The NAAA/Syngenta Leadership Training Program’s goal is to develop strong, knowledgeable leadership in the agricultural aviation industry. It is one of NAAA’s most valuable and rewarding initiatives.

The program includes three days of intensive training that enables its participants to clearly communicate the important roles aerial application plays in the production of our country’s agricultural products to the public, media and government. The program has been offered by NAAA and Syngenta Crop Protection Inc. (formerly Zeneca Agricultural Products) since 1995 and has greatly benefitted the association, NAAA members and the agricultural aviation industry by helping individual members strengthen their professionalism, increase their confidence and augment their leadership skills.

The NAAA/Syngenta Leadership Training Program—also known by Syngenta as Leadership at Its Best—teaches participants how to effectively communicate with the public, media and government, and use those tools to improve the image of aerial application and serve as strong industry leaders. The training also involves teaching techniques to more effectively manage an aerial application business, and to more effectively serve as a leader while serving industry organizations, such as NAAA and state agricultural aviation associations.

The leadership training program has been educating ag pilots for nearly 30 years and more than 400 members have completed the NAAA/Syngenta Leadership Training Program throughout its history.

If you are interested in participating in a future Leadership Training Program, please contact your state or regional executive director or the appropriate sponsoring organization to request an application. Each state/regional agricultural aviation association, the Canadian Aerial Applicators Association and NAAA Support Committee may nominate one candidate per year to represent NAAA and the agricultural aviation industry at the Syngenta Leadership At Its Best Conference.

  1. Deadline & 2025 Program Slots: July 15, 2024 (for Feb. 3-6, 2025 program). NAAA will have four seats on Syngenta’s Leadership At Its Best Program (due to NAAA & NAAREF Board Meetings taking place in Canada in Feb. 2025). Contact Lindsay Barber or your state/regional director for link to apply.
  2. Industry Involvement: The nominee must be involved in an agricultural aviation business or a related allied industry organization as deemed appropriate by the nominating organization.
  3. Leadership Involvement: The nominee must have leadership experience developed from past involvement in regional or state industry associations, community service involvement, and/or school or professional organizations.
  4. Industry Future: The nominee must indicate intent of future involvement in the aerial application industry.
  5. Commitment: Syngenta is also interested in candidates who are at a “stage in life where they can be committed to being active and engaged in advocacy over an extended period (4+ years) and have the available time and desire to do so.”
  6. NAAA Membership: The nominee must be a member of the appropriate state/regional agricultural aviation association and NAAA in the applicant’s own right. Acceptable membership categories that a Leadership Training candidate could come from include: NAAA Operators, Pilots, Affiliated Operators, Support, International Members (in the case of Canadian AAA), Allied Industry Members and Affiliated Allied Industry Members, and State/Regional Organizations.
  7. Application and Photo Submission: Applicants must complete an application to the program and submit a headshot or photo of themselves.
2025 Selection Process
  1. Each state/regional agricultural aviation association, the Canadian AAA and NAAA Support Committee shall have the opportunity to nominate one individual to participate as a representative of NAAA and the agricultural aviation industry in the 2025 Syngenta Leadership At Its Best Conference (LAIB).
  2. A nomination application shall be provided to each state association, the Support Committee and Canadian AAA. The application deadline is July 15, 2024.
  3. A selection committee of five, determined by the NAAA President, shall be provided with nomination information and a ballot listing all individuals nominated. Each committee member shall independently rank every candidate from those nominated. The applicants receiving the most votes will be selected as NAAA’s participants in the 2025 LAIB Conference.

NAAA has no control over who gets nominated for the Leadership Training Program; each sponsoring organization determines its own leadership candidate, if any.