Press Release

U.S. Contract Tower Association Issues Leadership Award to Sen. Roger Wicker

For Immediate Release
July 13, 2023

Alexandria, Va. – The U.S. Contract Tower Association (USCTA), which coordinates contract tower issues with Congress, the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and other agencies, on July 12 issued its 2023 Leadership Award to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker.

Golden Triangle Regional Airport Director Matt Dowell, A.A.E, and USCTA’S Brad Van Dam presented the award to Wicker in appreciation and recognition of his distinguished service and leadership and for being a strong advocate for airports in Mississippi and around the country.

“Senator Wicker has been a particularly strong proponent of the FAA Contract Tower Program and has worked to enhance safety at small airports in Mississippi and around the country,” said USCTA Executive Director Brad Van Dam. “We’re grateful for his continued leadership.”

USCTA Vice Chair Vinicio “Lenny” Llerena, A.A.E., ACE, also presented the association’s Distinguished Service Award to Jim Slate, a Senior Advisor at Robinson Aviation (RVA); and the Walt Strong, A.A.E., Contract Tower Industry Advocacy Award to Todd Woodward, Director of Marketing & Public Affairs at Spokane International Airport. The award ceremony occurred at the Association’s Annual Conference in Washington.

“On behalf of USCTA, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to both for their hard work and dedication,” Van Dam said. “Because of their tireless efforts, USCTA was able late last year to convince Congress to pass the CONTRACT Act, a bill that will help address staffing challenges at contract tower airports.”

Slate has been a reliable voice for the Contract Tower Program and was a driving force behind the CONTRACT Act. Woodard, who served as USTCA Chair until June 2023, played a key role in increasing funding for the FAA Contract Tower Program and ensuring that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law included funding to replace, repair, and relocate outdated towers.


ABOUT AAAE: Founded in 1928, AAAE is the world's largest professional organization representing the individuals who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE's 9,000 members represent over 850 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry. Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., AAAE serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington, D.C., and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities, including training, conferences, and a highly respected accreditation program.

Joel D. Bacon
Executive Vice President, Government and Public Affairs

Brad Van Dam
Executive Director, U.S. Contract Tower Association 
Senior Vice President, AAAE Federal Affairs