Meridian Honors New Jersey Aviators into Hall of Fame

On Monday, October 1, 2019, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey held its 46th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner at the Fiesta Ballroom in Wood-Ridge, NJ. This tribute dinner honors local aviation pioneers and subsidizes the Hall of Fame and Museum, on Fred Wehran Drive in Teterboro, NJ. It is one of the museum’s biggest fund-raising events of the year.

Founded in 1972, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey preserves the Garden State’s distinguished, two-century aviation and space heritage. Men and women, whose outstanding aeronautical achievements have brought worldwide recognition to the state, are inducted into the Hall of Fame every year.

Meridian is a proud supporter of the museum and attends the Hall of Fame induction dinner every year. Ken Forester, Sr., who founded Meridian with Bob Hewitt back in 1946, was inducted in 2008. This year, the company filled a table of 10 with representatives from different departments, including the FBO, Charter, and Maintenance. The colleagues were there to support the inductees on their big night, and to enjoy an evening with their Teterboro Airport neighbors.

This event recognized four individuals, connected to New Jersey, who have each contributed to advancing human flight. You can read their bios below.

Congratulations to all of the 2019 Aviation Hall of Fame Inductees!

Charles “Chuck” Howard – Decorated Vietnam Army Helicopter combat, dual rated instructor and test pilot, 25 years of service to the Port Authority of NY/NJ, having retired as Chief Pilot of the helicopter unit with more than 19,000 flight hours. Enlisted PA, NY & NJ in the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Developed Regional Hospital Helipad Directory which was used as a national standard. Regional advisor for new hospital helipad planning. Developed helicopter paths for FAA charts. Developed in-flight training program for FAA Air Traffic Controllers. Coordinated multi-state 9/11 helicopter response. Served as Marine One Presidential Helicopter Unit Advisor. Interacted with CIA, FBI, DEA, FAA, NASA, Secret Service and others impacting multiple areas of operations. Transported many heads of state, high level political, military and cabinet staff members. NJAHOF Trustee and Wings & Wheels Co-Chair for several years.

Stephen Pope – A New Jersey resident his entire life, Steve began as an “airport kid,” attaining his pilot ratings at the minimum age and working as a refueler/line boy at airports, including Teterboro, while he was still a teenager. After a successful career at Aviation International News, a Midland Park, New Jersey based aviation publication, Steve joined the staff of Flying Magazine. His hard work and talent resulted in Steve being promoted to Editor-in-chief where he directly supervised the magazine’s staff of full time employees plus numerous freelance writers and photographers. Steve is also very dedicated to the aviation community as a whole: he is a trustee at the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, a Selection Committee Member for the Harrison Ford Legacy in Aviation Award, as well as a past Chairman of Aviation Expo. Steve has one seven Aerospace Journalist of the Year category awards and was named overall Aerospace Journalist of the Year in 2007 when the award was presented at the Paris Air Show. Steve has won the NBAA Gold Wing Journalism Award three times. He is also a Trustee for the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey.

Webster Todd – Lives in Oldwick, he learned to fly at Somerset in 1959. Constructed Princeton Airport 1965. Former President of Princeton Airways, was Special Assistant to Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and then Deputy Special Assistant to President Richard Nixon, Chairman of the National Transportation Board (NTSB) 1977-78, Vice-President Public Affairs for ITR Airlines (d/b/a Frontier Commuter), Senior Vice President – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Has been a pilot for 60 years. Ratings include Certificated Flight Instructor CFII/MEI/SES. Sister is Christine Todd Whitman, former NJ Governor. In addition to spending his entire career in the advancement of aviation and aviation safety, Webster has also been a visiting professor of Aviation at New Jersey universities as well as Ohio State University.

Peter Zaccagnino – Born in New Brunswick, NJ, earned his Undergraduate Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. One of his projects was restoring eight airplanes and building three others. He has flown over 23,000 hours in 260+ aircraft types, including one of his pigets, and tested over 670 aircraft, including 32 prototypes. Pete’s company manages corporate jets. 18 years of racing a Reno have included the finish line win, 2015 Jet Gold Champion, the 2013 Jet Gold Champion at 509 mph, and the fastest qualifying lap at 529 mph. In 2007, he became the Gold Champion in the Sport Class. He is also the owner of High-Performance Aircraft Group, performing flight test services for several manufacturers. Latest endeavors include aviation filming/production. He has produced and been involved with multiple Discovery Channel and Smithsonian Channel pieces and documentaries. Pete is also a retired professor of aerodynamics, meteorology and aviation history. Peter has also been for many years leading humanitarian efforts for our wounded warriors and spearheading flying doctors to provide medical care to Guatemalan orphanages, the Amazon, as well as remote portions of Peru.

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Lou Ramm Honored as “Master Mechanic”

Lou Ramm of Meridian is presented the Charles Taylor Award by Robert Thorson of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Lou Ramm, Meridian Air Charter’s Director of Quality Assurance, was awarded the prestigious Charles Taylor Award in a formal presentation on September 25 at Meridian’s HQ in Teterboro. Robert Thorson, FAA Safety Team Program Manager, presented Lou with the award while members of the Quality Assurance, Charter, and Maintenance teams were on hand along with Executive Management and Lou’s wife, JoAnne, to celebrate this amazing accomplishment.

The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award is named in honor of Mr. Charles Taylor, the first aviation mechanic in powered flight. Mr. Taylor served as the Wright brothers’ mechanic and is credited with designing and building the engine for their first successful aircraft. The award recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of senior mechanics. In order to be eligible, the recipient must hold a U.S. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mechanic or repairman certificate, and have 50 or more years of civil and military maintenance experience. 

Lou received his Aircraft and Powerplant (A&P) license in 1969. He then served in Army Aviation as a Crew Chief / DS Maintenance Platoon Supervisor. His experience has included both fixed and rotary wing aircraft in general aviation, both corporate and charter. He also holds an FAA Inspection Authorization. He joined Meridian full-time in 1997, after working the previous four years with Ken Forester, Sr. providing contract maintenance services. 

“I am very honored to receive this award,” Ramm said during the presentation. “It is very rewarding to be acknowledged for your career and the work you have done. It is also humbling to be in the company of other respected Meridian recipients, including Ken Forester, Sr., Vincent Mendola, and John Bahrenburg.”

“We are very proud of Lou,” said Ken Forester, Meridian CEO. “Lou has been a real asset to Meridian and he is deserving of this award. It’s great to see Lou honored for his years of service to both us and the aviation industry.”

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Meridian Supports the 35th Annual Teterboro Airport Community Benefit Fund Scholarship Golf Classic

The Meridian team poses on our sponsored hole. (LTR: Nehemias Camacho, Freddy Dressel, Chris Battaglia, and Kirk Stephen)

On Monday, September 23, Meridian sent a foursome to play in the 35th Annual Teterboro Airport Community Benefit Fund Scholarship Golf Classic, held at the Forsgate Country Club in Monroe, NJ.

The proceeds from the event go to the Teterboro Airport Community Benefit Fund, which contributes to several scholarships in aviation. Overall, the event generates about $12,000 a year for local high school graduates.

Meridian continued its support this year by sponsoring the 4th hole on the Banks course. The historic Banks Course was designed by Charles H. Banks, one of America’s celebrated “Golden Age” architects.

While our team didn’t take a place on the podium this year, we had a great time playing and participating in the festivities. Meridian is proud to show our continued support of the event and of our Teterboro community.

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