People in Aviation: January 2009

 - December 31, 2008, 8:08 AM

San Antonio-based aerospace maintenance, repair and manufacturing company M7 Aerospace has named J.R. “Rick” Hundley to the position of president and CEO. Hundley succeeds Ron Frederick, who retired last month.

VLJ manufacturer Eclipse Aviation announced that Peg Billson has resigned as president and general manager of the company’s manufacturing division to pursue other career opportunities.

Tulsa, Okla.-based aerospace manufacturer Nordam announced several changes to its leadership structure. Bill Peacher has been named the company’s new CEO, succeeding CEO and chairman Ken Lackey, who will remain executive chairman, counsel and advisor. Ray Siegfried III was also elected Nordam’s vice chairman.
Steve Pack has been promoted from senior v-p for OEM manufacturing to COO of the manufacturing group. Hastings Siegfried will move from v-p and general manager to COO of the company’s transparency division, while Meredith Siegfried becomes COO of Nordam’s repair group. Dave Whitten, previously v-p of global marketing, is now the company’s v-p of marketing and program management.

International avionics supplier Free-Flight Systems, based in Waco, Texas, has been purchased by a new executive management team. Tim Taylor, former president and CEO of Elbit Systems of America, was named the company’s president and CEO. Robert Schneier, a strategic management consultant, was named COO, while John DeBusk, former v-p of engineering for EFW, was named v-p for engineering and product development. Taylor and Schneier were also named to the company’s board of directors.

Travel emergency medical provider MedAire has named Grant Jeffery its new CEO. He replaces James Williams, who will be taking on the newly created position
of COO.

Ariz.-based MRO and refurbishment specialist StandardAero has appointed Claude Chidiac to the position of v-p of business development for business aviation. Most recently, he was managing director for Grob Aerospace, and also served as v-p in Bombardier’s program management office.

Kenneth Dandy, Innotech-Execaire Aviation Group’s v-p and general manager for Western Canada, has retired after 44 years with the company. A past president of the Aerospace Industries Association of British Columbia, Dandy will remain active as a business aviation consultant.

Bombardier has named Wassim Saheb its business aircraft sales director for the Middle East. Previously he was sales director for ExecuJet Middle East.

Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services has hired Bede Rocks for the newly created position of director of business development-Australasia. Rocks has experience in many aspects of the industry, from OEMs to government regulation.

Nat Earp, formerly director of maintenance control for NetJets and Frontier Airlines, has joined maintenance tracking specialist Avtrak as director of quality and product development. The Littleton, Colo.-based company also announced that
Dan Carroll will manage its newly opened Northeastern regional office in Lowell, Mass.

Canadian-based aviation sales and support specialist Field Aviation has named Christophe Chollet to the position of director of sales. Most recently he was the sales and marketing director at Hutchinson Aerospace.

XL Insurance has promoted Christopher O’Gwen to chief underwriting officer for global aerospace. Before his appointment he was regional manager of XL Insurance’s U.S. aviation team.

Universal Avionics Systems has named Sam Slentz to the new position of chief technology director. Before joining the company, he worked for the U.S. Air Force, Boeing, a previous stint with Universal, and the FAA.

Gulfstream has promoted Jerry Fish to the company’s manager for the NetJets program. He previously served as the NetJets G200 maintenance coordinator. The Savannah-based airframer has also promoted Teresa Parham to manager for sales administration, worldwide sales. She was formerly lead sales administrator for key accounts–east, new aircraft sales.

The UK’s Oxford Airport has appointed Mike Sparrow its airport manager, replacing Doug Roberts, who retired after holding the position for six years.

After a 32-year career with the FAA, including the last eight years as head of the Office of Accident Investigation, Steven Wallace has joined the public relations firm of O’Neill and Associates, as senior aviation advisor in its Washington, D.C. office.

Vel Kovacevich has joined Illinois-based West Star Aviation’s interior modification sales team. Previously, he worked in the company’s contracts division, where he produced interior proposals for all of West Star’s facilities.

Private aviation solutions provider Avjet has hired Jon Conlon as a market analyst. Previously, he was the managing partner and senior equity strategist of a Washington, D.C.-based hedge fund, with a focus on both the commercial and business aviation markets.

Georgia-based Flight Display Systems has named David Oblinger to the position of general manager. Most recently he served as director of operations and resources for Silgan Plastics.

Stephen McGee has accepted the position of avionics manager with Denton, Texas-based US Avionics. 

Awards & Honors

Dassault technical director of certification Alain Picard, who oversaw the certification process for the Falcon 7X, received the French Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aerospace 2008 Award in honor of his “contribution to the development of aeronautics and especially the Falcon family.” Picard’s aerospace experience spans nearly 40 years.

Pilot and former flight attendant Sheila Mabbitt of Nashville, Tenn., was the recipient of AvFuel’s 2008 scholarship. She will receive $2,000 to further her aviation education.

The Helicopter Association International has begun announcing the winners of its 2009 awards, which will be presented next month at the association’s annual Heli-Expo trade show and exposition in Anaheim. The AgustaWestland Community Service Award recipient is David Nichols, M.D., owner, president, managing director, White Stone Family Practice, of White Stone, Va.; its Helicopter Maintenance Award recipient is Rich Higgins, helicopter crew chief for Cablevision Systems of Farmingdale, N.Y; and the winner of the 2009 Outstanding Certified Flight Instructor Award is Kevin Brandt, senior flight instructor at Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, Texas.

Women in Aviation International will induct five new members to its Pioneer Hall of Fame at its 20th annual conference next month in Atlanta: Jacqueline Cochran, first woman to break the sound barrier; Patricia Malone, for a 50-year career in pilot training; Ruth Nichols, holder of more then 35 women’s aviation records and founder of disaster relief service Relief Wings; Dawn Seymour, WWII pilot and the first woman accepted into the Civilian Pilot training program at Columbia University; and Anna Timofeyeva-Yegorova, a highly decorated WWII Soviet combat pilot.

Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame will induct four new members this year at a formal ceremony in May. Charles Luttman, a driving force in the formation of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute beginning in the 1950s; Thomas Lamb, founder of Lamb Airways, who contributed significantly to the exploration and development of the northern regions of Manitoba and the Arctic from his bases at The Pas, Thompson and Churchill; Barry Marsden, cofounder of fire-control aircraft operations provider Conair Aviation and MRO provider Cascade Aerospace; and philanthropist Stan Reynolds, who donated a collection of 66 airworthy vintage aircraft to the province of Alberta in 1986, to be followed this year  by an additional 25 aircraft, making the vintage aviation collection there one of the largest in Canada.