Farewell, Not Goodbye

On 4 January 2018, Dan Dumbacher joins AIAA as the new executive director. I am very excited to hand over the reins of leadership of the Institute to him; he will serve the membership well and bring a fresh perspective that will allow the Institute to continue to evolve and better serve our members. Over the next several months Dan and I will be working together to ensure a smooth transition to his tenure. Consequently, even though Dan comes on board at the beginning of the year, my last day with the Institute won’t be until 30 March 2018—but this is my farewell Corner Office.

As I come to the end of my tenure I am very optimistic about the trajectory of the Institute and the prospects for the future. Because our members had the courage and resolve to embrace landmark governance change, because of the infrastructure upgrades we are embarking on, and because of the (always impressive) energy of our members, I really see things happening! Even though we are in the first year of the governance transition, the flexibility that we now have is paying off. Several new member communities have either formed or are being formed around subjects as diverse as hybrid electric aircraft, certification by simulation analysis, CFD for the 2030s, and complex system sustainment. The rollout of AIAA Engage—our community collaboration platform from Higher Logic—will help our members connect with each other more fully and more frequently. It will also provide a place for our student members to “find” our committees and local sections so they can connect while still in school, facilitating their transition to professional members.

In addition to being the executive director of the Institute, I also have had the privilege of concurrently serving as president of the AIAA Foundation. Working with staff, the Foundation’s chair, and Board of Trustees we have made it a priority to reimagine and reignite it—and we have definitely moved the needle. I am proud of how far the Foundation has come both financially and programmatically. With your support and contributions, the Foundation is well positioned to engage and positively impact our future workforce. Let’s keep up the momentum!

The past five years have been busy, challenging, productive, wonderful, and most of all just very special. I have enjoyed myself immensely; especially the opportunities to get out in the community, visit so many sections, meet so many of you, and learn about all of the amazing and interesting things that our community does on a day-to-day basis. The dedication and time that our members invest in AIAA has always impressed me. As you know the aerospace industry is composed of people passionate about what they do. AIAA members are the “passionate of the passionate” and truly are the standard bearers that move our industry forward. So, thank you all, so much, for contributing the most valuable asset you have—your time—to the Institute.

I would also like to thank everyone, both staff and members, for your support over the past five years—your willingness to accept change, and more importantly your trust in the vision and the future for the Institute that we are pursuing. I am truly honored to have had the opportunity to serve such a great community. Although I am leaving AIAA’s paid staff, I will gladly continue to play an active role in the organization as a volunteer member, so I’ll still be seeing many of you out and about in the community and at AIAA events! I look forward to being a resource for Dan and for you, as we continue our forward journey. ★

Farewell, Not Goodbye