By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
The Florida Air Museum in Lakeland, Fla., will now be operated under the auspices of Sun 'n Fun and its president, John "Lites" Leenhouts, the organization announced on Friday. John Burton, the current museum president, will step down. Burton had previously been president of the Sun 'n Fun operation for about 12 years, until Leenhouts was hired last summer. The changes are meant to "minimize duplication of services and improve the organization's overall efficiency," Sun 'n Fun said. Previously, the museum, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sun 'n Fun, operated as a separate not-for-profit entity with its own board of directors. Now, day-to-day operations of the museum will be absorbed into the Sun 'n Fun organization.
"I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have worked at Sun 'n Fun and the Florida Air Museum for the past 13 years, as it was a time of tremendous growth for both organizations as well as for me," Burton said. "I am proud of everything we were able to accomplish as a team during that time, especially the mutually beneficial relationships that were established with so many key partners on the local, regional, state and national levels." Burton said he has started a job search that includes contacts within the national aviation industry, but he hopes to stay in the Lakeland area, where he and his family have strong ties to the community.