NATA Names New Board Members, Acting President


Last week at its annual Membership Meeting, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) announced the reelection of Andy Priester, President and Chief Executive Officer, Priester Aviation in Wheeling, IL, as Chair of the NATA Board of Directors. Greg Schmidt, President and CEO, Pentastar Aviation in Waterford, MI, was elected to serve as Board Vice Chair.

Also, reelected to serve an additional term were Clara Bennett, Boca Raton Airport Authority; Gary Dempsey, Jet Aviation; Andy Priester, Priester Aviation; and Greg Schmidt, Pentastar Aviation. Additionally, NATA elected two new members to its board of directors: Clive Lowe, Senior Vice President, Atlantic Aviation Services and Christian Sasfai, Vice President and COO, TAC Air (bios below).

NATA Board Chairman Andy Priester briefed the membership on changes to the association’s management structure necessitated by the upcoming departure of President and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks, who is stepping down on August 31st. “Though Tom Hendricks is departing at the end of August, he has in place a senior management team in whom the board has full faith and confidence. As we have previously mentioned, NATA Senior Vice Presidents, Bill Deere and Tim Obitts, have agreed to stay on and oversee the association’s daily activities. This provides the board of directors with the luxury of time to decide how it will proceed in filling Tom’s important position.”

Priester continued, “Effective September 1st, our board colleague, Marty Hiller (Owner and Partner, Marathon Jet Center, Marathon, FL) has agreed to serve as NATA’s acting president.”

In closing, Priester expressed appreciation for Tom Hendricks’ work and to Marty Hiller for assuming the position of acting president. “We are deeply appreciative of Tom’s leadership. Under his steady hand the association has moved forward on a number of fronts, particularly enhancing its reputation with policymakers and expanding benefits for NATA’s membership. The growth in this year’s Aviation Business Conference is a testament to his vision.” Hiller, noted Priester, has served on the NATA board for over five years. “We appreciate his going above and beyond the call of duty and agreeing to take on this important role on behalf of the members. NATA has in place a solid team and a long-term vision and will continue to help its members succeed in the aviation marketplace.”

Clive Lowe is Senior Vice President at Atlantic Aviation, where he is responsible for business development, including M&A, portfolio development, real estate investment, and industry and Government Affairs. He has over 30 years of experience in real estate, M&A, and operations management; primarily in the airport and aviation services sector. He has managed an aviation services business, and has held senior and board level positions with Macquarie Airports North America, Avports, American Port Services plc, and the former BAA plc.

Christian Sasfai, Vice President & COO, has been with Truman Arnold Companies (TAC), for approximately 10 years and currently oversees the aviation division of the company. TAC currently operates 14 FBO locations under the brand TAC Air and aircraft sales, charter/management, and maintenance under the brand Keystone Aviation, together comprising nearly 650 employees. Mr. Sasfai has nearly 30 years of experience in the aviation industry and holds a Master of Business Administration degree.

He earned his advanced pilot ratings from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where he also taught as a flight instructor then occasionally as a visiting professor in the University’s off-campus aviation degree program. Mr. Sasfai remains connected to the University’s aviation program as a member of its advisory board. He is currently an aircraft owner, active pilot, and an avid supporter of general aviation.