From Our July 11, 2019 Meeting: Michael O'Harra, FAA Regional Administrator
Our July speaker was Michael O'Harra, who was appointed Regional Administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Southern Region in January 2018. He is the senior agency official within an eight-state region including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He is the FAA Administrator's primary representative for elected officials, civic groups, aviation industry, educational institutions, and other Federal agencies in the region.
Mr. O'Harra's previously served as the Deputy Regional Administrator for the FAA Southwest Region from 2008 until 2018, also supporting the DOT planning and response for transportation emergencies. He has experience leading major capacity and policy initiatives for the FAA, and previously held positions in private industry for nearly a decade-spanning both aviation and aerospace fields.
Mr. O'Harra graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland.
From Our May 23, 2019 Meeting: Eric Rojek, Vice President, Thrush Aircraft, Inc.
Our May speaker was Eric Rojek, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Thrush Aircraft. Thrush is one of the world’s largest manufactures of agricultural aircraft. These advanced turbine-powered airplanes are used around the world for variety of missions – from crop spraying, to firefighting, to insect control and more. As Vice President, Eric leads Thrush Aircraft global marketing strategy, communications, brand positioning efforts, sales and delivery of Thrush Aircraft’s agricultural product line worldwide. He is a graduate of Georgia Southern University and holds a BBA in Marketing. Eric has been with Thrush since 2005.
From our March 13, 2019 Meeting: John "Lites" Leenhouts, President of SUN 'n FUN International & Founder of the Aerospace Center for Excellence
Our March speaker was John “Lites” Leenhouts, CEO and President of SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In International and The Aerospace Center for Excellence located in Lakeland, Florida, is a 27-year veteran of the United States Navy with a distinguished record of service as a carrier fighter pilot. Lites passion for aviation has spanned over nearly 5 decades from hitch hiking to his first airshow as a young kid to retiring from the United States Navy in 2001 as the Commodore of the Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic. Lites holds the distinction of being the most experienced US Naval aviator of all time having successfully completed 10 major deployments and achieved 1,645 arrested carrier landings.
The EPPS Award for Outstanding Aviation Achievement was Presented to Major General George Harrison, USAF (Retired).
George Harrison retired as Associate Director, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Atlanta, Georgia in 2016. Before his retirement from the U.S. Air Force in July 1997 as a Major General, he was Commander, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. George began his Air Force career as an F-4 pilot at MacDill AFB, Florida in 1963. Since then, he has flown combat in Republic of Vietnam (RVN), Iraq and Bosnia. He commanded the 4485th Test Squadron, the 479th Tactical Training Wing, the USAF Air Warfare Center, Joint Task Force Southwest Asia and served as the Director of Operations for U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
The EPPS Award for Outstanding Aviation Achievement is given in the name of Pat Epps, a Georgia Tech alumnus, and his family who have made such a positive impact on aviation in the Atlanta Area. Ben Epps, Pat’s father, flew a powered aircraft of his own design at Athens, Georgia in 1907, just three years after the Wright Brothers’ first successful powered flight.
Thank you, Mr. Epps, for making this honor possible!
About the Atlanta Aero Club
The Atlanta Aero Club is dedicated to providing a forum for matters affecting aviation in the Atlanta area, both commercial and general; recognizing and awarding those making the greatest contribution to furthering aviation in the Atlanta area; communicating and disseminating information affecting aviation; and promoting all aviation and recognizing its importance to the metropolitan area and to the State of Georgia.
Please take a few moments to browse the site and see what the Aero Club has to offer. If you would like to attend one of our great events, keep an eye out to the right in the Upcoming Events section for information.
Individual Memberships are only $55 a year. Business memberships are $250 per year and allow up to 10 named individuals. Support the Atlanta Aviation Industry by joining or renewing now!