to note that I'm not retiring," Poberezny added. "My health is good, but dividing the day-to-day operational duties of EAA president and those essential in EAA's future development is necessary to benefit both roles."
Hightower was selected from more than 700 candidates for the position. EAA was assisted in the search by the international executive recruitment firm Korn/Ferry.