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Aerospace Center for Excellence names new director

A Florida aerospace school operated by the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo team in Lakeland will have a new executive director June 1, though Eric Crump is a familiar face.

Supporting the Aerospace Center for Excellence has become the main mission for the spring aviation show that draws thousands of pilots and aviation enthusiasts, and Crump is the second new arrival to the leadership team in recent months following the appointment of Gene Conrad in February to serve as president and CEO of the Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo and the ACE that Crump will direct starting June 1.

“Over the last ten years, as the former airport director of Lakeland Linder International Airport, I’ve had the opportunity to watch Eric build the aerospace program at Polk State College into the robust aerospace educational institution it is today,” Conrad said in an announcement posted online. "Eric is a dynamic, passionate aviation professional and educator and we are extremely fortunate to have him join our ACE team.”

Eric Crump has been an aerospace education leader for many years. Photo courtesy of the Aerospace Center for Excellence.

Crump's past involvement with the show dates to 2008, and he has been an exhibitor, sponsor, and volunteer. Crump opened the Polk State College Aerospace program in 2012, and under his leadership the program grew from nine students pursing one degree option to nearly 300 students working toward one of four available degrees. Polk State was the first public college in Florida to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace studies. Crump previously worked as content manager and chief instructor for Gleim Publications, as an instructor at Middle Tennessee State University, and as a corporate pilot.

“I am honored to be asked to join this organization,” Crump said in the online announcement. “I have known and worked with this team for many years on countless collaborative projects. I have no doubt that, together, we will be able to build on the outstanding position this organization is in and propel it even further. We have an incredible opportunity to make a lasting impression on thousands of young people. I’m ready to get to work!”

AOPA ePublishing staff

AOPA ePublishing Staff editors are experienced pilots, flight instructors, and aircraft owners who have a passion for bringing you the latest news and AOPA announcements.
Topics: Sun 'n Fun, Aviation Education Programs

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