Since 1963, members from a single professional society have achieved virtually every milestone in modern American flight. That society is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Today, with more than 35,000 individual members (includes: 27,004 professional members, 7,330 student members, and over 1,000 emeritus members) and 90 corporate members throughout 79 countries, AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession and the progress of engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense.
Created almost 50 years ago by the merger of the two great aerospace societies of the day, the American Rocket Society (founded in 1930 as the American Interplanetary Society), and the Institute of the Aerospace Sciences (established in 1933 as the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences), AIAA carries forth a proud tradition of aerospace leadership. Throughout its history, the Institute has advanced the arts, sciences, and technology of aeronautics and astronautics while nurturing and promoting the professionalism of those engaged in these pursuits. Whether it be by providing products, services, and venues that stimulate creative technical exchange on emerging opportunities and critical challenges in the profession or by acting as the public policy advocate and voice of the profession, AIAA has been an integral part of the aerospace community by creating tangible value for its individual and corporate members.
AIAA is a professional society led by its volunteers. As such it is governed by a 31-member Board of Directors that meets at least three times a year. The Board and its elected President, determine policy and the overall direction of the affairs of the Institute. Dr. Michael (Mike) Griffin of the University of Alabama of Huntsville (former NASA Administrator) assumed responsibilities of the role of President on 10 May 2012 for a two year term.
For the purpose of serving the needs of its membership and promoting the work of the Institute, AIAA is organized into 7 geographic regions (one of which includes the Institute’s international membership) which are then divided into sections typically based upon major cities. The Board has also established 83 Technical and Program Committees, consisting of members in the various grades, whose professional interests are particularly oriented toward a specific field in aeronautics or astronautics or toward closely related fields. There are also a number of Student Branches at recognized colleges, universities, and secondary schools for the purpose of assisting science and engineering students to advance toward practice aeronautics or astronautics profession.
AIAA is a 501 (c)(3) organization with a full time staff of 90 employees located at the Institute’s headquarters in Reston, Virginia and its total fiscal year 2011 revenues (ending September 30, 2011) were $23.2 million. AIAA also has a Foundation which was founded in 1996. The AIAA Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational organization committed to providing financial support to educational programs focused on developing the future of the aerospace profession.
AIAA has only had three Executive Directors since it was founded; including the current Executive Director, Major General (retired) Robert “Bob” Dickman. Bob will work closely with his successor to ensure a smooth transition.
AIAA is seeking a dynamic, visionary leader who will bring strong management skills, critical thinking abilities and an inclusive, dedicated focus on the growth and relevancy of its services to the entire member base of AIAA.
The successful candidate will lead a major effort to grow, diversify, and engage the membership through innovative programs, conferences, technical activities, publications and educational programs. The selected candidate will also lead international expansion efforts, public policy discussions and standards activities while ensuring optimal financial performance and Institute operations. Critical to the success of AIAA will be the new Executive Director’s focus on meeting near term challenges and achieving long term opportunities.
The Executive Director will serve as the primary interface with AIAA’s President and Board of Directors. As a key leader of the Institute, the Executive Director has responsibilities for the effective management of AIAA and the Foundation and provides strategic leadership, fiscal responsibility, and program administration in keeping with the guidance and directives of the elected members of the Institute. The Executive Director also works closely with the Board to ensure its understanding of decisions, results, risks, and costs of various Institute activities.
More specifically, key responsibilities of the Executive Director include:
The Executive Director is one of the President’s and Board’s key strategic advisors. As such, the new Executive Director will be skilled in strategic thinking and planning, particularly when it comes to meeting the Institute’s key priorities, goals, and challenges. This individual directs and participates in the planning process for future development and ensuring the relevance and credibility of the organization as an influential factor with key stakeholders; periodically presenting such plans for general review and approval by the Board of Directors. The Executive Director also establishes performance metrics and guides the Board in its role of frequently monitoring and evaluating the organization’s performance toward its goals.
The Executive Director supports the financial growth and stability of AIAA both by engaging in fundraising directly and working with senior staff on developing and implementing alternate sources of revenue for the Institute. This includes collaborating with the Board to identify innovative opportunities to develop revenue-generating programs and collaborations for AIAA and pursuing appropriate business planning in accordance to capture such prospects.
The Executive Director is responsible for the management of the Institute and Foundation finances within approved guidelines, achieving and maintaining a stable financial position, entering into sound financial commitments, developing a balanced operating budget, and managing the resources to meet the approved budget.
Board & Volunteer Support
The Executive Director builds and maintains an effective working relationship with the AIAA President and Board members, communicating proactively with the Board and keeping them informed of the state of the Institute. The Executive Director serves as a liaison between AIAA’s various leadership groups – Board of Directors, Regional Sections, Technical Committees, etc. Further, the Executive Director serves as a “sounding board” to encourage communication and innovative thinking.
Alliances and Partnerships
The Executive Director initiates, develops, and contributes to advancing AIAA’s alliances, partnerships, and collaborations – both domestically and abroad. The Executive Director builds, maintains, and broadens a network of contacts among current and potential partners. Likewise, The Executive Director serves as AIAA’s spokesperson and is often the prime interface with top executives of the aerospace industry, government and academia to facilitate meeting the Institute goals and objectives. The Executive Director contributes to a positive reputation for the Institute and manages relationships such that AIAA will be viewed as the preeminent organization to represent the aerospace profession as well as a fair and impartial broker of key issues.
Headquarters Management & Leadership
The Executive Director leads the staff in a manner that motivates their performance, promotes professionalism, and blends the achievement of AIAA objectives with their long-term individual goals. The Executive Director oversees operations to ensure efficient and effective use of staff and other resources to manage member services, corporate membership, meetings, publications, and other AIAA products and services.
The Executive Director works with senior staff to establish, maintain, and inspire a climate of excellence, effectiveness, teamwork, empowerment, collaboration, and accountability, and fosters a culture of innovation and creativity to best anticipate and meet the future needs of the membership. The Executive Director also identifies appropriate changes in the organization, its operations and management practices, while sustaining AIAA’s unique culture of engineering and scientific achievement in the field of aerospace.
The Executive Director’s leadership improves the quality and breadth of the valuable and relevant services AIAA provides to its members. The Executive Director oversees operations to assure efficient and effective use of staff and other resources to manage member services, corporate membership, meetings, publications, and other AIAA products and services. The Executive Director ensures that the Institute is operating with the highest ethical standards.
AIAA Foundation Leadership
In addition to his or her duties for AIAA, the Executive Director administers the operations of the AIAA Foundation. This requires working with the executive members of this board affiliated with AIAA to ensure that the objectives of the Foundation are fully met.
YEAR ONE CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
AIAA is at a pivotal point in its history. In the first year, the Executive Director will focus on the following:
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE / QUALIFICATIONS
Acting with Honor and Character
Keeping on Point
Understanding the Business
Being Organizationally Savvy
Getting Work Done Through Others
Bachelor’s degree in relevant course of study is essential, preferably engineering or technical sciences. An advanced degree will be a plus.
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