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Leading in Central MA: George Allen, Worcester Reg. Flight Academy

Monday, May 05, 2014

 

George Charles Allen, President & CEO of The Worcester Regional Flight Academy

In 2013, George Charles Allen was featured as an Up + Comer as part owner of The Worcester Regional Flight Academy, his family-owned and operated Flight School and Aerospace Learning Center conveniently located at the Worcester Regional Airport in Central Massachusetts. Since then, Allen has assumed the role as President & CEO and the company has continued to become a leader in the field of aviation. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) named The Worcester Regional Flight Academy both one of the Top 10 Flight Schools in the United States in 2013, and home to one of the Top 25 Flight Instructors in the United States. The Academy's mission is to advance aviation and aerospace education, for students of all ages and ambitions, throughout Central Massachusetts and beyond. To further achieve this goal, George Charles Allen has recently founded the AeroVenture Institute in official partnership with the EcoTarium.

A Conversation with George Charles Allen

SW: A lot of exciting things have happened since we last spoke. Do you want to talk a little about the awards that The Worcester Regional Flight Academy has been receiving?

GA: This has been a crowning year for us. This month we celebrate four years in business. In June we were honored to receive the Key to the City of Worcester from Mayor Joe Petty, and that key seems to have unlocked the door to many other unexpected awards to follow. We were honored by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, a national aviation organization, as one of the Top 10 Flight Schools in the country of over 500 schools surveyed, and our chief instructor, Bill Allen, was named one of the Top 25 Flight Instructors in the US for the second year in a row. We were also recognized by the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce this past March 2014 for all of our hard work in the way of community outreach with a Breakfast Club award.

But, truth be told, we aren't in this to win awards. Our goal from day one has always been to provide the highest quality of customer service, education and programming for students of all ages and ambitions to explore the exciting world of aviation and aerospace right in their own back yard. The best award or reward for us is the smile on someone's face after experiencing flight for the first time, or when they've returned from their flight exam with a pilot's license in their hand.

SW: The AeroVenture Institute is an exciting project for you and the Central Ma community. Can you describe it in brief?

GA: The AeroVenture Institute at the EcoTarium is an exciting new partnership and one-of-its-kind Aerospace Learning Center for youth in Massachusetts, and the Northeast Region, providing an alternative and comprehensive educational opportunity where Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) meet real-life, hands-on exploration through flight and aerospace technology. All of our STEM programs are firmly rooted in the Aviation and Aerospace fields, and taught by professionals in the industry. With Worcester being the home of rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard, and the David Clark Company, this could not be a more exciting opportunity or location.

We are positioned as the community’s “go to” source for these comprehensive and exciting programs, and are poised to give students the best and broadest aerospace education available in Central Massachusetts. We are proud to have the EcoTarium, JetBlue, and David Clark as community partners and invaluable additional resources in our efforts to promote the best of science education and literacy for our youth, as well as enhance the nation’s future and burgeoning Aerospace industry.

SW: What are you hoping to accomplish?

GA: The AeroVenture Institute’s primary focus is to attract students who are interested in and passionate about aviation and aerospace and may consider careers in these industries. While not all students attending the Institute will ultimately work in aviation or aerospace, they will earn a great advantage by attending our programs and gaining both academic and employable skills that are transferable to a wide range of industries and careers.

In addition, through our various industry and community partnerships, the AeroVenture Institute is capable of having a student in high school earn high school science elective credit, up to six college-level credits, and a private pilot license all before graduating. That's an amazing and unique opportunity that has never before existed for students in Massachusetts.

SW: Your Top Gun program instantly brings to mind Tom Cruise and the adventure of flying! What does your Top Gun program offer to the community.

GA: Top Gun lets community members of any age earn their first five hours of flight training with The Worcester Regional Flight Academy and become a master of the skies over Worcester! If someone has always had a desire to fly and wants to know what it takes to become a pilot, this is an opportunity to test their wings and begin their pilot journey by building real-world experience and flight time, with absolutely NO commitment. You might just have the opportunity to meet a real Naval aviator during the course of your program, too!

SW: Jack Welch made the statement that good business leaders create, articulate, own and relentlessly drive a vision to completion. What is your vision?

GA: For the AeroVenture Institute, my vision is to create opportunity for the next generation of aviators or aerospace pioneers to learn, experiment, play, get their hands dirty, explore, gain confidence and understand the immense opportunities and endless possibilities that lay before them. If we have gone from the Wright Bros. rickety 1903 flyer to a man on the moon a mere 66 years later; to advanced jetliners, space shuttles, the International Space Station, and Virgin Galactic commercial sub-orbital space flights in 110 years ... just imagine where we can be in another 100 years. Imagine what adventures lay ahead, easily within the lifetime of the young adults we are educating and inspiring today.

SW: What else is on the drawing board for 2014?

GA: We have a lot of awesome courses on the horizon this year. Our first course at the EcoTarium begins June 1st and is called the Flight of Imagination, where students in Middle and High School will learn about the science of flight and rocketry with exciting hands on activities, which ultimately concludes with an actual flight lesson around the city of Worcester! We are also offering a Rookie Aviator STEMinar for students looking to gain flight experience and college credits this summer, and then there is our annual Aerospace Discovery Weekend in August. In the fall, we'll be building actual full-sized airplanes with students, launching weather balloons to the edge of space, as well as building rockets and so much more! Definitely keep an eye on our website for frequent updates, we have a lot of innovative courses on the rise.

SW: How do you define success for your business and yourself?

GA: Our greatest success is providing a solid foundational learning experience for our students to carry throughout the rest of their lives, no matter what they do. We've enjoyed watching our students grow from knowing absolutely nothing about aviation (other than the fact that they loved it), to growing into full-fledged pilots, or soaring off to some of the top schools in the country such as Harvard University, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and embarking upon the adventure of a lifetime. We are only successful when our students are successful in fulfilling their dreams and desires.

 

GoLocalWorcester presents Leading in Central Ma, a weekly profile of an outstanding community or business leader. Join us every Monday for an inspiring look at the careers and lifestyles of Central Massachusetts’s most influential citizens. If you have suggestions for a profile, please email [email protected].

Susan D. Wagner is president of Susan Wagner PR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client's goals with integrity and creativity.

 

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