In a surprise announcement today at AirVenture, Tom Poberezny said he is retiring as chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and AirVenture Oshkosh.
In a hastily called news conference under the historic Brown Arch in the heart of the AirVenture grounds, Poberezny said: “I am so proud of what we have been able to accomplish during my tenure. From increased attendance at our convention to the expansion of our facilities and programs, I am pleased to have led the effort to set the stage for future growth.”
Poberezny has led EAA – now in its 58th year – since 1989, when he assumed the top position after his father, Paul, retired from active day-to-day involvement. He has served as chairman of the annual EAA Convention for more than 30 years and will assume the title of chairman emeritus Aug. 1, when his retirement is effective.
“Tom, like his father, has been a visible leader for EAA and a mentor to thousands of flight enthusiasts, especially the countless young people that he has helped understand and become involved in the wonder of flight and the importance of aviation to our society,” said Louie Andrew, vice president of the EAA Board and chairman of its Executive Committee. “We will miss his daily involvement and valuable input, but we are happy to know that he will continue to be a good friend and an informal adviser as we move into an exciting future.”
Poberezny added that he is especially proud of the Young Eagles program, an effort to reach out to millions of young people and introduce them to the marvel of flying and flying machines.
“The building blocks for the continued success and growth for EAA have been laid, and I look forward to helping in new and different ways in the years ahead,” he said.
Poberezny added he feels fit and enjoys the work, but added that “fresh thinking and new ideas are the fuel to propel us forward. EAA is well-positioned to step into the future with confidence, strong leadership and a promising outlook.”
Rod Hightower, named EAA president at last year’s AirVenture, will assume Poberezny’s responsibilities. Andrew said that Hightower’s work with Poberezny over the past year prepared him well for the new duties.
“Tom has left big shoes to fill, and I’ll work hard to do my best for our members, our business partners, the aviation community and the entire Fox Valley area, especially Oshkosh,” Hightower said.
For more information: EAA.org