Fredrika Ballard, founder and owner of Fly Lugu Flight School, one of BusinessWest’s Women of Impact for 2023, was one of three people who died tragically in a plane crash in Leyden, at the Greenfield line, on Jan. 14.
The others killed were William Hampton, a flight instructor, and Chad Davidson, a student pilot.
Their deaths sent shock waves through the region, its business community, and all of us here at BusinessWest, who, in a short time, came to know Ballard as the epitome of the program created by those at the magazine to recognize women who are making a difference in this region.
Ballard, a flyer since her youth and a true entrepreneurial spirit, brought both of those qualities together in Fly Lugu, a name whose origins could be traced to something her father told her about how, when it came to the yoke of a plane, when you look up, you go up — LUGU.
Ballard brought that sentiment not just to flying, but to life in general. To move forward, she said, one had to look up, be positive, and move with confidence.
She did all of that, and she inspired others to do so as well, again, not just with flying, but with their lives and careers.
BusinessWest created its Women of Impact program, and chose that name, not simply to honor successful businesswomen, although several of them have been recognized. It was created to honor women who stand out, women who are true leaders, women who are mentors to others, women who inspire those around them to set a higher bar — in their work and in their lives — and then clear that bar. Women whom others consider powerful forces in their lives.
Ballard was all of these things and more, and this is why she epitomizes that phrase Woman of Impact. She was a success in business and a true entrepreneur, but she was also a teacher, a mentor, and an inspiration.