The Be A Pilot Foundation has named Drew Steketee to lead general aviation's public education and outreach effort as president and chief executive.
"Drew's career has been devoted to communicating why we fly and why more Americans should discover flying," said Russ Meyer, chairman of Cessna Aircraft Company and 2000 chairman of Be A Pilot. "His appointment signals a full transition from volunteer industry oversight to senior-level full-time leadership.
"Beginning now, Be A Pilot moves ahead to dramatize the industry's unprecedented opportunities for a new generation of pilots who will enjoy advanced training methods, more productive flying, exciting pilot careers, and remarkable new advances in general aviation technology."
"A special interest of mine since 'getting hooked' on flying in 1962," noted Steketee, "was the gulf between those who fly, and those who have no earthly concept why flying is important, productive, or fun.
"The Be A Pilot program, founded on extensive research and prospect profiling, has made great strides in reaching a focused target audience through cable TV advertising and the Internet," commented Steketee.
"Now, we hope to enhance these efforts while speaking more generally about lifestyle opportunities, careers, and aviation's place in American life."
Since 1991, Steketee has been senior vice president of communications at the 360,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He received national notice and industry acclaim as general aviation's leading spokesperson following the tragic John Kennedy, Jr. accident in 1999. The effort won a coveted Aviation Week and Space Technology Laurel award for the proactive AOPA team responding to the tragedy.
Previously, he was the first executive director of the Partnership for Improved Air Travel, founded earlier by the airlines, Boeing and other manufacturers, and the travel industry. Enlisting a quarter-million frequent fliers, the coalition sought public consensus for better airports and air traffic control.
He was director of corporate communications for Beech Aircraft Corporation in Wichita in the late 1980s during development and certification of the Beech Starship. Previously, he was director of communications for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and for the Airport Operators Council International, both in Washington, D.C.
The 2,600-hour commercial pilot earned his early flight training by mowing the grass runway at a New Jersey airfield. He is also founder and volunteer executive director of the Civil Air Patrol Historical Foundation. A 1971 graduate of Brown University, he resides in Ashburn, Virginia, with wife Carol, an employee of the Air Line Pilots Association.
The Be A Pilot effort is supported by a broad range of aviation companies and organizations and will continue to operate from the Washington, D.C., area. Working with Steketee will be Be A Pilot executive director Cyndy Brown.
For more information, contact Be A Pilot at 202/842-4099 or visit the Web site.
September 8, 2000