|Greater Huntsville Wins AIAA Outstanding Section and Seven Other National Awards
By Ken Philippart
Images Courtesy of Dr. Arloe Mayne and Ms. Lisa Philippart
The Greater Huntsville Section capped the 2014 – 2015 section year by winning eight national-level section awards given by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Greater Huntsville took home an award in every category, the first time the section has dominated these awards in many years.
The Greater Huntsville Section, with over 850 professional members, competed in the Very Large Section Category that includes the 11 largest sections across AIAA.
Greater Huntsville was named the Outstanding Section for 2014 – 2015, beating out larger sections in Los Angeles-Las Vegas, San Francisco, the National Capital and the Pacific Northwest. The Outstanding Section Award is based on overall activities and contributions throughout the year. The nomination cited over 115 activities throughout the year spanning professional development, networking, public policy communications, honors and awards, recruiting, support to college branches and pre-college outreach events. The write-up noted the section’s first out-of-area trips to the National Museum of the US Air Force, the Southern Museum of Flight, and the Beechcraft Heritage Museum, organized by Michael Dunning, along with implementation of hands-on engineering activities like Pumpkin Blast 2014, the suitcase rocket design project and the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle course.
The section snagged first place for the Communications Award. The criteria for selecting winners include effectiveness of communicating local and national news to members, timeliness and breadth of articles, editorial content, variety of material covered, format and appearance of the publication. The nomination highlighted the section’s outstanding resurrected newsletter, Telemetry, by editor Professor Gabe Xu, the innovative GHSV eMag feature by webmaster Dr. Arloe Mayne, and the chair’s quarterly View from the Chair publication among other effective media and social media tools to communicate the AIAA message.
Greater Huntsville received second place for the Career and Professional Development Award for activities that are beneficial to career development. Led by Young Professional and Career Development Director Cody Crofford with major contributions from Vice Chair Dr. Kurt Polzin, Technical Director John Lassiter, Education Director Carla Shackelford, Liaison to Student Branches Neal Allgood, and Brandon Stiltner, the team organized and conducted numerous technical short courses, skills development training classes and hands-on engineering projects. The section’s hosting of the 7th Annual Government CubeSat Technical Interchange Meeting and reception, led by John Dankanich, Kurt Polzin and Brandon Stiltner, was also feted.
The section garnered second place for the Young Professional Award, presented to sections that demonstrate excellence in planning and executing successful events that encourage the participation of young members in AIAA and provide opportunities for leadership at the section, region and national levels. YP Director Cody Crofford led the section’s efforts. Highlighted were the section’s new YP brunches, Lunch with a Leader mentoring program, Awards Dinner technical poster session and YP-oriented design projects. The success of the programs was demonstrated by YPs holding over one third of the Council positions and being fully integrated throughout all areas of the section’s mission areas.
For the Membership Award, the section tied for second place with the Dayton/Cincinnati and Los Angeles-Las Vegas sections. Led by Membership Director Roger Herdy with assistance from Anthony Bartens, the section dramatically slowed the years-long decline in professional membership through recruiting events at the Moontown Airport Fly-In, Rocket City Blastoff, and Drone Day while also pursuing an aggressive member retention program. Courtney Kronenberger and Bob Coke were cited for their initiative in forming the section’s first chapter in Mobile. The group’s efforts resulted in an increase in student membership while halving the loss of professional members seen over the last five years.