The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) announces the promotion of Karen Gebhart to executive vice president of Non-Dues Revenue, a newly created position within the association.
"Karen's unique background with AOPA's advertising agency, Membership Marketing, and the current Products and Services Marketing group make her an excellent choice for this position," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "During her 11-year tenure, Karen has held increasingly responsible positions and led departments that generate millions of dollars."
Gebhart joined the AOPA staff in 1994 as vice president of Membership Marketing, where her responsibilities included the development and oversight of direct mail and advertising campaigns to help attract and maintain AOPA members. In 1996, she was promoted to senior vice president, assuming additional responsibilities in managing the AOPA Membership Assistance department and AOPA's graphics staff. In 1999, Gebhart took over the Products and Services Division, including AOPA Member Products, Aviation Services, and AOPA Expo.
In her new position, Gebhart leads a division spanning two important areas of continuing growth for AOPA, contributing more than 60 percent of AOPA's income. The first is AOPA Publications advertising, which annually generates more than $14 million in revenue for the association.
Second are the member benefits available through specialized products, services, and discounts for AOPA's members. The non-dues revenues from these programs generate more than $19 million, helping keep AOPA dues low and funding special efforts for the advocacy and advancement of general aviation (GA).
Gebhart also oversees the annual AOPA Fly-In and Open House, which attracts thousands of aviation enthusiasts and hundreds of airplanes to AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Md., each year, and AOPA Expo, the association's annual convention and trade show.
With Gebhart's promotion, the senior management reorganization set in motion by Boyer in 2003 is complete. Gebhart is now one of the four executive vice presidents of AOPA, along with Diana Roberts, Operations; Jeff Myers, Communications; and Andy Cebula, Government Affairs, who will ensure the continued success of the association.
Prior to joining AOPA, Gebhart was vice president of Barry Blau & Partners direct marketing agency in Baltimore, Maryland, where she was account manager on Blau's programs for AOPA. Her previous agency experience includes more than nine years in product marketing, managing client relationships with Citibank, Commercial Credit, First Chicago bank, and Honeywell, among others.
At AOPA she was instrumental in development of the AOPA Project Pilot mentoring program for new student pilots; a more-than-44-percent growth in member product income and program participation; and the assessment and purchase of AOPA Flight Training magazine.
Gebhart is a private pilot and holds a business degree from Iowa State University.
The more-than-407,000-member AOPA has represented the interests of GA pilots since 1939. GA includes all flying except the scheduled airlines and the military. Nearly two-thirds of all U.S. pilots, and three-quarters of the GA pilots, are AOPA members.
January 9, 2006