Erin Croop has made it her mission to tell people how general aviation works for their community.
“General aviation is an essential component of our community’s—and country’s—transportation system,” Croop says. “Just having Page Field in our community means an annual impact of $385 million.”
Croop spreads the word by organizing and personally hosting more than 30 Page Field tours for youth and adult groups each year. She engages guests by involving the airport police and fire departments as well as tenants with planes who invite young citizens to sit in the cockpit.
She also addresses a national shortage of qualified individuals to fill career opportunities in the aviation industry by coordinating an annual STEM tour for high school students in conjunction with the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools. In addition, she’s the lead organizer for Aviation Day, a free annual community event held at Page Field which introduces more than 5,000 to the excitement of aviation while doubling as a food drive to benefit the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida.
“No matter how big or small, you have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and contribute whatever is necessary to reach your team’s goal,” Croop says. “Community service is realizing that our world can’t move forward unless we make an effort to give back.”
To further this effort, Croop mentors a college intern each year as part of the Lee County Port Authority summer internship program. She has assisted on scholarship review panels and volunteered to speak at local schools. Croop is also one of the founding members of the National Business Aviation Association YoPro Council—a committee of young professionals in business aviation who create networking, mentorship and educational opportunities for aspiring individuals in the industry.
Croop encourages young professionals to take advantage of these types of opportunities.
“When you start down your chosen career path, find someone in the role you aspire to be in, who has already found success,” she says. “Reach out to them and ask how they got there, what challenges they faced, and what advice they have for someone like you. Not only are you building your network, but you may just earn a valuable mentor to help you along the way.”
In her free time, the Berea College graduate enjoys spending time with her husband and young son. She loves to travel and plan trips for her family and friends.