What Is Going On At EAA???
There appears to be a first class shakeup going on at EAA... and
the result is that a number of major talents and personnel have
been shown the door and at least one has walked out.
ANN is monitoring multiple reports that indicate that EAA has
given walking papers to a number of staff members, reassigned
others, and is dealing with at least one high-profile
resignation... with rumors of more to come. We know that long-time
EAA photographer, Jim Koepnick has been let go along with a number
of publications personnel (E-Pub and Editorial staff), at least one
other high-profile writer has been given reduced responsibilities
(reportedly at her request), and Adam Smith, once thought to be
headed for much bigger and better things has reportedly resigned...
possibly in protest.
Insider reaction is just coming in ... but some high-profile EAA
supporters are telling ANN that this is NOT the EAA they signed up
for and supported for so many years and that sentiment is growing
rapidly and negatively. EAA, though, says this is the result of "a
year-long review" in which they "needed to align the organization
to fit a long-term strategic plan to insure their future mission
EAA's Dick Knapinski confirms that somewhere south of 30
pinkslips were handed out... but that somewhere around half of
those positions will eventually be filled with other personnel.
Separated persons are being given severance packages and
outplacement transition aid.
As the rumors started hitting, EAA sent out a press release...
though it raises as many questions as it answers. The EAA release
positioned the effort in a positive fashion, quoting EAA Boss Rod
Hightower as saying that, "This will strengthen our organization in
several key areas to more effectively meet the needs of our
members, donors and aviators... We've made these moves after
spending the past year reviewing EAA's operations to best align
them with the organization's goals, and listening to many EAA
members and supporters regarding the most valued areas of EAA."
Among the changes is a positive one -- Jeff Skiles, the first
officer on that amazing US Air flight that ditched in the Hudson
River, has joined the organization in a full-time capacity. Jeff
Skiles is now the Vice President, Chapters and Youth Education.
Skiles, already well known for the aforementioned for being one of
the "Miracle on the Hudson" pilots, has also served for the past
two years as Young Eagles co-chairman. He brings a wealth of
aviation experience and passion to this new role as EAA strengthens
and expands its global Chapter network and industry-leading Youth
Education initiatives and programs.
Chad Jensen has become Manager of EAA's Homebuilders Community.
Jensen "brings extensive homebuilding experience and aviation
skills to this important role as EAA increases its knowledge and
information capabilities for Homebuilders and the amateur-built
segment of aviation. He will have extensive involvement with Flight
Advisors, Tech Counselors and the passionate community of
Heidi Strand of Blue Door Consulting in Oshkosh will lead EAA
Marketing on an interim basis while EAA completes a search for Vice
President of Marketing. Strand will lead EAA's brand and marketing
capabilities and also be responsible for EAA digital media
properties and strategy.
A new position has also been created, though no one has been
named as yet to fill the role. The newly created "Vice President,
AirVenture" will 'lead the world's premier aviation event to
continued growth and importance as the preeminent general aviation
marketplace.' This position will take a seat on EAA's Senior
The release adds that, "Much thought and collaboration has been
invested in the reshaping process to make EAA a stronger
organization, better equipped to lead aviation and welcome the next
generation of aviators," according to Rod Hightower.