Aeronautics Director Receives 2022 AAAE Leadership Award

STATEWIDE (July 6, 2022) –  Mark E. Gale, A.A.E., Chair of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) for 2022-23 has awarded State Director of Aeronautics Grayson Ardies a 2022 AAAE Leadership Award for his work on the U.S. Contract Tower Association Policy Board.

Founded in 1928, AAAE is the world's largest professional organization representing the individuals who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE's 9,000 members represent some 875 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry.

Ardies has been the Director of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission since November 2020. The Commission's mission is to promote aviation and aerospace, which includes fostering the growth of the aerospace industry and ensuring that the needs of commerce and communities across Oklahoma are met by the 108 public airports that comprise the state’s air transportation system. Ardies emphasis continues to be on promoting the aerospace industry, one of the state’s largest industries and top employers; critical planning and development for the state’s air transportation system; making the state’s 49 regional business airports the best possible economic centers in their communities, and encouraging public-private partnerships to promote the aerospace industry.

He has led many statewide agency initiatives including a three-year effort working with the state legislature to protect military training airspace. He also managed a two-year project that conducted an Aerospace and Aviation Economic Impact Study which established the industry as the second-largest economic engine in the state.

Ardies was awarded the honorable 2020 State Aviation Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO). The award, established in 1989, honors State Aviation personnel who have excelled in their service and dedication to aviation progress and development in their state. Ardies was also listed in the Power 15 List in Aviation and Aeronautics in Oklahoma by the Journal Record in 2020.

Director Ardies graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Aviation Management with double minors in Business Administration and Air Traffic Control. As part of his education through the aviation program, he also received a commercial pilot’s license with single and multi-engine instrument ratings and is a certified flight instructor.