Oshkosh Tourism Honors EAA Founder
May 7, 2009 — EAA Founder Paul Poberezny received a standing ovation this morning at the annual Oshkosh Tourism breakfast as he received a special award honoring his role in boosting tourism in the region. The annual breakfast is hosted by the Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau.
As president of EAA, Poberezny brought the annual fly-in to Oshkosh in 1970 and the EAA Aviation Center headquarters facility to the city in 1983. Since the fly-in first arrived, it has grown to be one of the world’s major aviation events, welcoming attendance surpassing 500,000 each year, along with 10,000 aircraft. An independent 2008 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh survey estimated the economic impact of EAA AirVenture alone at more than $110 million in the three-county area surrounding Oshkosh.
Keynote speaker Bill Geist, a national tourism consultant based in Madison, Wis., also praised Poberezny and EAA for their contributions to the region’s economy. Geist said that the international visitorship of events such as AirVenture not only build bridges between people, but also raise visibility of the community for outside business leaders who might consider economic development in the area.
Poberezny was also recognized for his 56 years of leadership to EAA, beginning as the organization’s president in 1953-1989 and as chairman of the board from 1989 to earlier this year, when he retired from that position.