Ron Kaplan, former National Aviation Hall of Fame executive director, has informed the hall’s board of trustees of his resignation from the organization, effective July 31 but announced Tuesday.
He cited philosophical differences with the hall’s executive leadership.
“It’s a parting,” he said when asked about his reasons for resigning. “There are philosophical differences.”
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Kaplan, a Kettering resident, had served the Congressionally-chartered non-profit since 1998, including four years as executive director. Kaplan said he leaves his present position of enshrinement and outreach director to expand his aviation and media consulting service.
In a phone interview, Kaplan said he formally notified the board of his resignation Tuesday morning. But the date of his resignation was effective July 31, he said.
“We just have differences of philosophy on the direction of the organization and how it should be run,” Kaplan said. “It became evident that it would be best for both parties if I transitioned to other vistas.”
He declined to elaborate on his reasons, but he said he was “intimately involved” with the hall’s fundraising and presentation of its annual enshrinement event for much of 19 years. And he said he thought moving the enshrinement event from Dayton to Texas was a “prudent” move, given the challenges in raising money and finding a proper venue for the event in the Dayton area.
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“It made sense to spread the gospel, so to speak,” he said. “I don’t think anyone should have seen that as a surprising move.”
In December, the hall announced that its yearly enshrinement ceremony would move to Texas from Dayton, marking the first time the event would be hosted outside the Dayton region.
The move upset many. The enshrinement dinner will be Oct. 28 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Over his 19-year tenure with the hall, Kaplan said in he was responsible for more than $5 million in fundraising.
Messages seeking comment were left with Amy Spowart, executive director of the hall, and David Greer, a Dayton attorney who has represented the organization.
In a statement, Kaplan said he led the 2000 transformation of the hall’s annual enshrinement ceremony into a “broadcast-quality stage and video production widely acclaimed as America’s ‘Oscar night of aviation,’” his statement said.
Volunteer celebrity-pilot guests such as Harrison Ford, Nick Clooney, Dennis Quaid and Ted Williams, among others, have led the event.
Kaplan, a native of Columbus, has lived in the area since 1995 and lives today in Kettering. He is founder and director of the Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation and he has a consulting business, Reel Stuff Aviation Resources LLC.