Woody Cahall has been promoted to vice president of aviation services and Ed Thompson promoted to vice president of member assistance at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
"Member service is the keynote of the world's largest aviation organization," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Just as in our effective role as 'The Voice of General Aviation' with government, AOPA member service just doesn't promise, we deliver."
Both Cahall and Thompson have made significant strides in recent major upgrades to AOPA member service.
At the AOPA aviation services department, Cahall heads a staff of 24 who respond to more than 100,000 member inquires per year on aviation technical and regulatory issues. Questions often cover airworthiness directives and FAA regulations, plus tips and services for the purchase and sale of aircraft, including AOPA's Aircraft Valuation Service by Vref.
Also under Cahall's supervision is the AOPA medical certification department, where some 20,000 pilots each year call for assistance in renewing or recovering their FAA airman medicals.
In the AOPA member assistance center, Thompson manages a staff of 27 handling over 250,000 calls and e-mails a year regarding AOPA membership and AOPA member benefits. Thompson's area also processes AOPA Title and Escrow Service inquiries, registration for Air Safety Foundation courses, and orders for AOPA's aeronautical chart service.
Cahall joined the AOPA professional staff in 1992, bringing to AOPA his decades of experience as an airport manager, charter pilot, and flight instructor. The commercial pilot with multiengine, seaplane, and glider ratings has some 10,500 hours in numerous aircraft types.
Cahall has recently supervised the conversion of the aviation services knowledge base from paper references to electronic form. This now facilitates faster answers for telephone inquiries and makes more of AOPA's information resources accessible via the AOPA Online Web site.
Thompson joined AOPA in 1996 with over a decade of customer service management experience at snack food manufacturer Snyder's of Hanover in nearby Hanover, Pennsylvania, at health insurance provider Blue Shield of Pennsylvania, and at mail order house Hanover Direct.
At AOPA, Thompson's expertise in automatic call handling and communications systems, and his "team oriented" staff motivation and management, have helped streamline AOPA member service. His strong member service orientation also guided his work on AOPA's substantial upgrade of computer-based tools for faster, higher-quality member service.
AOPA member satisfaction surveys continue to give AOPA service an "A," grading its performance above 90 percent. Moreover, nearly 90 percent of AOPA members renew their membership each year.
AOPA membership grew more than 20 percent in the 1990s, despite a decline in the pilot population for much of the decade.
April 18, 2000