"I'm Very Proud Of What We Have Done"
Tom Poberezny, who has led EAA as president and later CEO since
1989, announced Tuesday that he was retiring from the organization
"to take time to do what I want to do." Poberezny made the
announcement at 1230 CDT in front of the iconic brown arch on the
Wittman Field flight line.
"This is a personal decision, and I wanted to go out speaking to
friends," Poberezny said.
Poberezny said the announcement was not so much a press
conference as it was a message to the membership of EAA, and took
no questions following the announcement. "I've been able to take
the credit for what you have done," Poberezny said, referring to
the members of the organization. While there are advocacy
organizations with their roots in Washington, Poberezny said what
sets EAA apart is it's grass-roots nature. "EAA is and outstanding
organization ... a field organization with an outstanding
Poberezny paid tribute to the thousands of volunteers who make
AirVenture possible each year, and said one of the things of which
he is most proud is the Young Eagles organization. When asked how
many of the people at the announcement had flown a Young Eagle
... the majority raised their hands.
Poberezny said what he won't miss is checking his Blackberry
every morning, or his cell phone every two minutes.
The outgoing EAA chairman said the worst time to retire is
looking back and saying "I should have retired then." He said he
sees EAA as an organization with an outstanding future, and that
there are "great opportunities going forward." Poberezny said 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.”
(L-R) Rod Hightower, Louie Andrews
EAA Board Chairman Louie Andrew and EAA president Rod Hightower
were also present at the announcement. “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,” Andrew said.
“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.”
In congratulating Poberezny on his retirement, Hightower said
"I'm really glad you're only a short drive or a phone call
Poberezny's retirement becomes official August 1st, following
the last day of AirVenture.