Wood-Ridge, NJ – On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey held its 43rd Annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner at the Fiesta Ballroom in Wood-Ridge, NJ. This tribute dinner honors local aviation pioneers and financially supports the hall of fame and museum, located 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 is dedicated to the preservation of 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 enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Meridian is a proud supporter of the museum, and representatives of the company enjoy attending the induction dinner every year. Ken Forester, Sr., who founded Meridian with Bob Hewitt back in 1946, was himself inducted into the hall of fame in 2008. His son and Meridian CEO, Ken Forester, Jr., was among those who attended the ceremony for the company.
This event recognized three individuals who are connected to New Jersey and who have each uniquely contributed to the advancement of human flight.
The 2016 NJ Hall of Fame Inductees were:
Robert J. Cenker (1948 – )
Born near Uniontown, Pennsylvania Mr. Cenker has lived in East Windsor for the last 40 years. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers. He is an Associate Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, belongs to the Association of Space Explorers, and is a registered Professional Engineer. He is also a member of the engineering honorary society, Tau Beta Pi, and the aerospace engineering society Sigma Gamma Tau.
After receiving his MS from Penn State in 1973, Cenker was employed at RCA’s Astro Electronics Division in East Windsor. There he worked on the new field of commercial communications satellites, returned to college at Rutgers for his MS in Electrical Engineering, and became a manager in 1980. He held management positions overseeing the design of several satellites, the last being the Satcom Ku program, for which he was the Manager of Systems Engineering.
It was from this position that Cenker was selected by RCA and NASA to fly as an astronaut on the space shuttle Columbia for the launch/deployment of the Satcom Ku1 spacecraft on Space Shuttle Mission 61-C in 1986. During this flight, Mr. Cenker traveled over 2 million miles in 96 orbits and spent 146 hours in space. Cenker left RCA in 1990 and has since been consulting with various firms in the areas of spacecraft design, assembly, flight operations, and micro-gravity research.
Janine K. Iannarelli (1961 – )
Born in Fair Lawn, Iannarelli graduated from Montclair State University in 1983 earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree with a major in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Iannarelli joined Amstat Corporation in 1983 as an Account Executive/Market Researcher operating exclusively in the business aviation industry. In 1984, she joined Aerosmith/Penny, Inc., an international business aircraft dealer specializing corporate jet sales, where she became Vice President of Sales & Marketing. In 1997, Iannarelli founded Par Avion Ltd., an international jet brokerage and consultancy firm based in Houston with an office in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
With over 30 years of experience, Iannarelli is considered a pioneer among women in business aviation. She is a highly-regarded “industry icon” and business aviation advocate. Her extensive experience selling Dassault jets has earned her the nickname “The Falcon Lady.” The Fort Worth Business Press named Iannarelli a “Great Woman of Texas” in 2011. She appeared on the cover of the November/December 2013 issue of Aviation for Women Magazine. Iannarelli was named among four finalists for the 2015 Texas Business Woman of the Year Award by the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas and a 2016 Woman on the Move by Texas Executive Women.
In 2014, Iannarelli was appointed to the Governor of Texas’s Aerospace and Aviation Advisory Committee and named presiding officer in 2016. She is a member of and volunteer with European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and Women in Aviation, International. She supports charities that benefit children and animals. As a sought-after speaker and mentor to youth and women’s organizations, she often shares insights on career development, entrepreneurship, and perseverance.
William McE. Miller, Jr. (1926 – )
A longtime resident of Princeton, Miller was born in Iran to missionary parents. His abiding passion for aviation began early in childhood. At 18 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a Naval Aviator during the immediate post-war period. Miller flew Grumman F-4U Corsair fighters off the carrier U.S.S. Kearsarge and from the Naval Air Station in Willow Grove, PA.
After earning a Masters at Princeton Theological Seminary he was employed in international Christian missions’ work, as well as projects involving Australian Aboriginal art until 1967 when he was asked to lead a start-up aviation technology company named Aereon. Aereon was well-known in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s for its efforts to develop a commercially viable “Aerobody,” a trail-blazing, cargo-carrying hybrid of the rigid airship and the airplane. In 1973 a book by New Yorker magazine writer John McPhee, “The Deltoid Pumpkinseed,” popularized the company’s efforts to test small-scale models of the aerobody and put it into series production as the “DYNAIRSHIP.”
While under Miller’s multi-decade leadership, Aereon successfully pursued Project Tiger, the construction and flight testing of a piloted prototype aerobody, the Aereon 26. The company also developed the WASP (Wide Aperture Surveillance Platform), and conducted DynASTOL contract research on a military version of the aerobody for the defense department. In the 21st century, several large defense contractors announced aerobody projects of their own thus vindicating Miller’s long time dedication to the concept.
One of his alma maters, McCallie School, gave Miller its 50 years Distinguished Service Award in 1994.