We as an industry community have a rare opportunity to work with both a new Presidential Administration that understands the nuances of the aviation business (Trump Airlines and a Part 135 charter helicopter service), as well as a new FAA Administrator.
The current “leadership” contract is up for renewal, and there are many in the community and even those on the Hill that believe the time is right for a change. Longtime followers of the unmanned industry may recall my bid for AUVSI Executive Vice President back in October of 2014. As part of that bid, I laid out priorities and solutions to move the entire industry forward. Many of these points are still relevant today with the exception of #7, as poor advocacy has seen that ship long since sail.
1. Business advocacy (including Federal Biz Opps and export control reforms)
2. A civilian technology focused message
3. Regulatory accountability
4. Global harmonization
5. Membership building (over 10,000), open and inclusive association for all
6. Self-regulation through community-based standards
7. Special rule for Micro UAS (< 4 pounds and frangible)
We need to focus on the strengths that AUVSI possesses and leverage those to further our cause.
Grassroots Advocacy –
There are industry professionals that have the knowledge, respect and connections with elected representatives, who have become apprehensive about lending their support and credibility. We have to foster an image that allows these people to feel comfortable in leveraging these relationships, as the association doesn’t have the resources to pay.
Events illustrate that we must advocate for ourselves –
For too long we’ve watched a process flounder and suffer from unqualified representation. The people that started the Association did so out of and with a passion for, this technology. For some, it would appear that the Association may now be a vehicle driven by bureaucrats, consultants and party planners, or just folks who lack the passion and vision beyond advancing their agendas.
The industry forecasts and statistics are hard to believe, but harder still is to grasp that there are 70,000 + certificated Part 107 pilots and over a million drones registered, yet the AUVSI membership languishes at 7500. The numbers suggest that there might be a problem in Arlington?
The association has been sliding not only in soundness but also in lack of understanding of both the industry and technology. An association like this needs leadership and input from the people on the front lines. The ideas, programs and initiatives made by the current CEO are in most cases 3, 5 and sometimes ten years behind the curve. Couple the leading from behind, the mixed messages highlighted in the Politico article and going along with the DAC shenanigans that were reported on by the Washington Post, one has no choice but to ask if those are the actions of an industry advocate?
The AUVSI has lost its way and turned its back on its core affiliation with American Aerospace. Instead, the decision was made to add a board member (without a vote) representing a Chinese company that is under a cloud of suspicion from several branches within the Department of Defense as well as ICE for spying! Are we to suffer in silence or decide that it is time for a positive change?
The offer made in 2014 still stands!
I propose to take up the challenge for a 20% discount (salary and bonuses paid currently for the position), to the membership. It is that important, and if I cannot or am unable to achieve any tangible results in a four-year term, I will resign the position.
Patrick J Egan Resume AUVSI President
Members and non-members are encouraged to Email or call the Chairman of the AUVSI Board. IRS 501 c6 The IRS 501 c6 rules stipulate that these associations work for the betterment of the “entire industry” and not just those who are members.
Even if you decide not to support the bid for that Egan guy, you should
Call 1-703-845-9671 and leave a message for or email Dallas Brooks [email protected] and let him know about your concerns for the Association and our industry.
I thank you in advance for your support and concern for the Association and our shared passion for this technology.