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Since 1996, SouthWings has provided a network of volunteer pilots to advocate for the restoration and protection of the ecosystems and biodiversity of the Southeast through flight. Conservation groups working to halt destructive resource extraction and use practices, to identify and eliminate pollution sources and events, or to permanently protect ecologically valuable lands use SouthWings volunteer flights to become better informed about natural assets while collecting valuable data, including photo and video documentation, for their campaigns. Our volunteers’ flights also inform business leaders, key legislators, landowners, community members, and media representatives who can then influence desired private, legislative, and agency action.
SouthWings currently has 6 full-time staff and more than 60 volunteer pilots, whose generosity and dedication form the backbone of the organization’s service to the Southeast. It has a strong network of relationships with regional conservation and flight partners. It has an enthusiastic and committed Board of Directors, a talented, experienced, passionate staff, and solid finances. The organizational culture can be described as professional yet down-to-earth, dedicated to the mission, and committed to setting and achieving high standards.
SouthWings arranges flights with volunteer pilots throughout 11 southeastern states and the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Its central offices are located in Asheville, NC, with program staff based in satellite offices on the Gulf Coast and the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Our Volunteer Pilot Network is the heart of this regional, environment-focused volunteer pilot organization. SouthWings’ Pilot Coordinator will support and coordinate the organization’s evolving framework for recruiting new volunteer pilots to serve our partners across the Southeast. SouthWings is currently working towards a new peer-to-peer volunteer outreach structure, modeled on best practices from sister volunteer pilot organizations. Under this new structure, the VP Coordinator will be the primary staff member supporting a recently formed Aviation Advisory Committee and a new Volunteer Pilot Mentorship Program. The VP Coordinator will serve as the staff hub for the volunteer-led committee and mentorship program, as well as all volunteer pilot recruitment activities. In addition to supporting volunteer outreach work, the VP Coordinator will assist in maintaining current membership in the volunteer network. The VP Coordinator will need to work effectively with a wide range of people, with a primary commitment to facilitating the work of volunteer pilots.
The VP Coordinator will be based in the Asheville, NC area and may at times require travel (up to 10% of the time), including attendance at SouthWings’ annual volunteer pilot fly-in event (hosted in various locations throughout the Southeast). Weekend and evening work will be required in order to accommodate volunteers’ schedules. The VP Coordinator will work out of the main office in Asheville, NC.
The VP Coordinator is a full-time position (40 hours/week). The VP Coordinator reports to the Executive Director (ED) and supports program staff positions, as well as the volunteer-led Aviation Advisory Committee and Volunteer Pilot Mentorship Program.
Volunteer Pilot Outreach and Recruitment
- With guidance from the Aviation Advisory Committee, construct and lead implementation of volunteer pilot (VP) recruitment plan.
- Maintain calendar of key general aviation events (e.g. AOPA regional fly-ins and Sun ‘n Fun) with guidance from Aviation Advisory Committee; arrange and assist with planning for VP attendance at these events.
- Serve as the primary staff support for the volunteer-led Aviation Advisory Committee, including: convening committee, recording decisions, and, in collaboration with ED, collecting and prioritizing aviation-related questions that arise to facilitate setting meeting agendas.
- Continue ongoing VP recruitment mailing campaigns.
- Respond to VP requests for recruitment materials.
- Implement other VP recruitment activities as directed by ED or Aviation Advisory Committee.
Welcoming New Volunteer Pilots
- Volunteer Pilot Mentorship Program: assist with the build out of this new program that will move the organization to a volunteer-led, peer-to-peer model for welcoming new VPs to the network. Once the new structure is fully established, we anticipate that key responsibilities of the VP Coordinator will be to:
- Respond to inquiries from interested pilots and set time for an initial call (eventually by connecting interested pilots with a VP Mentor).
- Ensure all necessary VP intake paperwork is collected and filed in a timely manner.
- Send welcome package to new VPs.
Maintain Volunteer Pilot Network
- Prepare and send flight donation acknowledgement letters to VPs annually.
- Request and file annual renewal paperwork from VPs.
- Ensure that up-to-date aircraft insurance policies listing SouthWings as additionally insured are on file for all active VPs.
- Plan pilot appreciation “meet-up” events locally and across the region in collaboration with regional Program Managers and/or VP hosts.
- Planning and logistics for the annual Fly-in event, with guidance from the Fly-in Committee.
- Serve as interim flight coordinator for Program Managers on an as-needed basis.
- Track and supply VP recruitment-related details for grant proposals and reporting as needed.
- Respond to VP/aviation-focused media inquiries and connect journalists with appropriate organizational spokespeople and/or VPs.
- Other tasks as assigned by ED.
- Masterful juggler of details, effective at wrangling and organizing paperwork.
- Strong interpersonal skills and experience managing volunteers and/or committee-style structures.
- Experience with logistics and event planning.
- Self-motivated and comfortable structuring time efficiently while working independently.
- Creative problem-solver, flexible and capable of adapting to changing priorities.
- Familiarity with interacting with databases, as well as new technological trends and applications.
The ideal candidate will also have:
- A demonstrated commitment to organizational excellence.
- Sensitivity and passion for the environment.
- An interest in general aviation and/or experience interacting with pilots.