Release #08.052
October 30, 2008

ALPA Executive Director/Communications Director Don Skiados Announces Retirement
Pilots bestow an honorary ALPA membership

WASHINGTON, D.C.—After a celebrated career that will span 40 years, Don Skiados, Executive Director/Communications Director for the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), will retire on June 30, 2009.

For the past 40 years, Don has held various roles, including Director of Communications, where he forged new ground for the Association in developing, implementing, and leading various communications projects and initiatives for the Association. In September, Don assumed the role of Executive Director, to assist in a seamless transition of a newly restructured Communications Department.

Mr. Skiados served as the first Executive Vice-President of the Association of Independent Airmen. He is past president of the Aviation Accreditation Board, Int’l (formerly CAA), which provides resources for accreditation and accreditates professional aviation programs at colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada, and past president of the Universal Pilot Application Service.

He has served in various leadership roles in the hospitality industry, including the chairman of the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives. In addition to his tireless efforts in promoting the pilots’ agenda, Don shared the same passion in educating fellow association executives in the importance of communicating to their members. Harnessing his expertise, he has taught countless communications and media relations courses to businesses, union members, and association executives alike.

His philanthropic efforts are also worth mentioning—specifically he spearheaded the efforts to institute a scholarship fund in the name of 9/11 victim Mark McGinly, son of Bill McGinly, Ph.D., CAE, president and CEO for the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

Don’s devotion and dedication to airline pilots is unmatched and has not gone unnoticed. In a rare tribute celebrating his nearly 40 years of service to the Association, airline pilots, and the piloting profession, the ALPA Board of Directors recognized Skiados with an honorary membership.

“He hasn’t spent his career with us—he has invested his heart and soul in this union every single day for the last 40 years,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “His story really is the stuff of legends.”

Prater, along with the pilot group leaders of FedEx Express, Capt. Dave Webb, and ExpressJet, Capt. Bill Dressler, commemorated this rare show of recognition by adorning Skiados with not only an ALPA pilot pin, as tradition dictates, but a pilot’s uniform jacket as well.

With this honorary membership, Skiados joins a select list of individuals who have contributed to the aviation profession including New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Howard Hughes, Orville Wright, Charles Lindbergh, and Arthur Godfrey, just to name a few.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot association, representing 53,000 members at 37 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit

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ALPA Contact: Don Skiados, (703) 481-4440