Wisconsin Holds 59th Annual Aviation Conference

WAUSAU-ROTHSCHILD, WIS. – Tony Yaron, Director, Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee, Wis., and Central Wisconsin Aviation, hosted the 59th annual Wisconsin Aviation Conference at the Patriot Center in Wausau-Rothschild, Wisconsin, May 5-7, 2014.

The Wisconsin Airport Management Association (WAMA), Wisconsin Aviation Trades Association (WATA), Wisconsin Business Aviation Association (WBAA), and Wisconsin Aviation Exhibitors & Consultants Association (WAECA) sponsor the Wisconsin Aviation Conference. The conference is the premier aviation event of the year, bringing together consulting engineers and suppliers; airport managers, staff and commissioners; general aviation pilots; corporate flight department managers; fixed base operators; and federal and state aviation officials to meet, discuss and exchange ideas and information that are important to all aspects of aviation in Wisconsin.

The opening keynote speakers were Wisconsin Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb, and David Greene, Director, Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics, and his executive staff including Keith Gerard, Scott Brummond, and Mark Arnold. Mosinee Mayor, Al Erickson, welcomed guests to the conference.

Two of the most popular conference sessions were on the recent legislation, which exempts aircraft parts and labor from Wisconsin sales tax, and the “Wisconsin Flying Hamburger Social.”

On the panel for the legislation on sales tax exemption was Jeff Baum, President, Wisconsin Aviation, Inc.; Abe Weber, Director, Outagamie County Regional Airport; and Bryan Budds, Manager, AOPA Great Lakes Region. Baum, Weber and Budds were among those who testified before the State Senate to urge passage of the legislation. Before concluding this session, the people in the room decided that the next legislation needed in Wisconsin is to revise state lien laws to allow for aircraft mechanic’s liens to be recorded as part of the FAA Aircraft Registry. Currently, Wisconsin is one of only 14 states that does not have such a law.

John Chmiel, Manager of Wausau Flying Service and Wausau Downtown Airport, and Jeff Gaier, Manager of Marshfield Municipal Airport, described their success in organizing hamburger social fly-outs throughout the state to stimulate airport activity.

Among the awards presented by the Wisconsin Airport Management Association (WAMA) was the “Blue Light Award For Aviation Journalism” presented to Joe Taschler, reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentential.

Named “Engineer of the Year” was Chris Reis, PE, of Mead & Hunt, Inc., who has been involved in numerous civil and military airfield projects in 2013-14.

Named “Person of the Year” was Abe Weber, Director, Outagamie County Regional Airport, Appleton, Wis., for his work in getting the sales tax exemption legislation passed.

Recognized for “Lifetime Service” was Joe Brauer, Director, Rhinelander–Oneida County Airport, Rhinelander, Wis.

WAMA’s “Professional Development Award” went to Scott Volberding, Outagamie County Regional Airport, Appleton, Wis.

WAMA scholarships were presented to Christian Gillaspie of Boscobel, Wis., who is attending Lakeland College; and Collin Senglaub of Manitowoc, Wis., who is attending the University of North Dakota.

Jeremy Sickler was recognized for his service as president of WAMA.

Thirty-seven sponsors and 46 exhibitors supported the conference.

The 2015 Wisconsin Aviation Conference will be held May 11-13 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and hosted by La Crosse Regional Airport and Clinton Torp, Manager.

Coordinating the Wisconsin Aviation Conference is Bob O’Brien, Executive Director, Wisconsin Airport Management Association. The planning committee consisted of 25 people from the industry. For additional information go to www.wiama.org, or contact Bob O’Brien at 815-757-2869.

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