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Fueling partners award $30,000 in scholarship funds to support future of business aviation

ORLANDO, Fla. / October 18, 2022 / AVIATION NEWS – Sheltair Aviation, a leading aviation services company, and Avfuel Corporation, a leading global supplier of aviation fuel and services, awarded six business aviation enthusiasts with scholarship funds as part of its inaugural scholarship class.

This year’s recipients include Isabella Faba of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Valarie Meyer of Carbondale, Illinois; Ashleigh Suter of Bartow, Florida; Oscar Hess of Poynette, Wisconsin; Samuel Barnes of Arcadia, California; and Daniel Ruiz Jimenez of Port Orange, Florida.

The Sheltair & Avfuel: Future Takes Flight Scholarship Program awarded each of these recipients with $5,000 to use toward furthering their aviation education within the business aviation sector. The companies awarded two scholarships in each of the following three categories: learning to fly or advanced pilot ratings; aviation technicians; and continuing education.

By splitting the scholarship funds across three key categories, Sheltair and Avfuel seek to support advancement throughout a broad scope of educational opportunities within business aviation.

Lisa Holland, Sheltair’s president, said: “The Future Takes Flight Scholarship Program’s aim is to re-invest in the aviation community—a community we love and about which we are deeply passionate. It is a privilege to be able to provide meaningful financial support to aviators pursuing a greater commitment to business aviation. We’re giving back to the industry that has given us everything and congratulate this year’s recipients! The applicant pool was even greater than we could have imagined; these aviators are to be commended for their dedication, resilience and vision.”

Joel Hirst, Avfuel’s senior vice president of sales, said: “This scholarship program is really an investment in the marketplace that has allowed our two companies to thrive. It’s our way to celebrate business aviation while also looking to the future. After reading through this year’s impressive collection of applications, I can tell you with confidence the future of business aviation is bright. We wish all applicants the best of luck in their aviation endeavors and send a hearty congratulations to the six recipients of the inaugural Future Takes Flight Scholarship Program!”   

The next round of applications will be made available in December with a June 1 deadline. A team of Avfuel and Sheltair executives will then evaluate the applications to select 2023’s six recipients based on essay submissions and with special consideration given to those facing financial hardship. The scholarship recipients will be notified in September and announced at NBAA-BACE 2023.

This year’s recipients represent a holistic approach to business aviation support with varied goals and aspirations.

Isabella Faba, Learning to Fly or Advanced Pilot Ratings: Faba will use her scholarship money to finish her instrument rating and immediately pursue her commercial training.

“Since I found my passion for aviation, I have had my ambitions set on flying in the business and charter aviation industry,” said Faba. “My personal spontaneity falls in line with that of the schedule of many private/charter operations …. I also value the more personal relationship a pilot is able to build with clients. I am full of gratitude and appreciation for this opportunity to continue pursuing my passion!”

Valarie Meyer

Valarie Meyer, Learning to Fly or Advanced Pilot Ratings: Similarly, Meyer will use her scholarship funds to earn her commercial pilot certificate.

“After completing [my] ratings, I aim to help female aviators excel by supporting them as a flight instructor,” said Meyer. “From being too short to reach the rudder pedals, to being the only woman on the radio, training can sometimes be discouraging. This funding would allow me to … help women overcome these barriers. I [also] aspire to share my passion with fellow aviators by offering reduced-cost flight instruction. I feel extremely honored to be a recipient of the Avfuel and Sheltair Learning to Fly Scholarship.”

Ashleigh Suter, Aviation Technicians: Suter will use her scholarship to complete her A&P exams, as well as acquire the necessary tools and materials to hone her skills.

Growing up, you could find Suter on the SUN ‘n FUN Campus and Lakeland Linder Airport. She said, “[I would spend] my days after school obsessed with trying to learn everything I could about aviation … from the EAA volunteers. What does this scholarship mean to me? A chance to finally get some footing in this industry I love so much. Not only will it help me put all my focus into passing my final A&P exams, but such focus will help me become a better and safer A&P …”

Oscar Hess, Aviation Technicians: Hess will use his scholarship funds to pay for tuition at Madison Area Technical College. Upon graduation, Hess intends to transfer his credits to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to earn a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering.

“Aviation is my passion, whether it is while I am flying an aircraft, or working on the avionics/mechanics of an aircraft,” said Hess. “My dream someday is to redesign World War II aircraft using modern technology, and use my design to build these aircraft. The high cost of education causes apprehension for a lot of people when they are thinking about choosing an aviation career. This scholarship removed any concerns I might have ever had, and gave me the confidence to say that I am on the right path, and this goal is absolutely achievable.”

Samuel Barnes, Continuing Education: Barnes plans to use his scholarship to fund his education at Southern Illinois University Carbondale where he’ll pursue an accelerated bachelor’s degree in aviation management.

“My ultimate goal is to be the general manager of an FBO,” said Barnes. “As a student pilot, I believe that an FBO should cater to Part 61 flight schools just as much as it does to Part 135/Part 91 business aviation operations. Our industry is suffering from a pilot shortage, and I would like to do my part in relieving that by creating a welcoming environment for flight schools. I am honored to be trusted as a steward of the future of general aviation. Thanks to Avfuel and Sheltair, I’ll be able to complete my education debt-free.”

Daniel Ruiz-Jimenez

Daniel Ruiz Jimenez, Continuing Education: Ruiz Jimenez will use his scholarship to pursue an education in aviation maintenance administration. Ultimately, he aspires to own a general aviation maintenance repair shop and sell aircraft as a broker.

“I want to pursue a career in general aviation because [it] is the integrated spirit of freedom of what America stands for,” said Ruiz Jimenez. “Words cannot describe how grateful my parents and I are for me to be selected for this year’s Continuing Education scholarship. With an administration education, private pilot flight experience, and my A&P certificate I will obtain by the end of this May, I will have the foundation necessary to build a business and be a future leader in the aviation industry.”


Avfuel provides fuel and services—including sustainable fuel and initiatives—to the global aviation industry and is the leading independent supplier in the United States. Established as a supply and logistics company more than 45 years ago, Avfuel is core competent in every aspect that surrounds the delivery of fuel—from refinery to wingtip. Avfuel combines global access with personalized service throughout a fueling network of more than 3,000 locations worldwide and 650+ Avfuel-branded FBOs. Our 100% dedication to aviation demonstrates our passion and commitment to a global community that prospers on the movement of goods and services around the world.


Sheltair is a family-owned company that enjoys a national reputation for its superior customer focus and service-driven corporate culture. Founded in 1963 by Jerry Holland, father of current Sheltair President Lisa Holland, it is the nation’s largest privately-owned aviation network, proudly operating 14 award-winning FBOs and a portfolio of over 4.0 million square feet of aviation-related properties across the country.


Avfuel Corporation: Marci Ammerman, Vice President Marketing, 734-663-6466, [email protected],,,,,

Sheltair: David Buritica, Director of Sales and Marketing, 954-558-0638, [email protected],,,,,