The Nevada Airports Association started in the mid-1990s as a conversation among some airport managers looking for help from one another about common airport-related problems. In the early days, this was primarily the managers of the Carson City, Minden-Tahoe, Reno-Stead, and Truckee-Tahoe Airports. Slowly, the initial group expanded to other rural Nevada airports. In those early years, these airports interacted with one another through one-on-one phone calls. Later, the group arranged luncheons together, visiting each other’s airports and comparing solutions to common problems. Over time, the number of airports participating grew. Just before 2000, Jim Braswell (then manager of the Minden-Tahoe Airport) proposed that the Nevada Airports Association incorporate and change name of the group to Nevada Airport Managers Association (NAMA). Jim Braswell and Steve Tackes (legal counsel to the Carson City airport) reached out to other rural airport managers and informed them to the existence of the organization and the opportunity to participate in roundtable discussions about common challenges and problems. Airports across the state responded, and the NAMA organized annual conferences. The first conference was in Winnemucca in 2000. The conferences provided a forum for group presentations on topics like leasing airport property, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant funding, and other sources of funding for airport improvement projects to include airport infrastructure, pavement rehabilitation, fuel systems, airport planning and discuss new technologies impacting airports like ADS-B, alternative fuels, weather reporting capabilities, etc.
These conferences rotated around the state and took place in a comfortable social setting. These conferences provided an environment for airport planning and engineering consultants to meet with airport staff members and airport oversight personnel to help craft solutions to airport infrastructure needs. In 2001, Silver Springs Airport joined the NAMA, and with the help (some might say push) of Kay and Hale Bennett, the NAMA began a legislative campaign to seek state funding for local match dollars rural airports. The NAMA was successful in creating the Nevada Fund for Aviation (NRS 494.048). The NAMA laid the groundwork for state funding of the local match on FAA airport grants. Shortly thereafter, the NAMA was successful in obtaining state funding for the Nevada Fund for Aviation, and with the help of the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) Aviation Department developed regulations to allocate funds from the Nevada Fund for Aviation to help rural airports meet local match requirements.
In 2004, the NAMA gained greater recognition when Joni Eastley, a Nye County Commissioner, joined the NAMA and helped guide the NAMA through both organizational and political challenges. Each year thereafter, the NAMA became more organized and professional. As the NAMA evolved, the group changed its name to the Nevada Airports Association.
Annually, the NAMA hosts the Nevada Aviation Conference. This conference is an event that allows airport management staff, aviation consultants, and vendors to gather and share information and network. The FAA Airports District Office (ADO) participates and provides updates on funding, processing times, and other regulatory issues affecting airports. The FAA ADO usually schedules time during the conference to meet with the various airport’s staff and airport consultants to discuss their Airport Capital Improvement Programs (ACIPs) and funding issues.
At the 21st Annual Conference, the Nevada Airports Association changed its name to the Nevada Aviation Association (NvAA) broadening the foundation of membership to appeal to aeronautical service providers, city, county, state executives, and airport oversight bodies. The mission of the Nevada Aviation Association has been refined to promote and support airports and aviation throughout Nevada.
Click here to view the first conference registration form and agenda.
Click here to view the press release announcing the name change to the Nevada Aviation Association (October 2020).