In a letter addressed to Jim Bourke, IAC president, Bruce Ballew Government Relations Chair has stepped down from his volunteer position. “It has been a pleasure working with the membership, the Board/Officers and the FAA for a decade on issues important to our sport,” Bruce said. “I will gladly help with whatever transition if necessary and will be available to the new liaison to answer questions or provide historical background on any topics that I can.”
"On behalf of the IAC, I express our deepest gratitude to outgoing Government Relations Chair Bruce Ballew. Bruce's work has directly led to improvements in response time and better standardization in the aerobatic waiver process,” Jim Bourke said.
In the wake of Bruce’s amicable departure, Jim asked the board members for referrals on possible candidates. He then began a search for a replacement and scheduled a meeting with the FAA Events Coordinator Kevin Raymond to discuss the IAC Government Relations volunteer position.
After reviewing the candidates for the IAC Government Relations Chair, John Smutny was selected on an interim basis pending confirmation by the board at the fall board meeting per procedures described in P&P Section 200 – Appointment and Removal of Committee Chairs.
“I look forward to working with John Smutny, “Jim said. “John's deep knowledge of waiver issues from his experience as an "air boss" will serve us all well.” Many know of John Smutny’s past work as Contest Director of the 2013 and 2018 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships. He is intimately familiar with the challenges of securing waivered airspace and has an established rapport with the FAA.”
"I'm looking forward to building upon the great work Bruce has done by solidifying the foundation with the FAA's leadership and will continue to work with them on behalf of the IAC in addressing the education still needed at FSDO's across the Country. I'm pleased to say that AJ Hefel will continue his participation and Jerry Riedinger has joined the team to make the waiver process more consistent for all IAC members." AJ Hefel has been a member of the government relations committee since 2015 and is a founding member and current president of IAC chapter 119 in Kansas. Some may know Jerry as an Advanced category competitor in the Northwest Region, National Judge, and as board member Peggy Riedinger’s husband.
Thanks goes out to Bruce for his many years of service in the Government Relations role and to John Smutny and Jerry Riedinger for transitioning onto the Government Relations Committee.