GMAA 2022 Elections Results

Dear GMAA Members and Supporters,

Our election committee, comprised of Carla Pinto and Wayman Eduardo Luy, had tallied up the votes of our April 11 Elections. The results will be ratified by our board at our next meeting.

This year, again, we had an amazing cadre of 10 candidates who are so passionate about our industry, supporting education and keeping the legacy of our amazing organization. They all are qualified and deserve to be on our board.

Alas, there were only 5 seats up for election, and it gives us great pleasure to announce the new board members:

Cam Murphy
Vicky Sokolowski
Jorge Guerra
Madeline Mesa
Rebecca Longo

Congratulations to you all. We look forward to another amazing year of achievements at the GMAA.

Aviv Tzur
GMAA President
Avbiz Aerospace Ventures

Photos of 2021 Golf Tournament

Dear Members & Friends,
We’d like to thank everyone who supported the 2021 GMAA Golf Tournament and helped make it a great success! We look forward to doing it again next year!
Click here for photo gallery.

2021 GMAA Gala Photos

President’s Address at the 91st Gala Award Ceremony

The following is a transcript from a speech given the 91st Gala Award Ceremony by GMAA President Aviv Tzur.

THANK YOU Mayor Gimenez for this tremendous honor and recognition for the GMAA. You are truly the “aviation mayor” and we look forward to working with you on projects in the future.

I would also like to acknowledge Mr. Lester sola, CEO of MIA, who is another strong ally of the GMAA.

Ladies and gentlemen, GOOD EVENING.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the premier event of the aviation industry in South Florida – the GMAA 91st gala. For those of you that don’t know, this organization and its founders had a crazy idea 91 years ago: lets open an international airport, and so, one year later, MIA opened, and since then, it continues to be the economic engine of our region.

Tonight’s gala is all about RESPECT. As in R-E-S-P-E-C-T from the song by the late, great Aretha Franklin.

First, I would like to give thanks and respect today to my wonderful board of Directors, please stand up and be recognized.

I challenged this board last year, to exceed what was a record gala in 2017, and they came through. This gala is the largest ever in our history, so was the golf tournament yesterday, and that means that next year we would have more money to give scholarships to young men and women, who are dreaming to become pilots, technicians, Air traffic controllers or aircraft mechanics, but do not have the financial means to accomplish it. We, at the GMAA want to facilitate the fulfillment of their dreams, and pave the road for them to become the next generation of aviators.

The next RESPECT goes to the students. You know, I have been involved in the GMAA for a few years, but it wasn’t until this year, that I had the privilege to sit and interview these amazing men and women, and I feel so privileged to have done so. You need to listen to their life story, and understand their struggles, to know why for many of us this is a mission, and a labor of love.

Take for example LUCAS BOTAZINI, a young man who is a father of 3 beautiful girls. He has served our country for 10 years on the National Guard, and he is currently enrolled in BCC, and working toward getting his pilots license. Last year he was injured and suffered financial hardship, and that’s why we stepped in to help him in his pursuit of becoming a pilot.

Or how about FRANCIS PINEDA, who was born in Nicaragua. She got her AA at MDC, and currently is enrolled in BCC, pursuing an Aerospace Science degree. She is doing all this while working full time and volunteering at MIA. why? As she says: “I am an Aviation lover”. we awarded Francis a scholarship so she could pursue her dream and become an Air traffic Controller.

Every one of these guys, has a story. Some have changed their careers because they realized their calling is in Aviation. We have a bio-technologist who left a promising career, and works full time in an electronics store, but his dream is be a pilot. We feel that our mission is to support them.

Tonight, we also honor, and give RESPECT to this year’s award recipients. They have all reached the top of the mountain, when it comes to their respective careers.

How about one of my idols, Judge Jay Cristol, receiving today the Pioneer award. He has made a name for himself as a tough but fair bankruptcy court judge, who oversaw some of the largest airlines’ bankruptcies. He first flew in 1945, when he was the first eagle scout in Dade county. He became a Navy pilot, flew in Korea, and eventually got a law degree and became a judge. But first, he worked hard, parking cars, working in a hotel as a youngster to pay for flight lessons.

Or, Willard Shepard, recipient of the Rickenbacker award. We all know him as the 5-time Emmy award reporter on NBC6. But Will is also a retired Lt. Col. Airforce pilot with multiple combat missions, an attorney and a philanthropist. A very accomplished individual who has covered and supported the aviation industry for many years.

I met my friend, Luis Morell, recipient of the Glenn Curtiss Award, when he worked for a company called Northwings, 20 years ago, as a junior accountant. Today, Luis is the President of Heico repairs, an MRO with multiple locations which employs thousands of people. I can tell you, that did not happen overnight.

Just ask John Dietrich, who is COO of one of the largest cargo airlines in the world, and receiving the Juan Trippe award tonight. He started working for Atlas Air in 1999, as an assistant General Counsel. He got busy shortly after when Atlas hit some major road blocks. He has been climbing up the corporate ladder ever since then to reach his current position.

Finally, there is Michael Kasbar, recipient of the prestigious Wright brothers award, who today runs the largest public company in Florida, World Fuel Services, – $35 BILLION in revenues. As Mike tells it, he went for an interview as an assistant baker in his native Brooklyn. He has come a long way.

