Fortner Back to Top, LHT Back onto ARSA Board
“He’s like a bad penny,” Executive Director Sarah MacLeod said about 2024 ARSA President Gary Fortner. “He just keeps turning up.”
MacLeod’s respect for both the commitment and good humor of Fortner, vice president of engineering for Fortner Engineering in Glendale, California, was evident after his Oct. 13 election to ARSA’s top volunteer position for the third time in his 23 years as a member of the association’s board of directors. He was elevated after serving as 2023 vice president, a post he accepted – having completed his most-recent presidency just two years ago – to help support the developing experience of newer members. First elected in 2001, Fortner has more years of service on the body than the other eight elected directors combined.
“Supporting ARSA is part of the family business,” Fortner said, reflecting on his company’s history as one of the association’s original members. “I’ve seen a lot of changes over my decades but [the association’s] work, like the entertaining personalities of those who do it, is the dependable standard that drives this industry forward. ARSA is all too often the only voice against the challenges we must deal with in regulatory and business compliance.”
Fortner’s presidency began during the Board of Directors annual meeting at the Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City in Arlington, Virginia. In the meeting, directors approved the association’s 2024 budget after electing its new class of directors and officers. Bob Mabe, HAECO Americas director of regulatory compliance, and Chromalloy Director of Airworthiness John Riggs were elected vice president and treasurer. Outgoing President Josh Krotec of First Aviation Services was re-elected as a director, along with Jon Silva of AeroKool Aviation and Rob Roedts of Columbia Helicopters, who were also elected to full three-year terms after first joining the body in 2022.
The group welcomed Rainer Lindau; Lufthansa Technik vice president of quality management, who was elected to an initial one-year term. Lindau replaces Warner Calvo, retiring COOPESA operations director, to ensure coverage of international interests to bolster ARSA’s global perspective.
“We are all international businesses,” Lindau said after his election. “Civil aviation authority approvals or facility locations tell one story, but this work demands global attention. ARSA is the body showing worldwide concern for maintenance interests.” Lufthansa Technik and its subsidiaries employ 22,000 people serving around 800 customers around the world.
Lindau and Calvo’s companies have once again traded off as the association’s global leaders: Calvo’s 2013 election filled the seat vacated by past Association President Dr. Hans Jurgen-Loss, who
had represented Lufthansa as an ARSA director since 2006.
“Gary and Rainer are the perfect ‘bookends’ for the board,” MacLeod said. “While their board terms of service don’t align, both have been serving the aviation world and ARSA – from different sides of the Atlantic – for a significant portion of the association’s life. Having that kind of experience and breadth of representation is essential.”
Fortner’s leadership will continue the work of Krotec and 2022 President Terrell Sigfried of NORDAM by focusing on the investments ARSA members make to properly drive the association.
“Sarah [MacLeod] can say what she wants about my sticking around for so long,” Forner said. “As long as I’m here, I’m going to help make a simple point: Investing in ARSA saves: It saves money by avoiding the costs of misguided regulation. It saves headaches in dealing with government hardheadedness. It saves our businesses in facing ever-changing technical, workforce, and regulatory landscapes.”
ARSA members and colleagues are invited to hear Fortner further describe this savings and investment through regular columns in the monthly hotline newsletter and during his “state of the association” address at the 2024 Annual Conference.