David Ulane responded to our call for readers who work in GA: “I saw your recent request for stories about people who make their living through GA employment and as Northwest Mountain Regional Manager for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), I’m one of them, with what I think is a unique and fantastic job.
In my role with AOPA, I’m responsible for advocating on behalf of more than 35,000 Northwest Mountain Region AOPA members on state and local legislative affairs and airport issues, as well as promoting general aviation in seven of what are arguably the most beautiful states in the country: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
As I travel through the region working with other associations, elected officials, pilots, state aviation directors and countless others for the betterment of GA, I’m constantly reminded of how very fortunate I am that my avocation is also my profession.
Since attending my first airshow in Denver at the age of 5 (I’m on the left with my brother Chris), I knew aviation would be my lifelong passion. Following high school, I attended Metropolitan State University of Denver, during which time I learned to fly, and got my professional start on the airport management side of our industry.
After more than 22 years of a thoroughly enjoyable airport management career at airports in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, I joined AOPA in 2011, incredibly enthusiastic about the opportunity to get back to the flying side of the GA world. The transition to AOPA inspired me to regain my lapsed pilot currency, which I truly missed after 10 years of inactivity, and I’ve been an active GA pilot and advocate for the past three years.
I’m incredibly fortunate that my avocation is also my profession, and I’m a true testament to the old sage that if you truly enjoy what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.