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Two Grand Junction, Colo., Airport Advocates Receive AOPA's Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual AwardTwo Grand Junction, Colo., Airport Advocates Receive AOPA's Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award

Oct. 10, 2013

          Contact: Steve Hedges
                        [email protected]

Fort Worth, TX – Colorado airport advocates Dave Shepard and Steve Wood have been named the 2013 winners of the Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award.

The award is the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) highest honor for individuals. It is presented annually to those who have made the most significant contributions to the advancement of general aviation, which characterized the life of Laurence P. Sharples, one of AOPA’s founding fathers and its first chairman.

Dave Shepard has been the chairman and catalyst behind the recently organized Grand Junction Airport Users and Tenants Association (GJAUTA). Dave’s efforts to organize users and tenants at Colorado’s Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT) began in 2011 in response to concerns regarding the airport administration’s approach to security, leasing, public engagement and other issues.

Under Shepard’s leadership, GJAUTA was officially organized in January 2012. Today the organization has more than 300 members. Dave has led the effort to hold the airport’s leadership accountable to its general aviation users, particularly in regard to the airport’s reconfiguration of security infrastructure and policies, which previously had a negative impact on GA users and businesses.

Separately, Grand Junction Regional Airport-based AOPA member Steve Wood has been an influential force on GA issues at GJT, particularly in his role as a member of the Airport’s Security Solutions Committee, created in January of 2012 to re-evaluate the airport’s ill-advised security procedures.

Thanks to Wood’s thoughtful and collaborative efforts, a new dialogue has been established among GJT officials, TSA, and airport users. Despite the demands of his own entrepreneurial career, Steve had taken the time to serve on the GJT Airport Authority Board.

Dave and Steve are both passionate and engaged pilots and have been powerful advocates for GA and AOPA members in western Colorado. They exemplify the spirit of AOPA, and of Laurence P. Sharples.

About AOPA
Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. With a membership base of nearly 400,000, AOPA is the largest aviation association in the world. With representatives based in Frederick, Md., Washington, D.C., and seven regions across the United States, AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media products. To learn more, visit

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AOPA Communications staff

Topics: AOPA, Aviation Industry

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