Pierce is the owner of a restaurant supply and consulting company in Orlando. He also owns a Cirrus and is profiled in the November issue of Pilot as part of our ongoing series explaining how GA serves America. Although the story is familiar to many members, the rest of the American public doesn’t understand the benefit of GA. Surveys show while they may know they have a local airport that’s somewhat smaller than O’Hare, they don’t understand who flies in or out, or why.
I first heard about Pierce at Sun ‘n Fun earlier this year from the folks at Cirrus, who wisely used a letter he wrote to tout the benefits of the airplane for business travel. But as we know, the airplane doesn’t even matter in the end–it’s almost always better than the airlines.
Pierce got a chance recently to explain that fact to a Senate subcommittee on a non-aviation topic. Since the Cirrus allows him to quickly travel to his state capital and lobby his state legislature often, Pierce has made relationships that resulted in an invite to talk about trade export in Washington. As part of his testimony, he plugged GA as a great technological benefit to his business.
I think the impact of actions like Pierce’s can’t be overstated. AOPA clearly has significant clout in Washington’s aviation circles, but getting beyond that is always difficult. Pierce was able to capitalize on his opportunity and mention the positive benefits of GA to senators that likely don’t know the story. It’s an opportunity we should all grab whenever possible. AOPA’s ranks of CEOs, company owners, and influencers has the chance to do this type of thing often. So make sure to help the cause whenever possible and keep GA strong.