The National Business Aviation Association’s new Western regional representative says developing the next generation of aviation employees is something he has a keen interest in.
Phil Derner, who assumed his post with the NBAA in June, said scholarships, internships and mentorships are all part of the mix when it comes to driving interest in aviation as a career.
“I know that my own career would not at all be what it is if I didn’t have people who stepped up and helped me out,” said Derner, who is the founder of the NYCAviation aviation news and consulting organization, and served as its first president, working with the media in a number of roles.
“I’m the product of mentorships and scholarships myself. It’s now incumbent upon me to turn around and try to do that for the next generation coming up and I’m really trying to engage as many people on multiple levels to share that message and get behind that.”
Derner, who appears on television as an analyst during aviation-related news events as well as a consultant for documentaries, said that while the current shortage of pilot is getting a lot of media coverage, the need for aviation workers goes much deeper.
“And it’s not exclusive to airlines either,” he said. “Other roles in aviation need some backing -- some assistance – as well. Dispatch, mechanics, operations and even management of these companies really need that.
“A lot of those career options are good-paying gigs that offer career-advancement,” he added. “You can get into a dispatch career and then graduate into management, and higher and higher, whatever you want to do, there is so much more out there. We want get people excited about this, because it a very satisfying industry and sector to work in.”
This includes reaching out to universities to get face time with students and let them know about these careers.
Derner said that while his territory covers five states, living in Riverside puts him right in the middle of Southern California, and he has already interacted with a lot of the FBOs and business organizations in the Van Nuys and Los Angeles areas to share thoughts on the future of aviation careers.
“We’re also teaming up with a lot of the regional groups, we’re going to be approaching the corporations and all of the organizations that have a say in this,” he said. “This requires everyone’s participation. We need everyone’s help – workforce development is something that affects everybody.
“We’re going to be asking to try to get more assistance to develop more scholarships to give to young people to have companies create spots for internships and have folks volunteer themselves for mentorships to create some of that guidance,” Derner added.
Derner can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]. He is also active on Twitter along with his media presence.
“I’m very excited to be a part of this,” he said. “Joining NBAA, even for all of the great things that I am very proud of in my career, I really feel like I’m playing Major League Baseball here, and I really look forward to helping and advocating for everyone that relies on us. We’re hoping to hit the ground running and do well. I’m looking forward to working with everyone.”