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Wed, May 06, 2009

AEA's Michael O'Leary: A Long Look At The Association

AEA's Outgoing Chairman Talks About The Organization

After years in service to the Aircraft Electronics Association, AEA Chairman Michael O'Leary got to follow AEA President Paula Derks in a final official address to the AEA membership. No second fiddle, O'Leary had everyone's attention... and deserved it. O’Leary has served on the AEA board of directors since 1996, first as secretary, and since 2002, as its Chairman. In 1998, Michael was honored as AEA’s Member of the Year. O’Leary is an avionics sales manager with Midcoast Aviation, Cahokia, Ill. In other words, avionics-wise, he's been there and done it all.

O'Leary spoke of education, the work of the Board, his fellow AEA staffers, and the headway the association has been making toward a transition to "a need for change" as AEA's  metamorphosis continues in a manner befitting the times. He praised Derk's "Lean, Mean staff" and to all the others who he valued in his service to the organization. In his final note to the assemblage, O'Leary noted (obviously referring to the economic issues we all face), "We can do this. We can pull this thing out. We've done it before. We can do it again."

“We are purposely choosing to emphasize the positive attributes of the industry this week,” said Paula Derks, president of the Aircraft Electronics Association on the opening day of this year’s annual convention and trade show, which took place from April 1 to 4, at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Dallas.

Setting this tone seemed to work as nearly 1,500 attendees crowded the AEA Exhibit Hall and the meeting rooms to research products and gain knowledge through educational forums on technical and regulatory issues.

Among the positive highlights of this year’s convention were:

  • More than 31 companies taking part in the “New Product Introductions” session.
  • More than 140 companies and organizations displaying during the trade show.
  • Attendees receiving more than 75 hours of FAA-accepted technical training classes.

“It would be premature to announce the light at the end of the tunnel,” Derks said, “but many of the manufacturers told me they are making good contacts and writing orders at the booths, which means their dealers — our members — are buying product.”

Next year’s AEA International Convention & Trade Show is set from April 7-10, 2010, at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Aero-TV Checks In With Outgoing AEA Chairman Michael O'Leary



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