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NBAA mourns the passing of business aviation pioneer Janice K. Barden

The National Business Aviation Association has marked the passing of Janice K. Barden, founder of Aviation Personnel International (API), who was well known for her many contributions to business aviation.

“Jan Barden was a remarkable figure, and a tireless supporter of NBAA and the business aviation community,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “I’m not sure our industry has ever seen a person who has given more time to promoting and serving its interests - she was extraordinary at using her connection to people to connect people to each other, and build a sense of community.”

As just one example, Bolen pointed to Barden’s service as local committee chair for NBAA’s annual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition - a role she served in eight times, more than any other individual in the association’s history. The position involved the coordination of people and companies in each convention’s host city with personnel from NBAA and other organizations involved in the trade show. “In this role, and in everything she did, Jan always made people feel special and valued. She will be greatly missed,” Bolen said.

Barden’s work in the aviation industry spanned nearly six decades.

After receiving a degree in industrial management from Kent State University, she spent most of the next 15 years working for an airline personnel placement firm. In 1971, she decided to strike out on her own, specializing in recruiting talent for the fast-growing business aviation industry by founding API, business aviation’s original personnel-search firm. 

Since its founding, API has qualified and placed thousands of business aviation professionals with flight departments.

Janice K. Bardon pictured in 2013 accepting the National Aeronautic Association’s Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award.

Barden’s storied career had numerous highlights. She received the Kent State Distinguished Alumni Award in 1986. In 1990, she envisioned an outreach program for aviation students and created the annual NBAA Careers in Business Aviation Day. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed her to a blue-ribbon panel that studied training options to address the shortage of pilots and aviation maintenance technicians. In 1994, she received NBAA’s John P. “Jack” Doswell Award for her lifelong achievement in support of business aviation.

In 2000, Barden was awarded the NBAA American Spirit Award for her pursuit of excellence and service to others in aviation. During the same year, NBAA renamed an aviation scholarship in her honor, and now each year the association awards $1,000 each to five undergraduates studying aviation-related curricula at NBAA and University Aviation Association member institutions. Most recently, she received a National Aeronautic Association 2013 Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award.

A resident of St. Helena, CA, Barden is survived by her husband Chuck McKinnon, former head of IBM’s flight department, and daughter Sheryl Barden, who serves today as API’s president and CEO, as well as on NBAA’s Associate Member Advisory Council.

“I am immeasurably proud of the lifelong accomplishments and impact that my mother has made in the lives of professionals working in business aviation,” Sheryl Barden said.

BlueSky Business Aviation News | 4th August 2016 | Issue #379