Selena Shilad Obituary, Death – Selena Shilad, executive director of the Alliance for Aviation Across America (AAAA), passed away on November 24. Her passing was a “fierce advocate” for the general aviation community. Shilad passed away after a short illness; she was 45 years old. She became a member of the Alliance soon after its formation in 2007 and rose through the ranks to become executive director, a position she held until her passing on Friday. “Selena was one of the most committed, passionate, resourceful, and effective coalition builders and aviation advocates imaginable,” said Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the NBAA and chair of the Alliance. “She powerfully communicated the central role of general aviation in America by engaging with community leaders, organizations, and individuals from across the country every single day.”
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While she was at the helm of the nonprofit advocacy group, she made sure that everyone was paying attention to the general aviation community’s impact on the economy at all levels. The National Grange, the League of Rural Voters, and Restaurant Equipment World were among the many organizations she rallied behind to support the restaurant equipment sector. She oversaw the Alliance’s expansion to include over seven thousand members, including farmers, small airports, local and community officials, nonprofits, think tanks, aviation groups, law enforcement, and agricultural groups.
She is acknowledged for her role in facilitating economic impact surveys in almost every state, as well as numerous local and state proclamations praising general aviation. Prior to her role at AAAA, Shilad was a legislative advisor for campaigns in Arizona and Texas, as well as a coordinator of high-profile initiatives for nonprofit and corporate clients in various industries. She attended the University of Chicago for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science and international relations; she also attended Georgetown University for her master’s degree in business.
According to Bolen, Selena was remembered for her boundless enthusiasm, boundless vitality, devoted and happy friendship, contagious optimism, and unwavering honesty. “Her efforts and the fact that we knew her have strengthened and improved our entire industry.” Curt Castagna, president and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association, went on to say that the general aviation community is grieving the loss of a “true industry champion” and that Selena’s ability to bring people together and devise plans for the betterment of general and business aviation was unparalleled. He noted that she will be greatly missed. Our deepest sympathies are with her family and all of her loved ones during this difficult time.