This past Winter and Spring of 2023, NATA was fortunate to have had the assistance and expertise of Ryan Kassanoff as its Legislative Affairs Intern. A local college student at American University, Ryan spent many of his days working from the Association’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. and on multiple occasions joined Vice President of Government Affairs Karen Huggard on trips to Capitol Hill. Ryan’s policy background and attention to detail made him an invaluable asset to the legislative staff as well as membership. His support of the Association will be dearly missed, but we are excited to see Ryan continue his path to learning and appreciative of his accomplishments as a team member.
As his internship came to a close, the Aviation Business Journal (ABJ) asked Ryan a few questions to commemorate his time with the NATA team.
ABJ: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Ryan: I am currently an undergraduate student at American University, majoring in international relations and minoring in international business. In these past few months, I had an incredible time serving as NATA’s Legislative Affairs Intern and working with the team at NATA. Most of my projects were focused on federal and domestic policy, but on the side, I also dabbled in international subject matters which paired great with my major and minor.
ABJ: What has been most rewarding about your time at NATA?
Ryan: By far, the most rewarding moment of my time with NATA was watching our President and CEO Curt Castagna testify on Capitol Hill. I had the opportunity to work with Curt and the Legislative Affairs team to craft and compile talking points, biographies on members of Congress, legislative summaries, and more. It was so gratifying to see how well-versed and prepared Curt was for questions posed by members of Congress. He did an incredible job not only representing NATA but also supporting our members by amplifying their voice and position on the given legislation. I’m grateful for this experience because I know how rare an opportunity this is for an intern.
Another rewarding aspect of my time at the Association has been working to coordinate and plan NATA’s Day on the Hill event. It has been a few years since NATA last held the event and I was excited to be a part of its return this past June. Direct stakeholder interaction with members of Congress is the most effective avenue to have their opinions and their business needs heard. As FAA reauthorization approaches, NATA member voices are more important than ever.
ABJ: Why do you enjoy working with a trade association in the aviation industry?
Ryan: My answer to this is simple, the members. Each NATA member is different in terms of their type of business, operations, size, etc. This diversity provided me with a unique opportunity to cover a wide variety of issues and priorities, while also learning how to better serve and support the aviation business community. It is rewarding to help organizations from all backgrounds and make a positive impact on their day-to-day operations.
ABJ: Why are you passionate about aviation?
Ryan: Today, the world is more connected than ever. Aviation not only brings people face-to-face for life’s big moments but has also created opportunities for business expansion and a more globalized supply chain. Without aviation, our world would certainly not be as advanced as it is now. However, there’s always room for improvement and innovation. My passion for aviation grows daily as I read about the exciting developments that Advanced Air Mobility can bring. These advancements could improve many facets of life ranging from public health outcomes, disaster response, and ease of travel. I’m certain that NATA members will lead the way in many different technological developments and I’m incredibly proud to have supported the members as they prepare for this continued growth.