First awarded in 1972, the prize recognizes a journalist or public relations professional in aviation who exhibits high standards of excellence.
Kennett, who retired from the Boeing Company in 2010, has more than four decades of experience as a public affairs official.
In his nearly thirty year tenure as a U.S. Air Force public affairs officer, Kennett held a variety of positions, including spokesman for U.S. forces in the United Kingdom, director of media relations for the Air Force and director of Defense Information at the Pentagon.
Kennett retired from the Air Force in 1996, and joined the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, which merged with Boeing shortly after.
After the merger, Kennett attained the position of vice president of communications for Boeing’s aircraft and missiles division in St. Louis. He held this position until 2002, after which he moved to the company’s Washington, D.C. office. In 2010, Kennett announced his retirement from Boeing.
Kennett dealt with high profile media situations including a multiple day commercial aircraft hijacking in Korea in 1969. He also handled calming fears of microwave hazards from an Air Force ballistic missile warning radar in 1979.
The award is named after Lauren “Deac” Lyman, a Pulitzer-prize winning aviation reporter for the New York Times, turned public relations executive with United Aircraft.