Who Watches Those Who Rule?
AOPA's "front line" in defending
members' interests in the states is the association's 13 regional
"These experienced aviators also have the knowledge and the
contacts within the state governments and legislatures to get
things done for general aviation," said Roger Cohen, AOPA vice
president of regional affairs. "Many of our reps are former state
aviation officials themselves, so they know where to find the
levers of power."
AOPA recently realigned regions in the middle of the country to
increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the regional
representatives. (See AOPA's Regional Affairs Web page.)
The Midwest Region now includes Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, with
veteran rep Bob Dickens "re-upping" for another tour. A former FAA
official, NTSB investigator, and decorated Army aviator, Dickens is
also a fixed- and rotary-wing CFI and Grumman Tiger owner. "We're
thrilled to have an experienced hand like Bob back on the AOPA
regional affairs team," said Cohen. "He's uniquely situated both
geographically and from an experience and professional network
standpoint to handle the Midwest region."
Minnesota has been added to the Great Lakes region and the
experienced hands of Bill Blake, former head of the Illinois
Division of Aeronautics and vice chairman of the National
Association of State Aviation Officials.
Shelly Lesikar, who joined AOPA as Southwest regional
representative last April, now has Arkansas in addition to New
Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Lesikar is a
third-generation pilot and former Cessna representative, who also
has experience in both city government and the Texas
(Photo: Front row: Craig Dotlo, John Pfeifer, Shelly
Lesikar; middle row: Bill Leavens, Stacy Howard, Mike Ferguson,
Bill Hamilton; back row: Bill Blake, Chris Hudson, Tom George, Bob
Minter, Nelson Rhodes.)