More than 50 AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers from all across the country met at Expo to get updates on the program, meet their new director, and network with other volunteers. They also received a surprise visit from incoming AOPA President Craig Fuller.
“The ASN volunteers are AOPA’s boots on the ground,” said ASN Director Jennifer Storm. “Local voices matter.”
Storm was named director of the ASN program two months ago. She has worked for AOPA for nearly five years and was previously director of safety education programs for the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. She is a University of North Dakota graduate and flight instructor.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this successful program,” said Storm. “It is great to meet so many of our volunteers face to face. We discussed a lot of ideas to grow and improve the program.”
Created by AOPA President Phil Boyer in 1997, the Airport Support Network program has grown from 400 volunteers in 1998 to more than 1,900 today. Volunteers act as AOPA’s “eyes and ears” at their local airports.
The meeting at Expo was also held to address fears that the program—a Boyer initiative—would disappear with Boyer’s retirement. Absolutely not, Fuller told the Expo group. Fuller told volunteers that he understands the importance of the program.
“This was a very positive meeting,” said Bob Lenox, the ASN volunteer for Palo Alto Airport. “I enjoyed hearing Craig’s vision for the future.”
There was another “Craig” in attendance at the meeting—Craig Spence, AOPA’s new vice president of aviation security.
“AOPA is taking security issues seriously,” said Storm. “That’s why we have Craig Spence—we created this position.”
Spence is a GA pilot and a former official with the Department of Homeland Security.
Storm also told the volunteers that a new online course is being created to train volunteers. It will launch in several weeks. For more information on the ASN program, or to volunteer, visit the Web site.