FORT WORTH, Texas — 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.
Shepard has been the chairman and catalyst behind the recently organized Grand Junction Airport Users and Tenants Association (GJAUTA). His 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. Shepard 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, 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, according to AOPA officials. Despite the demands of his own entrepreneurial career, Wood had taken the time to serve on the GJT Airport Authority Board.
Both men 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, AOPA officials said.