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Willard G. Plentl, Jr. Airport Professional of the Year

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Howie Franklin, Cape Fear Regional Jetport Manager, is the first-ever recipient of the Willard G. Plentl Aviation Professional of the…

This award, established in the memory of Willard G. Plentl, Jr., will annually recognize an airport professional who positively impacts the aviation industry in North Carolina.  The inaugural award was be presented in 2020.

Plentl contributed more than fifty years of professional service to the business of aviation in North Carolina.  He served as an innovative, collaborative and dedicated leader for the industry throughout North Carolina.  As the director of aviation for the state of North Carolina, he was a founding member of the North Carolina Airport Managers Association, the predecessor to the NCAA.  As a mentor to airport professionals for decades, he was a passionate ambassador for all aspects of aviation, increasing the awareness of the importance of aviation and its impacts to our state.

“I am very proud that we have established this prestigious award to honor the outstanding professionals in our industry” said Andrew Shorter, C.M., Airport Director of Coastal Carolina Airport in New Bern, N.C. and Past-President of the NCAA.  “The NCAA board focuses diligently on strengthening North Carolina airports and promoting the positive impacts they make in their communities and across the state.  Will Plentl lived this mission, and mentored many others to do the same.  It is fitting that this award bears his name and honors his lifetime of contributions.”

Nominees for this annual award must be airport professionals in North Carolina, and NCAA members. They must exhibit leadership, commitment to aviation, and community involvement that expands the awareness of the importance of aviation.

Willard G. Plentl
Willard G. Plentl, Jr.

About Willard G. Plentl, Jr.

This award has been established in the memory of Willard G. Plentl Jr. who dedicated over 50 years of service to both the spirit and the business of aviation in North Carolina. 

As a member of the North Carolina Air National Guard, a pilot, and a professional engineer he served as an innovative, collaborative, and dedicated leader for the airport industry throughout North Carolina.  Also, as the Director of Aviation for North Carolina, Will was a founding member of the North Carolina Airport Managers Association, the predecessor to the NCAA, where he also became a reliable mentor to airport professionals at commercial service airports, general aviation airports, and airport consulting firms. 

Above all, Will was a passionate ambassador for all tenets of aviation, increasing the awareness of aviation and its positive impacts statewide.  The intent of this award is to annually recognize a single selected professional, working for or serving airports in the state of North Carolina, who emulate Will’s contributions and impact to the airport and aviation industry within the state.

NCAA will annually recognize a single selected professional who emulates Will’s contributions, impacting the aviation industry in North Carolina.

Willard G Plentl Award

Eligibility

The Willard G. Plentl Jr. Airport Professional of the Year Award is open to any airport professional in the state of North Carolina.  Nominations must be made by a member of the North Carolina Airports Association, regardless of their membership affiliation (Airport Executive Member, Airport Professional Member, Affiliate Member, or Active Military Member).  Nominees may be nominated multiple years, provided they still meet the eligibility requirements and their nomination information is updated with current achievements.

Nomination Process

Nominations must be typed, submitted electronically to the Association Business Manager of the NCAA by December 15th of each year and include the following:
  1. Coversheet and information on the nominee and person making the nomination. The coversheet form is available as a PDF here.
  2. An executive summary of 1000 words or less describing the nominee’s contribution to aviation in North Carolina that qualifies him or her for consideration.
  3. Point of contact for the individual at their airport for verification of information and/or additional justification.
Supporting documents, not to exceed 5 pages, as applicable

Submit a Nomination

You can submit your nomination using our online form. Click the trophy or title to begin your nomination. Please be sure you have all of the necessary materials available before starting the process.

Evaluation & Award Process

  • A committee from the NCAA board and NCDOT Aviation staff shall meet in January
  • The traveling trophy will be presented each year at the NCAA conference
  • Past award winner will pass the trophy to current recipient