NATA Elects Three New Board of Directors Members and Announces New Leadership

Alexandria, VA, April 22, 2013 – Today at its annual Membership Meeting, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) announced the selection of Michael Scheeringa, President and CEO of Flight Support, BBA Aviation, as Chair of the NATA Board of Directors. The association named Gary Dempsey, President, Flight Services – The Americas, Jet Aviation Holdings USA, Inc., board Vice-Chair.

NATA also elected three new members to its board of directors: Clara Bennett, Manager, Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE); Andy Priester, President and Chief Executive Officer, Priester Aviation; and Gregory J. Schmidt, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pentastar Aviation.


Clara Bennett has served as Manager of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) since August 2004, directing the airport’s day-to-day operations, development and promotion and administering the airport’s 200-acre industrial airpark, John Fuhrer Downtown Helistop, and Foreign Trade-Zone #241.

During her tenure, Bennett coordinated more than $40 million in capital improvement projects and approximately $35 million in leasehold improvements. These public and private investments resulted in an estimated annual economic impact of more than $800 million generated by airport activity and a total payroll of $176 million generated by airport businesses.


Andy Priester joined Priester Aviation in 1997 and soon was managing the Aircraft Charter area. When the Priester family sold their FBO operation in 2001, Charter and Aircraft Administration became the main focus of the company. Priester served as Director of Charter Operations. Priester Aviation appointed him President on April 1, 2004. Priester was instrumental in growing the business from an initial 7 to the 40 aircraft they manage today and taking Priester Aviation from a regional to a national and now an international operation. In 2008, he orchestrated the acquisition of LionHeart Aviation, a leading aviation broker, which doubled Priester Aviation revenue. Priester Aviation appointed him Chief Executive Officer in January, 2013.

Priester is a private pilot and is Past President of Illinois Aviation Trades Association (IATA), Past Chairman of the NATA Air Charter Committee and Founding Chairman of NATA Charter Industry Audit Standards Working Group.


Gregory J. Schmidt is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Pentastar Aviation (Waterford, Michigan). He joined Pentastar in 2008 as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and was instrumental in the recent acquisition of Aviation Interior Services (AIS) and the establishment of Pentastar’s new East-Coast repair facility at Oxford, Connecticut (OXC). Prior to coming to Pentastar, Schmidt was with Pulte Homes, where he served as the President of Pulte Homes of Ohio and as Manager on the Corporate Asset Management Committee for Pulte Homes, Inc.

“NATA continues to attract knowledgeable industry leaders to help provide unsurpassed governance for our association. We look forward to working with these gifted leaders as we reposition NATA within the industry and in Washington,” stated NATA President and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks.

Click here to view the full list of the NATA Board of Directors.