Santa Paula Times

Judy Phelps, owner of CP Aviation at Santa Paula Airport, was honored Friday by the National Association of Women Business Owners Ventura County Chapter BRAVO Innovator of the Year Award.

Judy Phelps honored with NAWBO
Bravo Innovator of the Year Award

March 25, 2015
Santa Paula News

Described as “an inspiration as a person, businesswoman and trendsetter,” Judy Phelps is used to high-flying awards and the latest for the Santa Paula Airport business-owner included a bravo: Phelps was honored as one of the recipients of the 2015 BRAVO Awards.

A nationally recognized flight instructor and pilot, Phelps was honored with the BRAVO Innovator of the Year Award by the National Association of Women Business Owners Ventura County Chapter (NAWBO VC). The March 20 award luncheon was held at Serra Center in Camarillo.

“Judy,” said friend Seana-Maria Sesma, who attended the awards, “is an inspiration as a person, businesswoman and trendsetter,” who has helped advance the image and the reality of women in aviation and their contributions.

When she accepted the award Sesma said Phelps told of her experiences as a woman aviator, including how her male student would be mistaken for —and acknowledged as — her instructor when they would exit the airplane following a lesson.

Such treatment made Phelps more determined to succeed, a resolve that led to her being honored as the 2011 National Certified Flight Instructor of the Year at the famed Oshkosh, Wisconsin air show.

The BRAVO is the annual signature awards event of the Ventura Chapter of NAWBO, a celebration that according to their website “shines the spotlight on outstanding business women of Ventura County, honoring them for their vision and perseverance, which is creating a brighter future for women business owners and women-led business ventures in our community.”

Phelps is owner-operator of CP Aviation at the famed Santa Paula Airport and the President of the Board of Directors of the Aviation Museum of Santa Paula; a Santa Paula resident, Phelps is also the incoming President of the Santa Paula Rotary Club.

According to NAWBO VC “As a certified flight instructor and aerobatic and emergency maneuver training instructor, Judy is committed to mentoring student pilots and working with them to achieve their training goals. She has helped design the Pilot Proficiency Class program,” that the female aviators organization, the Ninety-Nines have enrolled more than 3,000 participants, as well as several other classes that keep Phelps’ services in high demand. 

So devoted is Phelps in ensuring pilot safety that she often donates her classes to various aviation organizations. And, due to her steadfast support of aviation and women in flight, Phelps has not only been instrumental in expanding scholarship programs but also founded the Vicki Cruse Memorial Scholarship. The perpetual fund is allocated for continued training and Phelps often donates instruction honorariums from teaching Pilot Proficiency classes to the cause. 

“Judy has been instrumental in expanding scholarship programs, has donated many courses and is committed to helping pilots become safer and more proficient. She has been particularly effective in encouraging young women to fly and in educating the community on the positive economic impacts of aviation.”

Many women “tend to be risk adverse when learning to fly,” but Phelps has been “particularly effective in encouraging youth female pilots as their mentor and teacher,” instilling in them “the confidence and knowledge they need to succeed in the cockpit — and in life.”

Jennifer Dizon, President NAWBO CA, presented the award to Phelps, whose CP Aviation — co-piloted by her husband Clay Phelps — was selected the 2011 Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.

Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long was on hand to present a proclamation to Phelps, as were representatives of other elected officials.

Keynote Speaker was global business mentor and author Allison Maslan.

Others honored with annual awards were Woman Business Owners Karen Bain and Lisa Kudirka (Shave It, Ventura); Rising Star Deborah Yahner (Got Style?, Ventura); Community Advocate Charleen Morla, Marketing-Events Director, Ventura Chamber of Commerce; Education Advocate Diane Bustillos, Program Coordinator of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ventura County; NAWBO VC Member Lynnette Coverly (Coverly Professional Services, Ventura) and Young Woman Entrepreneur Ashley Pope (Spice-Topia, Ventura).