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Mark Baker Named President And CEO Of The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association


Staff member
Northwest Arkansas
FREDERICK, Md., Aug. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Mark R. Baker, a longtime general aviation (GA) pilot, has been named president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the world's largest aviation association. Baker is only the fifth AOPA president since the association's founding nearly 75 years ago.
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130820/NY66949 )
"We are pleased to announce that Mark Baker has been selected as the next president and chief executive officer of AOPA," said Bill Trimble, chairman of the AOPA Board of Trustees. "He has all the tools this job demands. Mark brings 35 years of involvement in the GA community as a pilot and decades of experience in leadership positions in the home improvement industry, such as Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and The Home Depot. He has an extraordinary understanding of the importance of serving our membership and advancing their needs. He is well-suited to build on the foundation established by his predecessors and move AOPA forward."
A native Minnesotan, Baker, 55, became a pilot in his twenties and has logged more than 7,500 hours of flight time. The pilot community and his close flying friends are the reason he can be found at an airport or a seaplane base nearly every weekend. An aircraft owner, Baker enjoys flying everything from light seaplanes to turbines to helicopters, but his favorite airplane continues to be his Piper Super Cub. Baker and his wife, Vickie, have four children and six grandchildren. Not only did he encourage his father to learn to fly, but two of his sons-in-law have their pilot's certificates and his own son will become a pilot soon as well.
"Being selected as only the fifth leader of AOPA is a tremendous honor," said Baker, an AOPA member since 1987. "Many of my happiest moments have been spent flying and sharing my passion for aviation with others. I am committed to the priorities of the membership and will ensure that AOPA's focus remains on carrying out our mission of protecting the freedom to fly.
"I am very much looking forward to getting out and meeting and listening to the members, and then using the feedback to focus valuable resources where they will most benefit GA pilots and increase the value of membership. I believe this approach can also be useful in increasing member participation in AOPA and driving increased GA flight activity."
Trimble thanked outgoing president Craig Fuller for his efforts. "On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank Craig Fuller for his five years in the left seat at AOPA. He served as a formidable advocate on behalf of the general aviation community, helped to forge partnerships with other aviation associations and provided important guidance at a challenging moment in our history. We wish him well as he moves on to the next stage of his distinguished career," said Trimble, who has led AOPA's Board since 2005.
The AOPA Board of Trustees' search committee began looking for AOPA's new leader earlier this year, after Fuller informed the Board of his intent to move on to other opportunities. The Board retained the national search firm of Heidrick & Struggles to help identify final candidates from among the association's nearly 400,000 members, and Baker emerged as an outstanding candidate for the position.
Through the years, Baker worked his way up through the home improvement business and brings a sharp focus on customer service that will translate well to a membership association. Most recently, he served as CEO of Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corporation, a leading retailer of home improvement and garden products. Baker also served in senior executive roles at Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Gander Mountain Company and The Home Depot. Earlier in his career, he also worked for HomeBase, Scotty's Home Improvement Centers and Knox Hardware and Lumber. He is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota.
Baker enjoys spending time flying Young Eagles, youths aged 8-17 who are interested in aviation and are given the opportunity to fly in GA aircraft, and has donated time and resources in the past to other Experimental Aircraft Association initiatives. He also has served on several corporate boards and has been involved in leadership roles with nonprofit organizations including City of Hope, a leading biomedical research, treatment and education institution in Duarte, California, which he has supported since the 1980s.
With this appointment, Baker also will become chairman of AOPA's Political Action Committee, chief executive officer of the AOPA Foundation and publisher of AOPA Pilot, the world's largest and most influential aviation publication.
Baker is to take office on September 6, 2013, following formal appointment by the Board of Trustees at the Annual Meeting of Members in Frederick, Maryland.

About AOPA
Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. With a membership base of nearly 400,000, AOPA is the largest aviation association in the world. With representatives based in Frederick, MD., Washington, D.C., and seven regions across the United States, AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media products. To learn more, visit www.aopa.org.
SOURCE The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
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Is he a member here? I hope his skills in dealing with the government regulators are as good as his retail skills.

Hope he concentrates on government affairs and issues important to GA and not on selling wine.....

Sat across from Mark and his wife at a dinner a few years ago. Although he owns two Super Cubs both on Amphibs (he lives on a lake in the Twin Cities), the Super Cub he is most fond of is a 160 hp low time A model that Roger Meggers, Baker, Montana, rebuilt for him. He also has a new built 180 hp SC but said he preferred the lighter one. He owns a hangar at Anoka County Airport and is a genuine airplane nut.
What a great choice!
Mark's 160 hp SC on skis:


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I can understand his choice. I routinely fly 160 and 180 Cubs, and while I like the vertical performance of the higher power, the 160 is a more pleasant airplane to fly.

We really need a good lobbyist. 100% lockdown is on its way. Opinion.
Mark is a self made, smart, hard working guy, nothing handed down to him and very well connected in the business world. Yes he drinks wine, beer & scotch, so he won't sell it! Mark was my first floatplane student when I started Adventure Seaplanes back in 1991, he flew my Champ first on floats but then bought that 1952 135 hp SCub that was in storage for 18 years and restored it a few years later. I flew it back for him and the mechanics never tightened the valve covers, what a mess down the side of the SCub in only 7 miles from Forest Lake to Surfside! Mark has owned 97 planes since and also owns one of 8 of my old SCubs now restored 180hp plus a Beech 18 on floats at Surfside and some others. Time will tell but I think Mark will do a very good job for us, he is truly a plane guy.
In looking at FAA registrations, it looks like Mark Baker has his favorite SC and an old friend Baron in his name then several more planes under "Baker Planes" including a drop dead perfect C185 & a Kodiak Quest. I don't see the 180 hp SC any longer on the list. And as Brian says, a polished Beech 18 on straight floats at Surfside purchased from Al Lund.
Mark and his flying buds trade, sell & barter planes, hangers, etc more than NY stock exchange! Mark is right across from my hanger, one of Wally's hangers, many a deals done over good scotch! I haved done some trading in the past also! Guys just like to have fun with planes!
Mark is good for the airplane economy, first thing he does on a new plane is put in nice garmin avionics, paint, Wipline Amphibs, etc. It is good to keep the currency in circulation right, vs pissing it away in real estate, etc. He bought a Quest Kodiak new and give it to Wipaire for certification on floats, owned a few Caravan Amphibs, Beaver Amphib, 185 Amphibs, Citations and more. We joke that he was my number 1 student, I guess he was!
That plane on floats pushes my jealousy button. Juneau had a charter operated one on floats that I drooled over many mornings.