Mission critical: Crew Aviation shares their passion for supporting nonprofits
By Amy Barnes
Photos by Andrea Hutchinson
VOICE Louisville recently spoke with the Crew Aviation team regarding their contributions to nonprofits in Louisville and beyond.
What is your philosophy on giving back to our community?
We believe in servant leadership and helping other individuals, businesses and organizations develop and perform at their best. We want to be active members of the communities in which we operate, not just another company. It has been said that we are “different,” and we hope to reflect that through the connections and contributions we make as a company and as individuals.
How would you describe your community engagment in Louisville?
We participate in local, national and international organizations that benefit Louisville, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Southern Indiana and surrounding areas. Our industry is driven by those who have studied and achieved success based on STEAM education. STEAM is an educational approach that uses science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking. We align ourselves with nonprofits that support those disciplines as well.
Our COO and Director of Operations, Tim Peace, has served on the Louisville Orchestra board of directors of Louisville Orchestra for four years. He is the secretary of the board and concurrently serves on several subcommittees. The Arts have been long tied to innovation, mathematics and creativity. By supporting all forms of art, including performing arts, design, literary, visual, philosophy and others, we can incorporate the value art had in the beginnings of aviation, as Leonardo da Vinci himself was one of the first to contemplate the concept of flight.
In July, we hosted our First Annual Golf Scramble to support the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research, an international foundation that raises awareness and funding. The Foundation offers grants for significant research and smaller researchers looking for alternative treatments which may not have acquired financing. Its goal is to discover leading-edge technologies that result in fewer long-term side effects and, ultimately, cures. The scramble was a tremendous success that raised over $10,000. While this was our first year supporting the Rally Foundation in Louisville, we have been the title sponsor for Rally on The Runway in Nashville for the past three years.
In 2015, Creative Director of Crew Aviation, Annabelle Klein, founded Flight Club 502, a nonprofit organization with the help of her father and Crew Aviation CEO and Founder, Clyde Ensor. It began with eight kids, three of whom were Annabelle’s younger sisters. They gathered because they wanted to be pilots, but no one knew where to begin. With Clyde’s direction, encouragement and others in the Louisville aviation community, Flight Club 502 became an organization with a mission to instruct young students about leadership and success through realistic goal-setting in aviation through NextGen/STEM education. While the initial group was all female, the organization grew to include males as well. There are over 230 members to date. One hundred three members have achieved their first solo flights, forty-two members have earned private pilot licenses, and four have completed their commercial certificates.
Describe your support for professional aviation organizations.
Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Shannon Weidekamp is on the board of directors and a loyal Women in Aviation International (WAI) member. Crew Aviation is a corporate member, and many of our staff are individual members, some of who have been involved in WAI since their days with university chapters. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to encouraging and advancing women in all aviation career fields and interests. The organization is not limited to women; WAI welcomes men who offer support, encouragement and mentorship. WAI is the sponsoring organization for Girls in Aviation Day that provides scholarships to all aviation industry sectors.
Crew also contributes to the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). Several staff members have served or chaired on national committees, offering their time and expertise to promote the industry. Kentucky is a leading exporter of aerospace products and services, contributing $14.6 billion to the economy.
How do you inspire your team to get involved in the community?
We are fortunate to have a dynamic team that gets along well and supports one another in their causes. If something is vital to one of our team members, everyone gets behind and finds a way to contribute. By contributing to these worthwhile organizations that provide scholarships, mentorship, research grants and engagement, our goal is to support the next generation of aviation and aerospace professionals to advance the industry in Kentucky further and beyond.
1176 Standiford Ave.
Louisville, KY 40213