The mission of the Greater Miami Aviation Association is to support and increase the pool of qualified South Florida college graduates who are pursuing careers in the aerospace industry and to enhance the overall effectiveness of our members through knowledge, networking and cooperation. The GMAA represents the region’s aviation industry, providing a forum to increase public awareness and promote programs that leverage the positive impact aviation has on economic development in its local communities. We provide a forum for the sharing of opinions and concerns among industry leaders, business executives, government, civic leaders, and others with an interest in the past, current and future activities of the aviation and aerospace industries.

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We contacted Rocio Duarte, our 2016 Typerating recipient, donated by PanAm International Flight Academy.

Rocio told us about her background, family and education.
I was born in Viota Cundinamarca, a small town in Colombia surrounded by mountains. Its economy is based in coffee production, so I grew up around farmers. Even though I had a humble childhood, the public schools I attended was my primary responsibility.

Due to economic distress, I left Colombia to look for work and academic opportunities. I did not have the language skills needed to advance in this industry, so I attended Broward Community College and pursued English as a second language. I went on to earn an Associate of Arts as a daytime student while working as a bartender at night to pay for my tuition." Rocio continued, "I always wanted to land an airplane! When I was a kid, my father used to take me twice a year to a city four hours away from home. We went just to watch airplanes land; to this day I think the other reason he took me to the airport was because it was free."

"A few months after moving to Florida, I went on a sight-seeing flight around Miami Beach. The pilot allowed me to operate the controls and during the flight I discovered that more than just landing an airplane I wanted to be a professional pilot, so the next day I enrolled in a flying school."

George Batchelor believed age should never limit goals, Rocio is 41 years young.
We asked Rocio to tell us about her experiences at Pan Am International Flight Academy. She told us, "Pan Am International Flight Academy offers more training courses, it is a very professional institution with years of experience that gives a person the highest quality training. The instructors are masterly polished to incorporate human factors into simulator practice, which facilitates an agreeable experience for the student. My Pan Am Academy instructor was Johan Raymondy. The facilities at Pan Am Academy are impeccable and well located, the staff is helpful, cooperative and efficient. They will make you feel at home, even when you are far away from home." Rocio added, "I was able to get my ATP during the A320 check ride. Having the ATP and the A320 type rating gave me a direct entrance to a cargo company and avoid regional transitions while in training."

We asked Rocio to tell us how this opportunity helped advance her career and life goals. We also asked what advice would she give students that might consider making aviation a life's ambition. Rocio responded with, "I profoundly admire the philosophy and dedication of GMAA members, its directives, and all the personnel involved in the different activities. Every year GMAA works to develop and collect funding which provides scholarships. It is imperative to note its positive impact on the aviation community by helping others through education. GMAA efforts not only help scholarship recipients, but indirectly creates an atmosphere of hope for those that in difficult circumstances may want to give up trying. Aviation is a beautiful but expensive career, and I have met a lot of pilots unable to accomplish their goals due to funds. I considered myself one of the lucky ones and I will forever be grateful for GMAA's support.

My final question for Rocio was, "What would you like to say to our GMAA Membership?" Her response was very insightful, "My lifelong goal in to have a cargo company and my biggest accomplishment is to be able to do what I love on a daily basis. The Greater Miami Aviation Association scholarship and Pan Am International Flight Academy's training helped me in these efforts though so many different aspects. What is next for me? Besides my work and with a cargo company, I want to earn a Bachelor Degree and enroll in the Aviation & Airspace sustainability program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University"
We thank Rocio for this interview and wish her blue skies throughout her aviation life.
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Last night, our new Board of Directors and Executive Board were sworn in by Judge Jay Cristol. It was an excellent night, highlighted by an engaging presentation of the Federal Air Marshalls, and sponsored by SAFEsky.

I was honored to be sworn in as your new President, following the elections we conducted last week. I would like to share with you some of my goals and aspirations as I take on this new challenge:

1) Extend the reach of GMAA beyond our current membership: we must do a better job, communicating to prospective members who we are, what we do and how will it benefit them to join us.

2) Strengthen GMAA and the Foundation financial status: we have an excellent Treasurer at Anita Aedo, and together we will work towards creating a sustainable budget. We will embark on a fund raising campaign to increase our foundation funds, so that we can support many students for future years. These students are the lifeblood of our industry, and it is our primary goal to assist them. The Foundation, who’s president is Nelson Gonzalez, is dependent on our support! I look forward to hear your ideas about raising funds.

3) Cooperate with local and regional aviation and civic/ Economic development associations to send a unified message which will promote sustaining local aviation companies, and help their expansion. If we pull together our resources, we can be more effective.

The goals are lofty, and can only be achieved through team work. Every member of our organization is a team player. As such, if you want to be actively involved, through a committee membership, sponsoring a luncheon or a presentation, golf tournament and gala, we want to hear from you. Likewise, if your company is in need of our assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We have a wide network of colleagues, who are not only Airlines or MRO companies but also bankers, attorneys, insurers, accountants, investment advisers, M&A brokers and the list goes on and on. We will be happy to make the
connection.

Friends, we recognize that membership in our association is voluntary. We are a non-profit organization, and as such, we donate our time and money to achieve a goal. Let us all live by words from a great civil rights leader, Martin Luther King:

“An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

I look forward to meeting and connecting with each and every one of you, as we embark on this journey.

Best

Aviv Tzur
President & CEO
Avbiz Aerospace Ventures LLC.
P: 786-252-8249
atzur@avbizllc.com
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