EAA Leadership Transition

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EAA  Leadership Transition

Monday the EAA announced the ‘resignation’ of their President/CEO, Rod Hightower.

I met Rod a few years ago when our local EAA chapter hosted him on one of his grass-roots tour stops his first year.
While I don’t think he’s a bad guy, his reputation among the constituents has gone from bad to worse in just 2 short years.


Rod’s goals weren’t significantly different from the previous leadership, which I’ll remind you they weren’t very popular either. I have heard all kinds of negative comments about Tom P. over the years. Rod’s demise might his assertiveness in obtaining those goals.

So it goes with Mr. Hightower:

  • Board of Directors, “Grow the organization!” Membership, “You’re turning your back on the core!”
  • Board of Directors, “Make us profitable!” Membership, “You’re doing it wrong!”
  • Board of Directors, “Build your team.” Membership, “You fired the wrong guys!”

My understanding is the EAA, as an organization, is intensely political which can make the job of any leader a nightmare.

If it sounds like I’m defending Rod, you would be right, but I’m not suggesting the Board made a mistake. On the contrary, if that many members were upset, they made the appropriate decision to get him out of there.

Rod made a lot of changes that were unpopular. He removed a lot of the core leaders and replaced them with new blood. And while many of his appointments were good, Jeff Skiles and Chad Jensen are two of my picks, others like Mac – not so much…

The increased commercialization of Oshkosh was another example of the wrong application of the right idea. How can you block prime flight line restate with private chalets and not expect backlash?


The Board of Directors made what appears to be a swift decision, that can only be because he was doing more wrong than right and they didn’t feel the organization should endure any additional setbacks.

While I’m happy that Jack Pelton is at the helm in the interim, it is unclear whether he’ll be the guy running it in 6 months.

At the end of the day, we won’t be pleased with anyone placed in that position, but we should at least expect to be satisfied.

We’d love to hear your opinions below – keep it civil please!


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