2022 Inspire Award
PNAA’s Inspire Award honors businesses and individuals in the aerospace community that have shown exceptional creativity in working with schools to share the activities of manufacturing in an overall effort to cultivate interest and skills leading to aerospace careers.
Museum of Flight
In 2021, The Museum of Flight celebrated its 56th year of bringing the incredible history of flight to life. It is one of the largest air and space museums in the world, serving 600,000 visitors annually pre-Covid-19. Encompassing 23 acres adjacent to Boeing Field and a Restoration Center near Paine Field, the Museum’s collection includes over 175 aircraft and spacecraft, tens of thousands of artifacts, millions of rare photographs, dozens of exhibits and experiences, and a world-class library.
Matt Hayes, President and CEO of The Museum of Flight has been involved in aviation since he was a teenager. At age 16, he soloed in a small two-seat airplane before he drove a car alone. In 1995, he moved to the Pacific Northwest and immediately became a member of The Museum of Flight, so he could indulge his passion for aviation. Matt recalls “my first ‘job’ at the Museum was as a volunteer, working on the restoration team for the B-17. For me, it was a 9-year labor of love where I learned a lot more about life than about airplanes from the veterans, Rosie the Riveters, and other volunteers I worked with.” In 2006, Matt was hired as the Museum’s Controller and has since held various leadership positions. In his current role, Matt is responsible for directing the Museum’s long-term strategic planning process and ensuring that the Museum reaches its vision of becoming the foremost educational air and space museum in the world.
The Museum was deeply impacted by the pandemic. Overnight, it lost 90% of its earned revenue and closed its doors to the public for the longest time in its history. Since education has long been at the heart of the Museum’s mission, it opted to leverage its strengths and pivot to delivering education programs online and through other remote means. As a result, it expanded its programming and outreach to diverse communities with critical needs around the country and worldwide. Consequently, new and existing community partnerships are stronger than ever and the Museum plans to leverage these relationships in continued service to youth-centered community groups, educators, schools, families and individuals. It is committed to using the lens of flight to inspire and prepare the next generation of dreamers, pilots, and engineers—and to ensure that these opportunities are available to those currently underrepresented in STEM careers: women, students of color and those from low-income and rural communities.
In discussing the pandemic, Matt says, “I am truly humbled to be leading The Museum of Flight through what has been a challenging time for so many. Early in the pandemic, our decision to pivot and focus on what we could do as opposed to talking about what we couldn’t do helped us to be of service to our community in ways we never imagined. We know how inspiring the story of humankind’s quest to reach the skies and the stars can be. Our goal is to turn inspiration into aspiration and to help support the next generation of diverse pilots, astronauts, engineers and scientists in discovering and pursuing their educational and career dreams.”
Nikki Malcolm, PNAA Interim CEO and Executive Director, notes “The Museum of Flight has many programs to help youth and especially those in underserved communities have access to aerospace and aviation. They serve as a beacon, pointing a light toward all the opportunities there are to work in this field. They are a precise match to what the Inspire Award is all about and we are pleased to present it to them.”
Thank You Industry Awards Sponsor
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