Former AOPA Southeast Regional Manager Bob Minter was honored Sept. 10 with the Kentucky Aviation Association’s highest award for his five decades of airport awareness and advocacy in the region.
Minter founded Tennessee’s Aviation Hall of Fame and is a familiar figure to pilots flying in any of the eight states he monitored during a 40-year career with AOPA. Besides starting Tennessee’s Aviation Hall of Fame and then being enshrined in it three years ago, the Embry-Riddle graduate also serves on the board of directors for Georgia’s Aviation Hall of Fame and the National Air and Space Education Institute in Kentucky.
Minter said he was invited to his neighboring state’s aviation celebration but had no idea he was to receive Kentucky’s highest aviation honor. “I said I’d be there anyway and they asked me for a short bio so I thought I’d be a standby speaker and didn’t think anything more of it.”
When his name was called to the podium for the Henry Ogrodzinski Excellence in Aviation Award, Minter said he was as surprised as anybody. “I was in tears when I got this thing, it was really extraordinary. Before I could get to the front of the room, several hundred people were standing and applauding. It was just lovely.”
In a press release announcing the honor, retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Jerry Humble, president of the Kentucky association, wrote that Minter received the award for “earning a reputation as a staunch aviation advocate and effective public policy strategist.”
Minter is the executive director of the Tennessee Aviation Association and is working on details for this year’s enshrinement of National Championship Air Races Unlimited Gold winner Robert “Hoot” Gibson into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame.
“There are two awards in my life that mean the most to me and this is one of them. The other is the career contributions award from the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission in 2002. The two of those are so incredibly meaningful to me,” said Minter, who borrowed a quote to describe how he lives his life. “There’s no end to what you can accomplish if you don’t concern yourself with who gets rewarded for it.”