Joe Clark, Nissen Davis, Jeff Shane and Murrary Smith Named Distinguished Statesman of Aviation
October 2, 2014
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  • Washington, DC, September 29, 2014 – The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has announced the recipients of this year’s Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award – Joe Clark, Nissen Davis, Jeffrey Shane, and Murray Smith. This award honors outstanding Americans who, by their efforts over an extended period of years, have made “…contributions of significant value to aeronautics, and have reflected credit upon America and themselves.”

    Joe Clark has, through his experience and innovation, enhanced global aviation through advancing aviation technology that extends aircraft range and enhances fuel efficiency. Clark’s aviation career began in 1965 when he developed a lifelong passion for aviation. Throughout his early career, he held positions at Jet Air, Raisbeck Engineering, Horizon Air, and Avstar. In 1991, he founded Aviation Partners, Inc. and introduced to the industry Blended Winglets – metal extensions that are attached to the ends of an airplane’s wings and help to reduce drag and add lift, thereby maximizing fuel efficiency. Estimates are, that over a seven-year period, his winglets have saved the airline industry more than 4.5 billion gallons of fuel. Nissen Davis’s 60-year career in aviation included 30 years with Flying Tiger Line, McDonnell Douglas, and Hughes Electronics, before founding Davis & Chang Communications International. Throughout his career, Davis was one of the leading communications professionals in the aerospace industry through his work with Flying Tigers, McDonnel Douglas, Hughes Electronics, and leading the Public Affairs work of IATA. Davis is Past President of the Aero Club of Southern California, a board member of the Flight Path Museum, and Director of Public Relations for the Morale Entertainment Foundation.

    For almost half a century, Jeffrey Shane has immeasurably advanced the field of aeronautics through his expertise and dedicated efforts while serving in a host of top level positions in both the public and private aviation sectors. A former Partner at Hogan Lovells, Shane spent more than 25 years in public service, primarily focusing on international aviation, including serving as United States Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation. In these positions, he supervised all economic regulation of aviation as well as US international aviation relations. During his tenure – and led by his efforts – the United States signed the landmark European Union-US Open Skies agreement. A recipient of Aviation Week’s Welch Pogue Award and Transportation Secretary’s Gold Medal, he currently serves as the General Counsel for the International Air Transport Association.

    Murray Smith is being honored “…for the courage and conviction to always maintain the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in the pursuit of aviation excellence through journalism.” He began his journalistic career as a technical writer in the U.S. Navy, where he conceived the idea of an aviation publication and later founded Professional Pilot magazine. For nearly 50 years, he has been at the helm as publisher. At Professional Pilot he began the first publicly-published annual salary survey, and started the broad-based survey PRASE (preferences regarding aviation services and equipment) in 1974 which was quickly used by thousands of flight departments to benchmark other operators’ preferences of new equipment. Murray has had a pilot’s certificate since 1948 and is an Airline Transport-rated aviator as well as a Certified Flight Instructor with over 7,500 hours of flight time. He remains an active pilot and owns three general aviation aircraft which he flies regularly.

    Serving on the Selection Committee were Jonathan Gaffney, President and CEO of NAA; NAA Board Member Tony Velocci, and former Distinguished Statesman recipients Hugh Risseeuw (2013); Barry Valentine (2010); Matt Zuccaro, President, Helicopter Association International (2013), and Dick Koenig, President Corporate Angel Network (2012).

    The National Aeronautic Association is a non-profit, membership organization devoted to fostering America’s aerospace leadership and promoting public understanding of the importance of aviation and space flight to the United States.