Former AOPA executive Karen Gebhart has been named vice president of business development and expositions at Helicopter Association International (HAI).
Gebhart served in executive roles at AOPA for more than 16 years, overseeing such areas as membership growth, communications initiatives, and the AOPA Foundation. In her new role, she will take on planning and oversight of the association’s convention, Heli-Expo; business plans for HAI sponsorship and participation in other trade shows, and the selection of and negotiations for show service providers, HAI said in a press release.
“HAI is getting a talented leader in Karen Gebhart,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “Much of her career has been dedicated to advancing the interests of pilots, and her extensive experience in business development and major event planning will serve HAI and its members well. All of us at AOPA look forward to once again having the opportunity to work with Karen as she uses her many talents on behalf of the helicopter community.”
Gebhart served in a variety of roles at AOPA, handling many aspects of the association’s operations. She came to the association in 1994 as vice president of membership; in that role, she oversaw extensive growth of AOPA’s membership and the association’s presence at aviation events, built international partnerships, and managed the “Be a Pilot” promotional campaign. She became senior vice president in 1996 and later added member products, the member assistance hotline, and annual convention operations to her responsibilities. She became executive vice president of nondues revenue in 2001.
In 2007, Gebhart became executive vice president of communications, overseeing AOPA’s external communications efforts and membership publications, including AOPA Pilot and Flight Training magazines, AOPA Online, electronic newsletters, and campaigns such as GA Serves America. She was named president of the AOPA Foundation in 2009.