INDIANAPOLIS (April 4, 2023) — Indianapolis native Captain Ryan Lynch, a Republic Airways commercial airline pilot, founder of the National Aviation Youth Resources (NAYR) Foundation and director of the Indianapolis/Indiana ACE Academy, will receive the TechPoint Foundation for Youth (TPF4Y) Bridge Builder Award during TechPoint’s 24th  annual Mira Awards gala honoring the best of tech in Indiana.

Also at the gala, the Foundation will remark on the organization’s activities and cap off its annual fundraising drive. The organization provides science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs to Hoosier youth. It is supported by several large donors, but also relies on the annual Mira drive to support its programming. Those wanting to donate early can do so here.

The Foundation’s Bridge Builder Award honors visionary leaders and organizations that are empowering Indiana’s underserved K-12 students by providing access to experiential learning opportunities in STEM and inspiring career exploration in these fields.

TechPoint Foundation for Youth President and CEO George Giltner said the NAYR Foundation’s impact has been immense.

The program has reached more than 16,000 students and helped more than 10,000 young people take steps towards fulfilling their aviation-related dreams. NAYR alumni are thriving in a variety of aviation careers, from gate agents and mechanics to air traffic controllers and engineers, at various corporations, 51 of them are Lynch’s co-workers as Republic Airways employees. Hundreds of others have enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering, Aviation and Math (STEAM) majors at Purdue University, Vincennes University, Indiana State University, Republic’s LIFT Academy and Ivy Tech Community College.

“The NAYR Foundation is an important partner in our efforts to address the growing demand for a skilled workforce in Indiana by providing education and career opportunities to historically underrepresented youth, and Captain Lynch has had a hand in each of the thousands of NAYR success stories,” Giltner said.

“But there’s more,” Giltner added. “Captain Lynch can’t seem to limit his influence and impact to the airfield. He’s also an entrepreneur, whose LiftOff Creamery ice cream store helps students land their first jobs and learn about customer service, professionalism and leadership.”

Another example of Lynch’s innovative approach to involving youth in career development is the NAYR Ace Academy which since 2019 has offered a “Night at the Hangar” where students spend the night at Vincennes Aviation Technology Center where they get extra time in flight simulators and build their aviation-related skills.

Testimonials from ACE Academy students further illustrate the program’s impact.

Andre Craig, now pursuing a flight technology degree at Purdue University, said the ACE Academy “was a really great experience for me. It allowed me to see the ins and outs of the aviation world and really solidified my passion for flying. The Academy was really well organized, and they planned out the week in such a way that I learned a lot, but there were plenty of exciting things mixed into the day as well so it didn’t feel at all like a class lecture. At the end of the week the entire group is allowed to take control of an aircraft during mid-flight. This was not only my favorite part of the ACE experience, but it is also the topic I chose to write about on my college acceptance essay that allowed me to attend Purdue University. Today I am a Junior in Aviation Management. I’m not completely sure I would be where I am today had I not have attended the ACE Academy.”

Olivia Hussey, an airframe mechanic at Rolls Royce, said the ACE Academy “gave me an opportunity to be productive during summer breaks while at the same time, Indy ACE Academy introduced me to my career in the aviation industry. Thanks to the ACE Academy’s tireless work, I and many other academy graduates are starting full-time careers throughout the aviation industry. I was able to meet and make many professional contacts who have guided me while making decisions on schooling and career options. If not for the Indy ACE Academy, I would never have learned about the endless career opportunities available for young students in the aviation industry.”

Lynch began flying airplanes at 14. At 21, he joined Republic Airways as a commercial pilot. In addition to his work with the NAYR and ACE Academy, he is also the Founding President of the Indianapolis Chapter of Women in Aviation, founder of the LiftOff Creamery (aviation themed ice cream shop) and serves on Board of Directors for TeenWorks Organization, Indiana Aviation Hall of Fame, Big Brothers Big Sisters Central Indiana, Anderson Preparatory Academy and Voice of the Victim Organization. He serves as a volunteer for the Indianapolis Chapter Pilot for Kids, Big Brothers Big Sisters Central Indiana and the National Organization Black Aerospace Professional.

About the National Aviation Youth Resources Foundation

The NAYR Foundation provides students a culmination of programming to help them explore their dreams and reach their goals through Science, Technology, Engineering, AVIATION, and Math for grades K-12. Learn more:

About TechPoint Foundation for Youth

TechPoint Foundation for Youth is the leader in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education efforts for the state of Indiana, and has been inspiring students through STEM programming since 2001. The Foundation ensures Indiana’s underserved, K-12 students have access to experiential learning opportunities that increase STEM knowledge and inspire STEM career exploration. Learn more: