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LAKELAND, FL: The Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) is thrilled to announce that Eric Crump has been named the organization’s new Executive Director commencing June 1, 2022.

Crump, a lifelong lover of all things aviation and aerospace, opened the Polk State College Aerospace program in 2012. Since its inception, he has served as its Director and has grown the program from one degree with nine students to four degrees with almost 300 total students. Crump was instrumental in helping Polk State College become the first public college in Florida to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Sciences. Prior to his work at Polk State College, Crump served as Aviation Content Manager and Chief Instructor for Gleim Publications, as Chief Ground Instructor for Middle Tennessee State University, and as a corporate pilot. He is a long-time teacher, flight instructor, curriculum designer, and business developer. 

Crump is an active member of the FAA Airmen Certification Standards Working Group, which is charged with advising the FAA on updates and upgrades to the airmen testing system. He also co-chairs the Central Florida Aerospace Education Consortium, the industry advisory board responsible for providing guidance and support to Polk State Aerospace, the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, and Traviss Technical College.

Rick Garcia, President/CEO of Gulf Coast Avionics, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Aerospace Center for Excellence said, “The Aerospace Center for Excellence will benefit tremendously from Eric’s talents and we are certain he will take ACE to the next level in educating our future aviators.”

Gene Conrad, President and CEO of SUN ‘n FUN and ACE, stated “Over the last ten years, as the former airport director of Lakeland Linder International Airport, I’ve had the opportunity to watch Eric build the aerospace program at Polk State College into the robust aerospace educational institution it is today. Eric is a dynamic, passionate aviation professional and educator and we are extremely fortunate to have him join our ACE team.”

Having worked at the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo as an exhibitor, sponsor, and volunteer since 2008, Eric is well prepared to acclimate into this organization and to effect further growth and development for our aerospace education programs. 

When asked his thoughts on this new opportunity, Eric stated, “I am honored to be asked to join this organization. I have known and worked with this team for many years on countless collaborative projects. I have no doubt that, together, we will be able to build on the outstanding position this organization is in and propel it even further. We have an incredible opportunity to make a lasting impression on thousands of young people. I’m ready to get to work!”

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