When he was 15 years old, Justin Zgoda landed a job cleaning planes at a local flight school in exchange for flight time.
Now a sophomore at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus, he still juggles work at an aviation company at Daytona Beach International Airport with his classes. That is why he was happy to be chosen for the Eastern Aviation Fuels Inc./ Florida Aviation Business Association (FABA) Gary Steele Memorial Scholarship.
“It just helps ease some of the burden,” said Zgoda, who is studying aeronautical science with a business minor and hopes to become a corporate or charter pilot.
Scholarship recipients Zgoda and Courtney Marcil were able to personally meet some of their scholarship donors, when the Florida Aviation Business Association board held its Dec. 5 meeting at the College of Business at the Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach Campus.
“It’s about giving back to foster the next generation,” said Mike French, president of the FABA Board and a regional vice president for Signature Flight Support.
French said the aviation business is a dynamic industry, and it is important to have a constant flow of young, qualified and energetic individuals entering the field. It is also crucial to increase awareness of the opportunities in the aviation business industry, beyond working for a commercial airline.
The scholarship supports two students at the Daytona Beach Campus who are studying in the College of Aviation or the College of Business. The scholarship awards $12,000 over three years to one male and one female student.
Gary Steele, a longtime FABA supporter, passed away in 2012 at the age of 69. Steele served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era and was the airport manager for Charlotte County Airport Authority in Punta Gorda, Fla.
“The future of business aviation are young professionals. Tuition is the heaviest burden weighing on their shoulders today. Scholarships are powerful enough to impact their academic success and are the highest funding priority at Embry-Riddle today,” said Lyndse Costabile, director of development at Embry-Riddle.
Marcil, a junior studying business administration with a concentration in management, was the other Gary Steele Memorial Scholarship recipient. With plans to work in corporate aviation, she is working two jobs while focusing on her studies.
“Before I was cramming every free second with work to stay in school,” shared Marcil. “It really helped take the pressure off of me.”
Melanie Stawicki Azam
Development & Alumni Relations