MARPA co-founder George Powell died on Friday, September 6 after a battle with cancer.
George’s aviation career began as an aircraft pilot during World War II. He then spent a career as an engineer and customer support manager for Bell Helicopter (highlighted by a daring escape from Iran when the Shah’s government fell).
By the 1980s, society felt George was ready to retire but George had different
plans. He became active as a PMA manufacturer and as an independent DER. He was passionate about small business and he helped many of today’s PMA companies get on their feet.
The idea of MARPA was born during the late 1990s, when George, Jim Reum and I sketched out our ideas for a trade association on the back of a cocktail napkin during the lunch break at an Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee meeting.
George served as the first President for the Association, and after he stepped down he remained an active guiding voice for MARPA. He was important mentor who helped to guide me and many others within the PMA community. He frequently communicated his ideas to the FAA, helping to shape the policies and regulations that affect the aerospace community.
George was never the sort who could rest – he always wanted to be active and involved. He was one of the leading voices on the MARPA Leasing Committee during the last year of his life. Despite the cancer, he also was active in supporting aerospace businesses right up until days before he passed.
George’s family is planning a celebration of life ceremony in October. They are trying to plan the celebration in Arizona just after the MARPA Conference in order to permit more of George’s friends and business associates from the aerospace industry to conveniently attend (more details are coming soon, and final details will depend on availability).
His family is working on a scholarship fund for aerospace engineering at George’s alma mater (RPI). We hope to have more details on this effort to share with the industry by the time of the MARPA Conference.
MARPA and the industry will be forever indebted to George for his leadership and guidance.