Marion Board of Aviation Commissioners President Jim McKinney has been named “Person of the Year” by Aviation Indiana. The honor was published on their website (https://www.aviationindiana.com/ai-person-of-the-year‑2/):
“Jim started on their Marion Board of Aviation Commission in 1983 and continues to serve as President of the Board. He has been instrumental in the airport receiving $20 million in grants. Jim has retired from education as a school administrator/principal but has utilized his teaching skills to advance aviation. He worked as a Consortium Administrator for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development leading local school corporations in the implement of STEM programs (Tech Prep); founded the Science and Aerospace Foundation that has become a bridge for assisting young people to reach for the sky, toward careers in aviation; championed efforts for vocational programming in aviation through the Marion Community Schools, and as a result, aviation classes are now being taught. He is the force behind The Aviation Academy, which is a partnership between Marion Regional Career Center, the Marion Municipal Airport, Air Marion, the City of Marion, and the Science and Aerospace Foundation that he founded. Students can participate in a two-year program, in either aviation flight operations or aviation mechanics, with both programs being hosted at the Marion Municipal Airport. Jim was instrumental in the efforts with Indiana Wesleyan University development of undergraduate aviation programs, in partnership with local flight schools. He takes every advantage to promote community airports on the radio and other media outlets and has brought national attention to the region, with programs that bring economic benefit as well. He has been a Leader for the Annual Fly-in and Pancake Breakfast, which benefits various charities around Grant Co. He has aided in bringing an Air Ambulance Service to the Airport, which now serves the citizens in Grant County, and the surrounding region. Jim also provided leadership in hosting the United States World Aerobatic Team, in 2018, with the Marion Airport being a Training Camp location for Team USA. Efforts such as these helped the Marion Airport to be the recipient of the Aviation Indiana, 2015 Airport of the Year Award. With this distinguished career, and considering such service to the community and region, the City of Marion recently renamed the Airport to McKinney Field, in 2020, by action of the City Council.”
McKinney said he was surprised and humbled by the award. “Out of all the great people in Indiana involved in aviation, it is an extreme honor to be awarded. I consider it an honor not just for ‘Jim McKinney,’ but for Marion, Indiana, and the Marion Municipal Airport.”
McKinney has also been named “Champion of the Month” (Oct. 2016) by the City of Marion upon Mayor Jess Alumbaugh’s first year in office.
McKinney may be reached for additional comment or more information at 765.517.1176.