LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - Members of the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) elected new representatives to its board of directors this month during the AEA International Convention in Orlando. In addition, the AEA board of directors elected a new chairman and new vice chairman.
Three incumbents seeking re-election and one new board member were elected to represent the United States on the AEA board. For the first time under new bylaws, three board members also were elected to represent the association's three international regions: Canada, Europe and the South Pacific. All members of the AEA board are limited to three, three-year terms.
The new AEA chairman of the board is Greg Vail, a long-time member and former vice chairman. Vail is the general manager of Bloomington Avionics, Bloomington, Ill. He has more than 29 years experience in the aviation business, and he is a licensed single-engine pilot with instrument endorsement.
Vail was a member of the AEA's Strategic Planning Committee before being elected to the board of directors in 2005. He chaired the AEA's Government & Industry Affairs Committee, and he also spearheads the AEA Ambassador Program to promote better communication between AEA member companies and FAA Flight Standards District Offices.
He and his wife, Sandra, have two grown children.Vail is a native and life-long resident of Illinois.
"(The AEA has) enjoyed explosive growth during the past 15 years, and we continually represent avionics repair stations around the world," Vail said. "We've grown rapidly throughout the world, and today have members in nearly 40 countries.
"As an industry and as an association, we have a number of challenges in front of us. Safety management systems, TSA mandates, OSHA mandates - there are just a number of upcoming issues the association will be there to assist members with."
Vail is the first person to become AEA chairman under the new governance structure of the bylaws: serving first on a committee, then as a director on the board, then as vice chairman of the board, and now, chairman.
"Before that, many, many people put many, many years of effort into this organization. When the time came for change, the change was peaceful and went forward without any problems. I think the new structure is working well.
"I'm happy I was part of the board's original strategic planning committee and was able to see this transition all the way through from its inception to the present. I simply hope I'll do as well in this position as all the predecessors I've had the opportunity to know and learn from. I hope I can meet their expectations."
Gary Harpster of Duncan Aviation, Lincoln, Neb., was elected as the new AEA vice chairman of the board. Harpster was first elected to the AEA board of directors in 2005.
After he got out of the Navy in 1976, Harpster acquired both his private and commercial pilot's licenses. He then went back to school at the University of Omaha and later transferred to Iowa Western, where he received a degree in electronics technology.
Harpster flew for Omaha Air Supply for two years before landing a job at Sky Harbor in Omaha as manager of the avionics shop. In 1985, he joined Duncan Aviation and helped set up its first satellite shop in Houston, Texas. After Houston, he helped with a second shop in Cleveland, Ohio. During his early career, Harpster wrote repair station manuals and bought test equipment to get the shops running. He then became an avionics technical representative, troubleshooting aircraft systems. During the CVR era, he moved into his current position in avionics sales.
The new AEA chairman is Gary Harpster and David Loso is the new vice chairman.
Six incumbents were re-elected to represent the United States, and one new board member, Tim Shaw of Rocky Mountain Aircraft, was elected to represent Canada.
The number of voters casting ballots during the AEA's annual board of directors' election increased 15 percent from the general election held in 2010.
AEA names Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics Associate Member of the Year and Jim Joubert as Member of the Year for 2012.