EAA today named longtime pilot and EAA
member Rod Hightower, EAA 357443, as the incoming president of the
association. Hightower was introduced by current chairman and president,
Tom Poberezny, during his opening day remarks. A press conference will
be held at 3 p.m. today at Press Headquarters on the AirVenture grounds.
Newly named EAA
President Rod Hightower with EAA Founder Paul Poberezny.
Hightower, a Texas native, has a
distinguished career in business leadership. His career spans more than
25 years of business management for manufacturing and industrial
companies. He has led both U.S. and international operations with as
many as 2,300 employees and annual revenues of as much as $470 million.
Hightower is also a vintage aircraft
enthusiast, having restored his own Stearman biplane, which he flies out
of the Creve Coeur, Missouri airport. He is a director of the National
Stearman Foundation and has helped organize the annual Stearman National
Fly-in. His duties as EAA president will begin September 7 and include
the day-to-day operations as well as direction of EAA programs and
strategy. He is only the third president in EAA history and the first
outside the Poberezny family.
"This is a very exciting time for
EAA and general aviation," said Hightower, who is attending this
week's EAA AirVenture with his wife, Maura, and their five children.
"I'm honored to be selected as the next leader of such a passionate
group of aviation enthusiasts as EAA members. I've been a part of the organization
for more than 20 years. There is much work ahead, but I am eager to
Tom Poberezny will remain as EAA
chairman, using his experience and background to foster EAA's business
relationships, philanthropy and the organization's endowment. He will
also remain as chairman of the annual EAA AirVenture fly-in.
"Rod's selection completes a process
that began with an initial meeting of EAA's executive board in
2005," said Poberezny, who has served as EAA president since 1989,
when he succeeded his father, Paul, who had been president since EAA's
founding in 1953. "Rod has the passion for aviation that is
absolutely essential to serve EAA's 160,000 members, as well as the
extensive business operations background that is necessary to
successfully meet the challenges and opportunities ahead for EAA."
"It's important to note that I'm not
retiring," Poberezny added. "My health is good, but dividing
the day-to-day operational duties of EAA president and those essential
in EAA's future development is necessary to benefit both roles."
Hightower was selected from more than 700
candidates for the position. EAA was assisted in the search by the
international executive recruitment firm Korn/Ferry.