SAM Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Event Honoring Industry Leaders

Museum names classroom after long-time CLT Aviation Director Jerry Orr; Honors retired US Airways Executive Terri Pope and former NC Congressman Robin Hayes

Pictured, from left to right: Event Co-Chair and retired US Airways Executive Terri Pope, long-time CLT Aviation Director Jerry Orr, Event Co-Chair and former NC Congressman Robin Hayes, SAM Board Chair Tracy Montross, and SAM President Stephen Saucier

April 13, 2018
For Immediate Release

Charlotte, N.C. – In recognition of the Sullenberger Aviation Museum’s 25th anniversary, 250 leaders from across the Charlotte region attended a reception last night to celebrate the Museum’s mission and important milestone, and to honor the contributions of three individuals whose careers deeply influenced the aviation and aerospace industries in the Carolinas – retired US Airways Executive Terri Pope, former Congressman Robin Hayes, and long-time Aviation Director Jerry Orr.

Read the Event Summary Report (PDF)

More than 35 corporate sponsors contributed to the event and raised significant resources for the Museum’s STEM educational programming and collection preservation, including American Airlines, UTC Aerospace Systems, Experience to Lead, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Curtiss-Wright, Airbus, Aviation Institutes of Maintenance, and many others from across the Carolinas. The Museum celebrates this anniversary at a time when aviation and aerospace industries are booming in the Carolinas. With Charlotte-Douglas International Airport ranking as the sixth busiest airport in the world, and with Price Waterhouse Cooper’s ranking of North Carolina as the fourth most attractive state in the country for aerospace manufacturing, the Sullenberger Aviation Museum is destined to serve these partners in Aviation and Aerospace technologies and services, while inspiring the next generation of aviators and engineers.

“For 25 years, the Sullenberger Aviation Museum has been telling the stories of the people who have shaped the region’s aviation heritage, while working to inspire future generations to write aviation’s next chapter,” said Stephen Saucier, President of the Sullenberger Aviation Museum. “With the projected growth of the aerospace and aviation industries in the Carolinas, we know the Museum has an important role to play in supporting this workforce pipeline. Together with our partners, the Museum is committed to inspiring future generations through quality, STEM-based educational programming, guided-tours for schools, week-long summer camps, and its successful Girls STEM program for middle-schoolers.

As the Museum celebrates its history, we now look to our future as we become an essential resource for industry, educators and families to help ensure North Carolina remains First in Flight.”

Honorary Event Co-Chairs Terri Pope and Robin Hayes were recognized for their career contributions to the aviation and aerospace industries. As Vice President of Hub Operations for American Airlines, Terri Pope led all aspects of American’s second-largest hub and one of the country’s busiest commercial airports. Pope began her career with Air Kentucky Airlines and worked her way up through various management roles with US Airways before becoming the first female Hub leader for US Airways in 2000. After a celebrated career as a beloved leader of American Airlines, she retired in 2017. Former Congressman Robin Hayes (NC 8th District) spent his career as a public servant in the U.S. House of Representatives and North Carolina General Assembly, where served as an essential advocate for our men and women in uniform, and promoted economic development of the aviation and aerospace sectors in North Carolina. Congressman Hayes serves as President of the Cannon Foundation and on the Board of the US Air Force Academy, USO of North Carolina, and many other charitable organizations. Hayes is also a pilot with both private and commercial licenses. Throughout their careers, Terri Pope and Robin Hayes have been inspiring servant leaders and tremendous advocates for the growth of Charlotte Douglas International Airport and those employed by the aviation and aerospace industries. The Sullenberger Aviation Museum celebrated their service to the community and support for the Museum with a tribute and recognition at the event, while surrounded by their friends and families.

Long-time CLT Aviation Director Jerry Orr was surprised on Thursday night with an honor by the Sullenberger Aviation Museum and the naming of the Museum’s STEM classroom after Jerry Orr. Orr served as Aviation Director at Charlotte Douglas International Airport between 1989 and 2013, and led the Airport through a transformation to become the nation’s sixth busiest Airport. Today, Charlotte Douglas International Airport serves as the second-largest hub for the world’s largest airline, American Airlines, with more than 47 million passengers each year. Much of this success is owed to Jerry Orr and his vision to ensure CLT remained the most highly utilized, efficient and cost effective Airport in the world. The Museum presented Jerry Orr with a plaque in his honor that will remain in the “Jerry Orr Classroom” for thousands of STEM students to admire and respect each year.

For pictures from the event, visit this link:

About Sullenberger Aviation Museum

The Sullenberger Aviation Museum is Charlotte’s most uplifting destination. Be inspired by the everyday heroism of flight, learn about the science of aviation and its importance to our region, and experience the living history of flying through a wide variety of artifacts and aircraft. For more visit

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