2021, A Year of Reflection from the GMAA President
Dear Friends and Supporters
As 2021 draws into a close, I want to take a moment and thank our tireless board of directors, for all their hard work and dedication. It has not been easy to operate a non-profit association, based entirely on volunteers, during the time of Covid. This year, by and large, we were restricted from conducting gatherings. What did we do? We came up with a fantastic schedule of interesting webinars, featuring amazing speakers. We covered industry segments such as: Regional airlines and LCC, FBO’s & business jets and the MRO industry. In June we held our 3rd “Executive ladies of Aviation” panel, which was very inspirational to the many female students in the audience. We held luncheons with guest speakers from American Airlines, Delta and Southwest – all major players in our region. We held our scholarship luncheon, where 25 students received very significant scholarships, and then, to finish the year, we held our biggest ever gala, “Havana Nights” at Jetscape hangar in FLL, where industry luminaries such as Ted Christie, Juan Carlos Liscano, Dr. Jaffus Hardrick, Manny de Jesus and Avianca were honored. We concluded this busy event calendar with a fantastic golf tournament on December 5th.
Through all this “turbulence” we managed to have our best year ever, in terms of revenues, new & expanded memberships, donations and grants (most recently $25,000 from the Batchelor foundation). This is all thanks to you, our loyal supporters, who understand how important our mission is: we must put more local young aviators into work here, as pilots, technicians, flight controllers, engineers & managers.
I’d like to share with you an excerpt from the gala speech, which outlines our philosophy:
WE ARE PURPOSELY PROMOTING OUR SCHOLARSHIPS TO DEMOGRAPHICS WHO ARE NOT TRADITIONALLY ASSOCIATED WITH AVIATION: WE STILL HAVE IN THE US, ONLY 9% OF PILOTS AND MECHANICS WHO ARE BLACK, LATIN OR ASIAN, AND ONLY 6% OF WHICH ARE WOMEN. THIS PARADIGM HAS TO CHANGE. WE ARE NOT SUGGESTING THAT YOU GET A JOB BASED ON YOUR GENDER OR ORIGIN, EVERYONE WHO HOLDS AN FAA LICENSE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HUMAN LIVES, AND MUST ADHERE TO THE SAME CRITERIA. BUT THE ACCESS TO FLIGHT SCHOOLS AND AVIATION TRADES MUST BE MADE EASIER TO FOLKS WHO CANNOT OTHERWISE AFFORD IT. SO PLEASE, CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE GMAA SO WE CAN CONTINUE IN THIS PATH.
WE HAVE SOME AMAZING SCOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS WITH US TODAY. THEY ALL HAVE HEART WARMING STORIES. JUST TO MENTION A FEW – LEONARDO POLO – A MARINE, WITH 2 YOUNG DAUGHTERS, WHO HAS FINISHED BAKER TECHNICAL COLLEGE AS AN A&P AND WILL NOW PURSUE A HIGHER DEGREE AT COLLEGE. BLANCA CORTES IS A SINGLE MOTHER OF 4 PURSUING A DEGREE AT EMBRY RIDDLE, THE TWINS, TIFFANY AND PENELOPE, BOTH ARE MOTHERS WHO ARE BECOMING AIRCRAFT MECHANICS. THERE ARE SO MANY GREAT STORIES.
On behalf of our board, I’d like to also thank our tireless secretary, Connie Devine and Rebecca Longo of R3 Aviation Marketing who orchestrated our social media & marketing campaigns and special events.
This is a time to celebrate and enjoy your families. We wish you happy holidays, and let’s make 2022 another banner year.