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
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
- More than 31 companies taking part in the “New Product
- More than 140 companies and organizations displaying during the
- 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
Next year’s AEA International Convention & Trade Show
is set from April 7-10, 2010, at the Gaylord Palms Resort in