Henry Ogrodzinski, president and CEO of the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), passed away on January 22 in his home on Capitol Hill. Henry O., as friends and colleagues knew him, made a tremendous impact on the aviation industry throughout his illustrious career. He was 65.
Henry began his leadership with NASAO in 1996, representing state government aviation agencies, serving the public interest in all 50 states, and Guam and Puerto Rico. His career in aviation began with the Delco Electronics Division of General Motors, which manufactured navigation and flight-management systems for the aviation industry.
He then joined the executive ranks of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) as the director of policy and Planning and later the director of corporate communications. Henry played an integral role in the growth of EAA during his tenure with the Association.
Henry utilized his gained experience in aviation and governmental affairs, working in communications and public affairs for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation and the United States Air and Trade Show.
Henry was a veteran of the United States Army, and an honors graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication.
In 2012, he received NAA’s Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award, and the Texas Department of Transportation’s Career Contribution in Aviation award. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the New York Aviation Management Association in 2013.
“In addition to being a close friend, Henry Ogrodzinski was one of the finest men I ever met,” said TxDOT Aviation Director David Fulton. “Although he described himself as the ‘longest living student pilot,’ he was more passionate about general aviation than anyone I have ever known. Everyone in the aviation industry liked and respected him. I have been associated with the National Association of State Aviation Officials for almost 40 years. Henry O. was, by far, the best leader of NASAO that we ever had. We at TxDOT Aviation miss him a great deal. Our thoughts are with his wife Ellen and his entire family.”