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.

NAAA marked the 24th anniversary of its leadership training program with the association’s 2019 leadership class in February. Including the 10 most recent graduates, more than 340 members have completed NAAA’s Leadership Training Program throughout its history.

Starting with the 2019 program year, Syngenta instituted several changes to the Leadership Training Program, opting to combine a majority of its association training programs into one large conference comprised of a small number of representatives from each agricultural stakeholder group for which Syngenta provides training. The new combined conference format has resulted in fewer slots being available to NAAA representatives. For several years NAAA had the good fortune to accept 16 members a year into the Leadership Training Program. NAAA sent 10 members to the 2019 Leadership At Its Best Conference and will have even fewer seats at the 2020 LAIB Conference. Syngenta granted NAAA five slots in the 2020 program.

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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Industry Future: The nominee must indicate intent of future involvement in the aerial application industry.
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.
  6. Application and Photo Submission: Applicants must complete an application to the program and submit a headshot or photo of themselves.
  7. Deadline: Due date for applications for the 2024 Leadership Training Program will be posted when details are available. 
Will be updated for the 2024 program
  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 2023 Syngenta Leadership At Its Best Conference.
  2. A nomination application shall be provided to each state association, the Support Committee and Canadian AAA. The application shall be returned to NAAA no later than July 1, 2021.
  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 2023 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.