Aeronautics Commission honors two northern Michigan aviators, National Cherry Festival Air Show Committee

Contact: Jon Ogar, MDOT Office of Communications,
 ogarj1@michigan.gov
517-373-2752
Agency: Transportation

September 11, 2013 -- The Michigan Aeronautics Commission (MAC) at its meeting today in Traverse City presented its Award of Excellence to two longtime northern Michigan aviators and the National Cherry Festival Air Show Committee.

Paul Welke, a Beaver Island resident and currently director of operations for Island Airways, has worked in aviation for nearly 40 years. Under his leadership, Island Airways has grown into one of the largest charter operations in Michigan. The MAC saluted Welke for "providing safe, efficient and valued air service to and from the Beaver Island community" and demonstrating how "aviation provides essential services to communities across the state."

Aaron Cook, of Traverse City, has served as director of Northwestern Michigan College's aviation program since 2006. Cook received the MAC award for implementing "numerous best practices and innovative processes to dramatically improve productivity" within the aviation program, and for "successfully securing support for the implementation of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle training curriculum that is one of the first of its kind."

The National Cherry Festival Air Show Committee was recognized for producing free air shows for more than 25 years, including this year's inaugural night air show. The award honors the committee for "demonstrating that a broad cross section of community volunteers can bring exciting family entertainment and significant economic impact to their community and the state."

Every year since 1990, the MAC has recognized individuals and organizations whose innovative contributions have significantly improved facilities, operations or public relations for aviation in Michigan. The MAC provides general supervision of all aeronautics within Michigan. 

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