Airport management staff and consultants gathered for the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Airport Management Association welcomed AOPA President Mark Baker as they celebrated successes and honored one of the Bay State’s longest-serving aviation advocates.
The association’s annual meeting included the induction of Sherman W. “Whip” Saltmarsh Jr. into the Massachusetts Aviation Hall of Fame, honoring his many achievements during a 43-year public service career. The longtime chairman of the state aeronautics commission secured $160 million in bond funding and oversaw $215 million in airport improvements. Saltmarsh also served in the state legislature for 14 years, and capped his career with a successful effort to win approval of an aircraft sales tax exemption in 2002 that sparked an aviation boom, building an industry that now creates $16.6 billion in economic activity by the latest estimates and supports more than 162,000 jobs.
AOPA Eastern Regional Manager Sean Collins works closely with the airport management association and other groups and aviation advocates, and has made the annual gathering (Sept. 28 to 29 this year) a fixture on his calendar.
“More often than not, many of the local airport issues we become involved with at AOPA headquarters and/or as regional managers are able to be handled by a simple phone call when you know the parties involved,” Collins said. “Attending regional events like the annual Massachusetts Airport Management Association Conference and others allows for these important face-to-face connections, solidifying relationships that broaden AOPA’s reach at the local level. These networking opportunities pay dividends when problems arise.”
Baker, who has been keeping a busy schedule of grassroots events, also seized the opportunity to meet and greet the aviators and aviation professionals who help general aviation thrive in Massachusetts.