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Mon, Nov 09, 2009

Aero-TV: First Year and Counting -- One On One With Craig Fuller, Part 1

A First Year Update With AOPA's President

Its been a trial by fire for First Year AOPA Boss, Craig Fuller... not only did he follow a leader (the irrepressible Phil Boyer) who was much beloved by the membership, but he stepped into the mess that 2009 made of the aviation business (much less the rest of the world).

We've been getting mixed signals about how folks are judging his first year and are not quite sure if the pro-Phil folks are still simply missing the long-time leader or some genuinely have some grief with the new leadership. Questions put to attendees on the floor of the 2009 AOPA event were met with a somewhat more pro-Fuller response, but we decided that checking with the guy at the center of the storm was the most appropriate way to gauge where he was as his first year at the helm of AOPA was coming to a close.

ANN broke the news of Boyer's retirement and Fuller's selection several days before any other news organization and before the official AOPA announcements, in the summer of 2008. Fuller left his native California in 1981 to be Assistant to the President for Cabinet Affairs in the Reagan White House. In 1985, he became chief of staff for Vice President George H.W. Bush, traveling with the vice president to every state and 60 nations overseas.

Later, after working with international public affairs organizations in Washington and Philip Morris Companies Inc. in New York, he became president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) linking retailers, manufacturers and suppliers in that industry. He left his last post as executive vice-president at global public affairs and strategic communications company APCO Worldwide in Washington to become AOPA president.

Fuller learned to fly at Buchanan Field in Concord, CA while still in high school and flew with the UCLA flying club at Van Nuys while earning a B.A. in political science. He has a Master's degree in urban studies from Occidental College in Los Angeles, where business travel in his early public affairs career fostered purchase of a Cessna 172RG Cutlass based at Santa Monica. He was (then) logging some 200+ hours a year in his Beech Bonanza A36 and has been enjoying a few more hours in the AOPA fleet, of late. He was a director of the US Chamber of Commerce, active in The Aspen Institute and a former trustee of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the George (H.W.) Bush Presidential Library Foundation.

FMI: www.aopa.org, www.aero-tv.net, www.youtube.com/aerotvnetwork, www.twitter.com/aeronews

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