Your New EAA President,
ROD HIGHTOWER, EAA LIFETIME 357443, a longtime EAA member,
pilot, aviation enthusiast, and businessman, was named EAA’s third
president on July 23, 2010. Hightower is the first president from
outside the Poberezny family in the 57-year history of EAA. His
appointment will take effect September 7.
“I’m honored to be selected as the next leader of such a passionate
group of aviation enthusiasts as EAA members, since I’ve long been a
part of the organization for more than 20 years,” Hightower said after
his introduction by Tom Poberezny. “There is much work ahead, but I
am eager to start.”
Poberezny, who succeeded his father and EAA founder, Paul, as
EAA president in 1989, will continue an active role as EAA chairman
and AirVenture chairman.
Hightower’s duties will include directing EAA’s day-to-day
operations and member-focused programs. “My training wheels
are firmly attached for a while, but job one is for you to get to know
me and for me to get to know you.” He also said it was a priority to
preserve EAA’s culture and protect the brand.
Meanwhile, Poberezny will use his years of experience and the
relationships that he has developed to foster and grow EAA’s business
partnerships, philanthropy, and the organization’s endowment.
Growing aviation and EAA is Hightower’s main priority.
“When you are exposed to aviation early in your life, there
is information to suggest that you’re more than likely to stay
involved in aviation,” he said. “So I think that the outreach
programs, such as chapters, Young Eagles, the Air Academy—
Tom Poberezny introduces new EAA President Rod Hightower on opening day.
those models that engage people at an early age—that
interest can last a lifetime.”
During more than 25 years of business
management and leadership experience, Hightower
has led domestic and international business
operations with as many as 2,300 employees and
annual revenues of up to $470 million at companies
including Square D Corporation, York, and Public
Safety Equipment Corporation.
A PILOT AND RESTORER
New EAA President Rod Hightower spent
seven years restoring his Boeing Stearman
PT- 17 biplane.
HIGHTOWER, WHO SAYS, “I haven’t been in an
airplane I didn’t like,” holds a commercial
certificate, and multiengine and instrument
ratings. He previously owned and flew a
Cessna P210 for business—“The closest
thing to a time machine we know of,”
In the late 1980s he acquired a basket
case Boeing Stearman PT- 17 biplane, spent
seven years restoring it, and has been flying
the airplane since July 1997—most recently
based out of Creve Coeur Airport near St.
Louis, Missouri. Hightower expects to
relocate the Stearman to Oshkosh sometime
in the next year.