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Tuesday, 24 May, 2022

NATA Promotes DeBerry to COO and Huggard to VP

Washington, DC, May 24, 2022 –  The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is pleased to announce key leadership changes. 

Keith DeBerry has been named Chief Operating Officer, overseeing NATA’s activities relating to safety education development and member outreach, as well as the day-to-day operation of the Association. Since joining the NATA staff in January 2020, DeBerry has served as NATA’s Senior Vice President of Safety and Education, Senior Advisor of Regulatory Affairs (Maintenance), and liaison for its Aircraft Maintenance and Systems Technology Committee. 

DeBerry will assume the COO role from Jason Miller, who will continue to serve NATA as Chief Financial Officer.  

“The NATA Board thanks Jason Miller for taking on the additional role of COO in early 2020 and is thrilled to add Keith’s vast industry expertise and operational experience in leveraging organizational efficiencies to the leadership team,” stated NATA President and CEO Timothy Obitts. “Keith is well-respected in our organization and within the industry. We look forward to his guidance as we continue to grow our team and build a member-driven internal culture to ensure we are delivering the best member experience possible.” 

Before joining NATA, DeBerry served as the FAA’s Academy Director. Additionally, DeBerry led the Regulatory Standards Training Division, where he was responsible for providing the FAA’s aviation safety inspectors and engineers technical training and managed the Academy’s flight program. 

Throughout his 22-year federal career, DeBerry gained extensive experience leading, directing, and managing aviation safety oversight activities – preparing him for success in his role as the Supervisory Principal Maintenance Inspector for UPS Airlines, where he oversaw a workforce charged with Congressional mandated safety oversight of UPS Airlines’ 300 aircraft fleet. 

NATA also announced that Karen Huggard has been promoted to Vice President of Government Affairs. Huggard will continue to lead NATA’s advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., and strengthen stakeholder partnerships, collaborating on areas of common ground to protect NATA members from onerous regulation, advocate for sound policy, and advance the industry’s future on issues including environmental sustainability, an unleaded aviation fuel solution, and PFAS remediation. 

“Karen’s experience as a strategic communicator enables the Association to advance policy goals that support the business interests of our members,” stated NATA President and CEO Timothy Obitts. “She puts our members first – advancing efforts to safeguard our member businesses’ present success while charting the course for the industry’s future growth.” 

Huggard is currently focusing on the upcoming FAA Reauthorization, identifying and developing strategies to foster innovative growth, modernize infrastructure, increase sustainability, prioritize safety, strengthen the aviation workforce, and increase efficiency—while advocating for sufficient resources to equip the Agency to maintain a safe and secure NAS that supports a thriving business aviation industry. 

After beginning her career in public policy on Capitol Hill, Huggard spent 15 years as a strategic communications professional in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Virginia. She earned a B.A. in political science from Wheaton College in Illinois. 

For general press inquiries, contact Shannon Chambers at 703-298-1347 or

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been the voice of aviation business for more than 80 years. Representing nearly 3,700 aviation businesses, NATA’s member companies provide a broad range of services to general aviation, the airlines and the military and NATA serves as the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.