As seen in the St. Helena Star publication.

Barden-McKinnon Honored for Corporate, Private Aviation Contributions

St. Helena’s Janice Barden-McKinnon with National Aeronautic Association chairman Walter Boyne, left, and fellow NAA award recipients Bruce Whitman and Hugh Risseeuw at the Nov. 12 NAA fall awards dinner in Arlington, Va. Not shown are awardees Ralph Crosby and Matt Zuccaro.

Janice Barden-McKinnon described herself as “thunderstruck” when she first learned she had been named a 2013 recipient of the National Aeronautic Association’s Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award.

“When I got the word I was speechless,” St. Helena resident Barden-McKinnon said and laughed before adding, “And I’m not speechless often.”

The professional aviation psychologist who founded the San Francisco-based Aviation Personnel International in 1971 was being recognized for her contributions to the world of corporate and private aviation. Joining her at the NAA awards ceremony were her husband, Chuck McKinnon, and 12-year-old grandson, Peter Coholan.

API was the first female owned and operated, and now longest running, search firm designed exclusively to serve the hiring needs of private and business aviation professionals.

Barden-McKinnon, now semi retired, has received numerous awards during a career that spans 58 years but this latest accolade, she said, is “the top.”

Although, she hastened to add, “It isn’t just my award, it’s the award of all the people we’ve justified” — the senior aviation pilots, pilots, maintenance and cabin safety crews as well as schedulers and dispatchers who have passed through API’s psychological testing and evaluation and assessment program.

In addition to the 2013 Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award, Barden-McKinnon’s additional honors and milestones include the University Aviation Association Janice K. Barden Aviation Scholarship which, through the National Business Aviation Association, annually awards $1,000 to each of five undergraduates studying aviation-related curricula at NBAA and UAA member institutions.

She was the recipient of the Kent State Distinguished Alumni Award in 1986 which recognizes and honors alumni whose leadership, character and hard work have made exceptional contributions in their chosen field, in their communities and at Kent State.

In 1990 Barden-McKinnon envisioned an outreach program for aviation students and created the annual NBAA Careers in Business Aviation Day.

In 1992 she was appointed by George H. W. Bush to a Presidential Blue Ribbon Panel to research the training options to address the Pilot and Aviation Maintenance Technician shortage.

She was also a recipient of the NBAA John P. “Jack” Doswell Award bestowed on those with a lifelong individual achievement on behalf and in support of the aims, goals and objectives of business aviation.

Barden-McKinnon was awarded an NBAA American Spirit Award in 2000. The award recognizes an individual within business aviation who exemplifies the courage, pursuit of excellence and service to others that characterize men and women who created and nurtured the American aviation community.

She served as NBAA Local Committee Chairman six times, more times than any other individual in the association’s history, and was the only woman to serve as its chair.

“I am immeasurably proud of the lifelong accomplishments and impact that my mother has made in the lives of professionals working within the business aviation industry,” said Sheryl Barden, API president and CEO.

“She has received an outpouring of emails from former clients, candidates and industry partners, congratulating her on this Distinguished Statesman honor,” her daughter added. “All have thanked her for contributing to their success and the success of our industry.”

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