Longtime airport manager and Air Force veteran Nelson Rhodes has been appointed the new AOPA regional representative for Florida.
"Nelson's experience in the Florida airport management and general aviation communities, and his career-long strengths as a leader and communicator, make him an ideal candidate to continue our strong representation in Florida," said AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Bill Dunn.
Since 1989, Rhodes has been airport director for the Boca Raton Airport Authority in south Florida. During his tenure, he increased airport revenue 800 percent and oversaw construction of $10 million in airport capital improvements. Previously, he was director of aviation for Waco, Texas.
Rhodes is a 5,000-hour commercial pilot with single-engine land and sea, instrument, and multiengine ratings.
A 20-year Air Force career beginning in 1961 contributed to his wide experience in numerous aircraft types from singles to combat jets. He served in air operations, as instructor pilot and flight evaluator, and as director of combat aircrew training.
Rhodes also served a tour as Air Force liaison officer for the Iowa Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.
His military service won many honors, including the Air Medal with five Oak Leaf clusters, Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters, the Vietnam Service Medal with seven Bronze Service Stars, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
Accredited by the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) in 1982, Rhodes' efforts as Boca Raton airport manager won Florida DOT "General Aviation Airport of the Year" honors in 1996.
Rhodes' advanced degrees include a Master of Public Administration from Golden Gate University and graduation from the U.S. Air Force Command and Staff College. A former industrial engineering student at the University of Connecticut, he graduated magna cum laude from Park College with a B.A. in economics and business administration.
He is a member (and past board member) of the Florida Airport Managers Association, the Boca Raton Pilots Association, and the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. He is a past president of the Association of Texas Airport Executives and a former board member of the Texas Municipal League.
AOPA has 12 regional representatives working on state and regional issues nationwide for the 360,000-member pilots association, including representatives devoted solely to California and Florida aviation.
More than 25,000 of Florida's 46,000 certificated pilots are members of AOPA.
May 5, 2000