Mark Baker Named President And CEO Of The Aircraft Owners and Pilots
FREDERICK, Md., Aug. 20, 2013
FREDERICK, Md., Aug. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Mark R. Baker, a longtime
general aviation (GA) pilot, has been named president and chief executive
officer (CEO) of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the
world's largest aviation association. Baker is only the fifth AOPA president
since the association's founding nearly 75 years ago.
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130820/NY66949 )
"We are pleased to announce that Mark Baker has been selected as the next
president and chief executive officer of AOPA," said Bill Trimble, chairman of
the AOPA Board of Trustees. "He has all the tools this job demands. Mark
brings 35 years of involvement in the GA community as a pilot and decades of
experience in leadership positions in the home improvement industry, such as
Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and The Home Depot. He has an extraordinary
understanding of the importance of serving our membership and advancing their
needs. He is well-suited to build on the foundation established by his
predecessors and move AOPA forward."
A native Minnesotan, Baker, 55, became a pilot in his twenties and has logged
more than 7,500 hours of flight time. The pilot community and his close flying
friends are the reason he can be found at an airport or a seaplane base nearly
every weekend. An aircraft owner, Baker enjoys flying everything from light
seaplanes to turbines to helicopters, but his favorite airplane continues to
be his Piper Super Cub. Baker and his wife, Vickie, have four children and six
grandchildren. Not only did he encourage his father to learn to fly, but two
of his sons-in-law have their pilot's certificates and his own son will become
a pilot soon as well.
"Being selected as only the fifth leader of AOPA is a tremendous honor," said
Baker, an AOPA member since 1987. "Many of my happiest moments have been spent
flying and sharing my passion for aviation with others. I am committed to the
priorities of the membership and will ensure that AOPA's focus remains on
carrying out our mission of protecting the freedom to fly.
"I am very much looking forward to getting out and meeting and listening to
the members, and then using the feedback to focus valuable resources where
they will most benefit GA pilots and increase the value of membership. I
believe this approach can also be useful in increasing member participation in
AOPA and driving increased GA flight activity."
Trimble thanked outgoing president Craig Fuller for his efforts. "On behalf of
the Board of Trustees, I want to thank Craig Fuller for his five years in the
left seat at AOPA. He served as a formidable advocate on behalf of the general
aviation community, helped to forge partnerships with other aviation
associations and provided important guidance at a challenging moment in our
history. We wish him well as he moves on to the next stage of his
distinguished career," said Trimble, who has led AOPA's Board since 2005.
The AOPA Board of Trustees' search committee began looking for AOPA's new
leader earlier this year, after Fuller informed the Board of his intent to
move on to other opportunities. The Board retained the national search firm of
Heidrick & Struggles to help identify final candidates from among the
association's nearly 400,000 members, and Baker emerged as an outstanding
candidate for the position.
Through the years, Baker worked his way up through the home improvement
business and brings a sharp focus on customer service that will translate well
to a membership association. Most recently, he served as CEO of Orchard Supply
Hardware Stores Corporation, a leading retailer of home improvement and garden
products. Baker also served in senior executive roles at Scotts Miracle-Gro
Company, Gander Mountain Company and The Home Depot. Earlier in his career, he
also worked for HomeBase, Scotty's Home Improvement Centers and Knox Hardware
and Lumber. He is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota.
Baker enjoys spending time flying Young Eagles, youths aged 8-17 who are
interested in aviation and are given the opportunity to fly in GA aircraft,
and has donated time and resources in the past to other Experimental Aircraft
Association initiatives. He also has served on several corporate boards and
has been involved in leadership roles with nonprofit organizations including
City of Hope, a leading biomedical research, treatment and education
institution in Duarte, California, which he has supported since the 1980s.
With this appointment, Baker also will become chairman of AOPA's Political
Action Committee, chief executive officer of the AOPA Foundation and publisher
of AOPA Pilot, the world's largest and most influential aviation publication.
Baker is to take office on September 6, 2013, following formal appointment by
the Board of Trustees at the Annual Meeting of Members in Frederick, Maryland.
Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots,
aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. With a membership base of nearly
400,000, AOPA is the largest aviation association in the world. With
representatives based in Frederick, MD., Washington, D.C., and seven regions
across the United States, AOPA provides member services that range from
advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight
planning products, safety programs and award-winning media products. To learn
more, visit www.aopa.org.
SOURCE The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Contact: Steve Hedges, 301-695-2159, Steve.Hedges@aopa.org
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