New EAA President on the Job
Active EAA member, pilot, restorer gets to work
EAA President Rod Hightower speaks with EAA staff on his first day.
September 9, 2010 — New EAA President Rod Hightower described his first two days on the job this week succinctly. “It’s been rather manic,” he said late Wednesday just before departing for the annual Stearman fly-in in Galesburg, Ill. “But it’s been a great manic and really positive.”
The third president in EAA history, Hightower spent Tuesday, his first day on the job, meeting with staff members throughout EAA’s facilities in Oshkosh and working on transition items with EAA Chairman Tom Poberezny, who has served as president since 1989. Poberezny will remain active as chairman, building relationships to grow EAA’s business partnerships, philanthropy, and the organization’s endowment. He will also remain as chairman of the annual EAA AirVenture fly-in.
As discovered by many EAA members or aviation enthusiasts who visit AirVenture or tour EAA headquarters for the first time, Hightower quickly learned about the “million moving parts” of the organization. “There is an incredible depth to the organization and everything we do here,” he said. “There is a truly dedicated staff and so many things that happen here throughout the year that benefit aviation that need to be told.”
Since his introduction as the incoming EAA president on July 26 during AirVenture 2010, Hightower has spent the past month meeting EAA members and chapters. Dozens of questions have come his way as a result of those appearances.
“’Are you a pilot?’ ‘Are you a builder?’ ‘What is your EAA DNA?’ Those are just some of the things that have been asked,” said Hightower, who has been an active pilot for nearly 30 years, an EAA member for more than 20, and is rightly proud of the Stearman biplane he rebuilt from a basket case over a seven-year period.
“What I’ve discovered even more in the past month is there is no aviation organization as dynamic as EAA. Most members don’t know of all the purposeful work being done here to grow aviation. Those are stories we need to tell.”