You will hear more about these amazing individuals later on in the evening, but there is a common thread: they all built themselves from the ground up. They all supported themselves, studied and worked hard, and had a steadfast pursuit of a dream.

Booker T. Washington said: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

It’s a hard road, with many ups and downs, but to you, our scholarship recipients we say today: we support you, we believe in you, and one day in the future, you will stand here on this podium and accept an award for your life achievements. Give yourselves a round of applause for what you have achieved thus far. Finally, I want to give respect and love to a dear colleague and friend, Captain A.J. Tolbert who passed away untimely this year. A.J. was the Dean of the FMU aviation program, a retired AA pilot, and member of the GMAA board. We all miss A.J. who also embodied this spirit of overcoming obstacles and achieve the impossible. An educator who relentlessly pushed his students, to reach new heights. I urge you to watch a tribute video about his illustrious life coming soon on our web site.

And with that, I want to Thank you all, and enjoy the evening!

Broward College Aviation Students Awarded $36,000 in Scholarships from the Greater Miami Aviation Association

Broward College is proud to announce that 12 Emil Buehler Aviation Institute students are recipients of the Greater Miami Aviation Association’s (GMAA) Batchelor Aviation Scholarship Fund.  The students will be recognized and awarded a total of $36,000 in scholarships at the 91st GMAA Wright Brothers Memorial Gala on October 13, 2018 at the Trump National Doral Miami Resort.

The scholarship is awarded annually to skilled aviation students in the South Florida region who are pursuing careers in the aerospace industry. The students Lucas Botazini, Alex Gutierrez, Amit Kopit, Antonella Mancebo, Jacob A. Moore, Oscar Romo Ortiz, Francis Pineda, Juan Felipe Ramirez, Aramis Sanchez, Peter Sheppard, Nicholas W. Smallacombe and Guillermo A. Suarez were selected based on their outstanding academic and aviation achievements, as well as their leadership and financial needs. The $36,000 will be allocated to the recipients based their individual financial need.

“We are honored to have our hard-working aviation students selected to receive this prestigious scholarship,” said Broward College President Gregory Haile. “Scholarships like this are a vital part in Broward College’s mission of providing our students the opportunity to successfully achieve their professional dreams.”

Established in 1927, the GMAA is one of the most respected aviation civic organizations created to increase public awareness of aviation’s important role in our community. The Association created the GMAA-Batchelor Aviation Scholarship Fund to support the future aviation careers in South Florida by awarding scholarships to local college students, which was made possible by a substantial endowment by the late George Batchelor.

About Broward College
Serving more than 63,000 students annually, Broward College provides residents with certificate programs, two-year university-transfer degrees, two-year career degrees and baccalaureate degrees in selected programs. The mission of the college is to provide high-quality educational programs and services that are affordable and accessible to a diverse community of learners. For more information, visit

GMAA to honor Mike Kasbar, World Fuel Services CEO, other aviation luminaries; award $91,000 to aviation students at 91st Annual Gala

Founder and CEO of the largest public company in Miami – World Fuel Services, and other aviation luminaries will be honored at the Greater Miami Aviation Association’s 91st Gala on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at the Trump National Doral Miami Resort at 6:30 p.m.

Mr. Kasbar co-founded Trans Tec in 1985 and transformed it through acquisitions and organic growth into World Fuel Services (WFS) a $35 Billion company who is an energy market maker, and supports many airlines, logistics and maritime companies. He will receive the Wright Brothers Memorial award, which recognizes outstanding achievement by pioneers in our industry, much like the Wright Brothers, who have contributed to the expansion of our industry, and created economic impact for our region. Mr. Kasbar will join the likes of Amin Khoury, Larry Mendelson, Gary Spulak, Gordon Bethune, David Storch and Fred Smith who received this honor previously.

Mr. Aviv Tzur, the President of the GMAA, also announced the following award winners:

  • John Dietrich, COO of Atlas Airlines, Juan Trippe Award
  • Luis Morell, President, Heico Repair Group for the Glenn Curtis Award
  • Col. Willard Shepherd, Anchor, NBC Universal, the Eddy Rickenbacker Award.
  • Judge A. Jay Cristol, the Pioneer Award
  • International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) for the Corporate Achievement Award

In addition, GMAA announced that over 20 students from local Universities and Colleges will be provided between $2,000 and $10,000 in scholarships under the George T. Batchelor Scholarship Fund and type rating training, sponsored by Pan Am International Flight Academy totaling $91,000, and a $2,000 Timothy Perseverance scholarship. Over the past five years the GMAA has provided close to $400,000 in scholarships to local young aviators.

The Greater Miami Aviation Association (GMAA), was established in 1927 and is one of the largest and oldest Civic and Business Aviation organization in the Americas. 

GMAA works in concert with other organizations, industry leaders, government and civic leaders to ensure that the interest of the aviation industry, with an emphasis on South Florida are constantly promoted. Additionally, it provides life-changing opportunities to young men & women with financial challenges, striving to become the next generation of aviators, through its Batchelor fund program.

For more details about the GMAA and biographies of the award recipients, please go to

2018 GMAA Midsummer Golf Tournament Photos

GMAA Midsummer Golf Tournament

Thank you to all our 2018 Midsummer Golf sponsors for a great turnout and Tournament!

1st place: AAR  | 2nd place: AvBiz LLC | 3rd place: GA Telesis


Photos from 2018’s Midsummer Tournament