As AVweb reported Monday, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) last week named current General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) President Ed Bolen as its new leader, effective Sept. 7. Bolen's appointment as NBAA's next president comes after the tumultuous departure of the association's previous leader, Shelley Longmuir, and a lengthy search, described by the organization in a press release as "thorough and deliberative." It also comes with barely enough time remaining for Bolen to get spooled up in advance of NBAA's 57th Annual Meeting & Convention, scheduled for Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 12 through 14. However, Bolen -- an eight-year veteran at GAMA's helm -- will likely need little handholding to prepare for that event since his old employer is and has been closely aligned with his new one. All of which means that NBAA's announcement of Bolen as Longmuir's permanent successor didn't create much of a stir among Washington's aviation-related alphabet soup.
Indeed, GAMA and NBAA have been loosely but closely intertwined since the former was established in 1970 and have often worked closely together. All of which made Bolen's appointment both anticlimactic and welcomed by observers in other associations. By staying "within the grid," NBAA found someone who both knows a great deal about the industry the association represents and is a known quantity with a well-recognized set of skills and limitations, according to one observer. Another simply added that Bolen was "a good choice" for NBAA that avoided any hint of the complexities associated with Longmuir's tenure and who brings with him immediate name recognition and respect at the FAA and on Capitol Hill. Indeed, for an organization that has never promoted from within its staff to the top spot, and given the close relationship between the two associations, NBAA's choice is about as close as the organization can get to establishing a career path to its corner office.