The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has named Mark Lowdermilk manager of its Airport Support Network (ASN). He will be responsible for a full-time staff of two people and the growing number of ASN volunteers working to save airports across the United States. There are currently more than 1,100 ASN volunteers.
"ASN volunteers are crucial to our continuing efforts to preserve and protect general aviation airports," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government and technical affairs. "Mark's aviation experience, coupled with his business credentials, makes him the ideal manager for this vital program."
AOPA's Airport Support Network is striving to place an ASN volunteer at each of the 5,300 public-use airports in the United States. Volunteers are AOPA's "eyes and ears" and provide an early warning of problems or threats to the airport. A volunteer serves as a liaison to local pilots and monitors developments that might affect airport operations or the future of the airport. The volunteer also establishes communications with airport management, political bodies, and businesses on the field.
The ASN volunteer is the local advocate for the airport, helping to promote the value of the airport to the community.
Lowdermilk was previously a technology officer in the West Virginia Governor's Office of Technology and has served as manager of the science and technology programs for the West Virginia Development Office. He was responsible for developing programs to help government and businesses better use the state's information technology infrastructure.
A native of Fairmont in northern West Virginia, Lowdermilk has an MBA degree from West Virginia University in Morgantown.
A 4,500-hour pilot, he holds an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate with a Boeing 737 type rating. He is also a certified flight instructor and FAA-designated pilot examiner. Lowdermilk was formerly a flight officer for Eastern Airlines, a pilot for Chautauqua Airlines (USAir commuter service), general manager for Mountain State Flight Services in Morgantown, West Virginia, and a flight instructor for several schools including FlightSafety International. He has also operated an aviation consulting business.
AOPA was founded in 1939 to help members keep their flying safe, fun, and affordable. Today, some 380,000 pilots—well over half of all active aviators—are members of AOPA, the world's largest civil aviation organization.