Janice Barden

Founder and Past Chairman

Janice K. Barden contributed to the aviation community for more than 60 years.

“Jan Barden was a remarkable figure, and a tireless supporter of NBAA and the business aviation community,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “I’m not sure our industry has ever seen a person who has given more time to promoting and serving its interests—she was extraordinary at helping people to connect people to each other, and build a sense of community.”

In 1971, she leveraged her 16 years as a professional aviation psychologist to found her own recruitment firm, Aviation Personnel International (API). Using her skills in psychological testing, Barden developed the company’s proprietary candidate testing program, which has since evolved throughout the years, and remains a company staple 45 years later.

Under Barden’s leadership, API’s professional and technical standards helped to raise the bar immeasurably for quality and performance in aviation, placing thousands of high-achieving professionals in a wide array of positions in the field.

A summary of Barden’s awards, accolades and honors throughout her career would itself fill a book, but following are some of the more notable ones:

  • Inducted in the Ohio Senior Citizen Hall of Fame in 2015.
  • Recognized as an aviation industry “Game Changer” at the 2015 NBAA Leadership Conference in 2015.
  • One of five recipients of the National Aeronautical Association’s Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award in 2013.
  • Namesake for the UAA Janice K. Barden Aviation Scholarship, through which the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annually awards $1,000 to each of five undergraduates studying aviation-related curricula at NBAA and University Aviation Association (UAA) member institutions.
  • Recipient of the NBAA John P. “Jack” Doswell Award in 1994, given to those with a lifelong individual achievement on behalf and in support of the aims, goals and objectives of business aviation.
  • Recipient of the NBAA American Spirit Award in 2000, given in recognition of an individual within business aviation who exemplifies the courage, pursuit of excellence and service to others that characterize men and women who have created and nurtured the American aviation community.
  • Served eight times as NBAA Local Committee Chairwoman, more than any other person in NBAA history, and the only woman to serve as its chair.
  • Appointed by President George H. W. Bush to a Presidential Blue Ribbon Panel in 1992, to research the training options to address the Pilot and Aviation Maintenance Technician shortage. Also appointed to the President’s Committee for the rehabilitation of returning Vietnam prisoner of war (POW) pilots.
  • Envisioned an outreach program for aviation students, and, in 1990, created the annual NBAA Careers in Business Aviation Day.
  • Served on Kent State’s Alumni Board from 1978-84, and also held the position of its secretary.
  • Received the Kent State Distinguished Alumni Award in 1986, which honors alumni who, through their leadership, character and hard work, have made exceptional contributions in their chosen field, as well as in their communities and at Kent State.
  • Served as a Director, History of Aviation Collection, for the University of Texas/Dallas since its inception.
  • Named as a “Star Performer” by Professional Pilot magazine.
  • Served as the Federal Jury Commissioner Eastern District of Louisiana from 1965 to 2007.
  • Listed in “Who’s Who of American Women,” “Who’s Who in Aviation” and “Who’s Who in the South.”

In addition to these many accomplishments, and working on behalf of the aviation industry, Janice Barden also served on numerous boards of directors, commissions and organizations. Among them, she was a member of the National Business Aviation Association and Flight Safety Foundation.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Barden left home at age 17 to pursue her undergraduate studies at Miami University in the college of business administration, and later earned her degree in Industrial Psychology from Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio.