AOPA Restructures, 12 Employees Released

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AOPA has released 12 employees as part of an effort that will cut costs and make the organization "focus on grassroots events and reaching out to our members in real and tangible ways," said AOPA spokeswoman Katie Prybil. "We are focusing on creating member value in everything that we do. The changes announced today will also ensure that AOPA has a sustainable business model that brings expenses in line with revenue." In an extensive interview with AVweb's Paul Bertorelli, new AOPA CEO Mark Baker said major changes were coming in the way the organization conducts its business and it appears Thursday's realignment was the opening move in that effort. "This was the first step to ensuring that AOPA will be really listening to our members and using their feedback to align our resources to accomplish member’s needs," Pribyl said. Government Affairs and AOPA's fledgling Center To Advance the Pilot Community were the areas most affected by the reshuffle.

AOPA's Katie Pribyl issued this statement (PDF) to AVweb late Thursday.

Pribyl would not discuss the names or positions of those let go but AVweb has learned that Adam Smith, who was hired to head up the pilot community division, was released along with two other staff in his department. AVweb spoke with Smith about the new department last year. Pribyl said there are still staff dedicated to promote flying clubs, support flight training and to lure inactive pilots back. "AOPA feels we can be most effective in the area of growing the pilot population with a budget and infrastructure that maximizes development of very focused and tangible resources that assist clubs and flight training providers," she said. As for government affairs, Pribyl said the changes were made to "more closely align and integrate AOPA’s legislative activities with its work in the regulatory arena. " Two staff members were released in that department and the remainder of the layoffs were spread through the organization in "ones and twos," said Pribyl.