Mark Baker, 55, a native of Minnesota and a long-time GA pilot, has been named by AOPA as the next president and CEO, taking over from Craig Fuller. “Mark brings 35 years of involvement in the GA community as a pilot, and decades of experience in leadership positions in the home-improvement industry, such as Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and The Home Depot,” said Bill Trimble, AOPA’s chairman of the board of trustees, on Tuesday afternoon. Baker has been flying since his twenties, AOPA said, and has logged more than 7,500 hours in the air. His favorite airplane is his Piper Super Cub. Many of my happiest moments have been spent flying and sharing my passion for aviation with others,” Baker said in Tuesday’s news release. “I am committed to the priorities of the membership and will ensure that AOPAs focus remains on carrying out our mission of protecting the freedom to fly.”Baker will be the fifth president since the association was founded nearly 75 years ago.
I am very much looking forward to getting out and meeting and listening to the members, and then using the feedback to focus valuable resources where they will most benefit GA pilots and increase the value of membership,” Baker said.”I believe this approach can also be useful in increasing member participation in AOPA and driving increased GA flight activity. Fuller served for five years, and told the board earlier this year he was ready to move on. The board retained a search firm to help identify final candidates from among the associations nearly 400,000 members. Fuller spoke with AVweb’s Russ Niles last month about the coming transition and the advice he would offer to the new president; click here to listen to the podcast.