People in Aviation: September 2010

 - September 21, 2010, 9:02 AM

Hawker Beechcraft has made changes to its executive staff. Clive Prentiss, most recently director of business development for Marshall Aerospace, was named v-p and general manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) operations and global customer support. Peter Walker, previously the airframer's regional sales director for Southern Europe, has been promoted to vice president of Beechcraft sales for ­Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He was succeeded by Garett Jerde, who previously served as the regional sales director for piston aircraft sales in Europe. Ron Gunnarson was promoted from director of marketing to v-p of marketing and communications, and Russ Bartlett was named director, U.S. and international business development.

Bryan Burns has been named executive director of the Air Charter Safety Foundation. He succeeds Jacqueline Rosser, who has resumed her post as NATA's director of regulatory affairs.

Gulfstream has announced several executive promotions. Tarek Ragheb, division v-p for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Roger Sperry, division vice president for the South America and Far East territory, have been promoted to regional senior vice presidents for international sales. The airframer also named Randy Brown, most recently senior manager of production operations in Savannah, v-p and general manager of its Mexicali component facility. Shannon Taylor Iwanski was also promoted to director, initial phase procurement. Previously she was the senior manager of advanced procurement for the G650. 

Piper Aircraft has named parent company Imprimis Brunei's managing director Geoffrey Berger its fourth new chief executive in the past 13 months. He replaces Kevin Gould, who took the helm last November after John Becker was ousted. Becker took over from James Bass in June last year.

CHC Helicopter has named William Amelio, former president and CEO of the Lenovo Group, as CEO. He replaces Sylvain Allard, who recently retired. 

The Experimental Aircraft Association has selected Rod Hightower, CEO of St. Louis-based Public Safety Equipment, as its next president, succeeding Tom Poberezny, who will remain as chairman.

Rockwell Collins has named several new executives in its international and service solutions division. Scott Gunnufson was tapped as v-p and general manager, while LeAnn Ridgeway was appointed v-p and managing director for the Americas. Ken Estelle was chosen as senior director, business development.

Private aviation services provider FirstFlight has promoted Jeff Madtes, v-p of operations, to president. He replaces company owner and founder John Dow, who will continue as CEO. The Elmira, N.Y.-based company also named Walter Buser, most recently director of client services for Liberty Jet, director of business development.

MD Helicopters has appointed Christophe Nurit, formerly Bell Helicopter's marketing and sales director for the Middle East and Africa, as v-p of sales and marketing.

Key Equipment Finance has named Patti Ann Sullivan v-p for corporate aviation finance. She was previously director of business development and structured aviation finance for Aviation Resource Group International.

Aviation products and services provider Arinc has created a UK-based division to lead its operations in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Randy Pizzi, formerly v-p and managing director of the company's Asia-Pacific division, has been named v-p of the new division. Dave Poltorak, formerly v-p and managing director of Arinc's EMEA operations, has been named v-p of international operations. Jim Martin and Andy Hubbard were promoted to managing director in the company's Asia-Pacific and EMEA operations, respectively.

Jennifer Holmgren has retired as v-p and general manager of Honeywell subsidiary UOP's renewable energy and chemicals business. Jim Rekoske, former senior manager of catalysis research and development, has stepped into the role. 

Stuart Kupfer has been appointed to the newly created position of v-p of hospitality for Jet Aviation U.S. Previously he was v-p for hospitality and general manager at XJet World Services' FBO in Denver. 

David Ford has been named v-p of aircraft manufacturing and MRO at Erickson Air-Crane. He most recently served as general manager of Sikorsky Global Helicopter.

Burlington, Vt. FBO Heritage Aviation has promoted Vanda Crook from director of operations of its charter and aircraft management division, to v-p of operations, and has hired Mark Wise as v-p of maintenance services.

M7 Aerospace has named Gary Merrill v-p of quality assurance.

Ruag Business Aviation has named Ulrich Gehling, previously with Pilatus Aircraft, the new general manager of its Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany facility.

Bombardier Business Aircraft has promoted Chiko Kundi from sales account representative to manager of international pre-owned aircraft sales.

Jim Heasley has been promoted from maintenance manager to general manager of Cessna's Greensboro, N.C. Citation service center.

Robert Grant, general manager at Signature Flight Support's West Palm Beach facility, was elected for a two-year term as president of the Florida Aviation Trades Association. 

Ratan Tata, head of India's Tata group, was named chairman of Indian Rotorcraft, the joint venture between holding company Tata Sons and AgustaWestland.

Wichita-based avionics provider Mid-Continent Instruments has promoted ­Marissa Reddick from purchasing supervisor to purchasing manager.

Scott Fowler, previously chief marketing officer for Air Routing International, has joined general aviation fuel supplier The Hiller Group as northwest territory sales manager.

Awards & Honors

Veteran aviation journalist and long-time AIN contributor Mary Silitch has been selected as a 2010 inductee in the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame. Silitch, a 5,000-hour pilot, was the first woman editor-in-chief of a ­national aviation magazine, editing Private Pilot for seven years, then Professional Pilot. She started her aviation career at Flying, then was executive editor of Air Progress and worked for AOPA in a number of editorial roles. She received the NBAA Platinum Wing Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism ­Excellence in 2006. 

Final Flights

David Warren, 85, inventor of the flight data recorder, died on July 19 at a nursing home near Melbourne, Australia. The principal research scientist at the Australian Defense Science and Technology Organization's Aeronautical Research Laboratory for more than 30 years, Warren designed and constructed the world's first "black box" prototype, which soon became an indispensable tool for accident investigators. In recognition of his contributions to aviation safety, in 2008 Qantas named one of its new Airbus A380s in his honor.

Chris O'Callaghan, 51, AOPA's vice president of electronic media, died in a midair sailplane crash on August 4 in Uvalde, Texas. He served on the boards of the Soaring Society of America and the National Aeronautic Association, and was an active member of the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Society for many years. A competitor on the national and international levels, he had logged more than 6,000 hours in more than 30 different kinds of sailplane. On the day of his crash, he had just completed a contest circuit at the national championship and was returning to the airport when his sailplane collided with another. The other pilot was able to land his damaged aircraft.

Robert Denton, 67, a 38-year former Gulfstream Aerospace employee, died suddenly on June 30, while on vacation with his family in Cancun. Denton, who began his career with Gulfstream predecessor Grumman Aerospace, was a warranty manager who held the company's oldest active employee badge number when he left the company five years ago. The Savannah resident was employed by Rolls-Royce as a warranty manager at the time of his death.