Future of Flight Foundation hires new executive director

The Future of Flight Foundation, which manages the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour on the Mukilteo side of Paine Field, has hired a new executive director to replace Barry Smith, the founding director who retired at the end of 2013. Bonnie Hilory will occupy the left seat starting Feb. 17, the foundation announced today.

Hilory has filled leadership roles at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, USS Missouri Memorial Association in Hawaii and the Northwest Association of Biomedical Research in Seattle.

Smith launched the foundation in 2003, and the center opened in 2005. In 2013, the center had a record 247,000 visitors.

Here’s the foundation’s news release:


Future of Flight Foundation Selects Non-Profit Leader as New Executive Director

Mukilteo, Wash – February 4, 2014 – The Future of Flight Foundation has hired Bonnie Hilory, who has a distinguished career leading non-profits and developing award-winning programs, as its new executive director. During her career, Ms. Hilory served as the director of education for the Museum of Flight where she developed the Aviation Learning Center. She also has served as the vice president of development with the USS Missouri Memorial Association in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and most recently as the interim executive director of the Northwest Association of Biomedical Research in Seattle, Washington. Ms. Hilory will take the helm at the Future of Flight effective February 17, 2014.

The Future of Flight Foundation began the search for a new executive director when Barry Smith announced his retirement effective the end of 2013. The Future of Flight Foundation, which Smith launched in December of 2003, became the contracted operator of Snohomish County’s Future of Flight Aviation Center and opened it to the public in 2005. Hilory will take over at a time when the Future of Flight Aviation Center &Boeing Tour enjoyed its best attendance and most profitable year ever, serving over 247,000 visitors in 2013.

“With Bonnie’s proven track record of successfully developing programs over her career, we expect her to take the Future of Flight to levels that will be unchallenged and put us on the map. We are fortunate that she has chosen to lead us as Executive Director,” said Visakan Ganeson, 2014 Future of Flight Foundation Board President and the executive director for International Education at Everett Community College.

“Bonnie brings a wealth of experience, energy and passion to her new position and we are extremely happy to have her as the next Future of Flight leader,” said Dan Rahkonen, Project Manager – KC-46 Tanker Program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, a past president of the Future of Flight Foundation and the chair of the executive search committee.

“I am thrilled to be part of the Future of Flight team and to work with such a dedicated board and talented staff,” said Hilory. “The commitment to STEM education, exhibits, and the visitor experience along with the opportunity to develop strong partnerships with Boeing and Snohomish County are what attracted me to this opportunity.”

The Future of Flight Aviation Center &Boeing Tour is one of Washington State’s premier visitor attractions and has a growing education program. It is a unique learning and interpretive facility designed to let visitors experience the marvel of commercial jet aviation and production.

Future of Flight Aviation Center &Boeing Tour, 8415 Paine Field Blvd., Mukilteo, WA 98275, 425-438-8100, www.futureofflight.org.

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