Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine August/September 2021 online issue
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The non-profit Ohio Air & Space Hall of Fame and Learning Center (OAS) has established its inaugural board of trustees, the group now focusing on multiple aspects of renovating the original 1929 Port Columbus Air Terminal into its new home and establishing its public programming.
The nine-member volunteer board presently serving OAS represent diverse business, aerospace, and education backgrounds and have collectively begun to direct the newly formed organization with OAS Founder and Executive Director, Ron Kaplan, who additionally serves as interim chairman. Since their first meeting in May, trustees have been focused on administrative tasks, the “Phase One” campaign to raise matching funds required by the State of Ohio for its $550,000 grant and preparing for a multi-million-dollar fundraising campaign to follow.
Earlier this year, OAS announced a memorandum of understanding with the Ohio State College of Engineering’s Center for Aviation Studies to partner in developing aviation STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curricula for teens and the creation of aviation events and activities related to Ohio’s air and space pioneers. Potential partnerships with other Ohio universities, non-profits, and education programs are in discussion. In March, OAS and Moody Nolan, its Columbus-based architectural firm, also premiered an animated fly-through video depicting the 13,000 sq ft terminal when completed, including a state-of-the-art STEAM learning facility. Other involvement includes The Hodge Group, serving as philanthropic counsel, and Signature Flight Support, which is supporting the project with office space.
A recently completed feasibility study for OAS confirmed the board’s enthusiasm for saving and transforming the historic terminal into the home of OAS, especially for its mission of providing youth with learning and workforce development opportunities. Upon review of such feedback, it was proposed that OAS change its name to better emphasize its role of providing education resources to those of all ages and backgrounds. As a result, OAS trustees unanimously approved changing the organization’s name to the “Ohio Air & Space Hall of Fame and Learning Center,” which is now reflected in a new logo. The 501(c)(3) organization had originally been formed as the Ohio Air & Space Hall of Fame and Museum.
The inaugural OAS Board of Trustees include Christopher Axene, Equity Principal, Rea & Associates, Inc.; Tim Beach, Executive Administrator, Youth Aviation Adventure; Earl Lee, Principal, Director of Experiential Design, Moody Nolan Architects; John Mitchell, President, Tuskegee Airmen Inc., Ohio Chapter, and American Airlines Captain (Ret); Stephanie Morgan, Executive Director, Air Transportation/Aerospace Campus, OSU College of Engineering; Christine Mortine, Certified Flight Instructor, and FAA Designated Pilot Examiner; George O’Donnel, Vice President, Arshot Real Estate Services, LLC; Andrew Pierce, Director, Buckeye Tigers A.C.E. Academy, and USAF Lt. Col. Retired; Robert E. Tanner, Executive Director, Aerospace Partnerships, Parallax Advance. (www.OhioAirandSpace.org)