NATA Bestows Industry Excellence Awards

Van Gemert, Ballough, and five others receive top NATA honors.


"Jim Ballough's dedication and commitment as one of the longest serving directors of FAA's Flight Standards Service can only be described as remarkable. His attention to safety issues and exemplary efforts to improve the entire aviation industry are just two of the many reasons he will be honored with NATA's Distinguished Service Award," says Coyne.

William (Bill) Garvey, editor-in-chief of Business & Commercial Aviation, 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. Garvey also serves as deputy managing editor, Business Aviation for the AVIATION WEEK group. Before joining McGraw-Hill in 2000, he was the top editor for both Flying and Professional Pilot magazines, and a senior editor at Reader's Digest. He has authored or co-authored three aviation books, was an essayist for National Public Radio, wrote aviation documentaries for The Discovery Channel, and served as host of "Aviator's World," a cable television series. During his stewardship at Business & Commercial Aviation, the monthly magazine has received dozens of awards for editorial excellence.

The DuPage FSDO will be recognized, as an FAA facility representing the highest degree of customer service and elevating the quality of interaction between the FAA and aircraft maintenance and repair facilities, Part 135 certificate holders, airport service organizations, and flight schools, as the recipient of NATA's FAA Customer Service Excellence Award. The DuPage FSDO covers the northern part of Illinois, serving 23 counties. The FSDO supports the FAA's Safety Mission through implementation of the local, regional, and national performance plans and provides aviation enthusiasts with a variety of aviation safety-related data and activities, seminars, and meetings.

"NATA applauds the DuPage FSDO's commitment to improving their service and response continually for their customers in pursuit of the highest level of safety," says Coyne.

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. Jimmy Ray fits that bill well as a respected, accomplished licensed A&P who has been involved in aviation for 31 years. For the last 11 years, he has contributed as a technician, lead technician, service department manager, maintenance inspector and now as the chief inspector for Million Air-Salt Lake City. Jimmy is credited with helping to implement many procedures and policies to reduce rework and to increase safety, and quality within the company. Ray is described as a dedicated, professional leader who is always willing to help others. This award is sponsored by Aircraft Technical Publishers.

The Airport Executive Partnership Award, sponsored by Airport Business Magazine, will go to Gary Schmidt as an airport manager whose outstanding efforts nurture the relationships between aviation businesses and airport operators. Schmidt is the director of reliever airports for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission. He oversees the operation and management of six reliever airports in the Twin Cities area. Schmidt has been involved in aviation for nearly 35 years and was an air traffic controller before becoming an airport manager.

Bill W. Griggs will be awarded the Excellence In Pilot Training Award for his outstanding contributions in safety, professionalism, leadership, and excellence in the field of pilot training. Griggs co-owns, with his son, Aviation Facilities Inc., a flight training center located on the Fullerton Airport, Fullerton, CA. He founded AFI nearly 44 years ago and is still active on a daily bases in the operation. He is a flight instructor, with over 15,000 hours of instruction given. AFI has averaged over 6,000 hours of flying per year at their operation for over 30 years.

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