People in Aviation: February 2020

 - February 3, 2020, 12:23 PM

GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) named Pat Sheedy to take the helm of its Ireland-based helicopter leasing business, Milestone Aviation Group, as CEO. He succeeds Greg Conlon, who recently was promoted to GECAS president and CEO. Sheedy steps into his new role with 19 years of international financial services experience, the majority of which spent with GE’s Aviation Risk Management business with a focus on emerging markets. He most recently was chief risk officer and head of portfolio and underwriting, and before that, he was senior v-p and regional risk manager for GECAS in Dubai.

FLYdocs named Carl Davis chief technology innovation officer. Davis has more than 10 years of experience as a chief technology officer including for Bibby Financial Services (Verus360 division) and analytics company DC-Storm (a Rakuten acquisition).

Dassault Aviation named Charles Wemaëre v-p of worldwide spares, responsible for spare parts and logistics efforts for the global Falcon fleet. Previously deputy manager, Wemaëre joined Dassault in 2011 as a spares sales director following an extensive career in the automotive industry.

Scott Meyer joined Flying Colours as v-p and general manager of its St. Louis, Missouri facility. Meyer brings nearly 30 years of international aerospace and aviation management experience to his new role, formerly serving as CEO of Comlux America in Indianapolis and as executive v-p of business development for the Comlux group.

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) named Alison Lynn v-p of communications. Most recently director of product communications for the American Chemistry Council, Lynn also has served on the staff of U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) as communications director and later as the spokesperson and director of member initiatives for the House Committee on Armed Services.

Safe Flight Instrument Corporation promoted Maria Ferrara to v-p of manufacturing. Ferrara, who has more than 20 years of manufacturing and aviation experience, joined Safe Flight in 2005 and most recently was director of quality assurance.

NBAA is adding to its board of directors two new members: Kate Fraser, who is head of safety for California-based eVTOL developer Joby Aviation, and Charlie Precourt, a former astronaut who is v-p and general manager of propulsion systems at Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. Before her work at Joby, Fraser led aviation policy for Uber and has worked with regulators and policymakers to pave a path for UAM and has served with the FAA’s Office of Accident Investigation and Prevention. Precourt previously was involved in four space flights and has held several management positions with NASA.

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) elected Collins Aerospace CEO Kelly Ortberg chairman of the board of governors for 2020. Kathy Warden, chairman, CEO, and president of Northrop Grumman, is the new vice chair.

RTCA added Nathan Boelkins, Michael Ingram, and Lorne Cass to its board of directors. Boelkins oversees the Commercial Avionics portfolio for Collins Aerospace; Ingram is v-p and general manager of Honeywell Aerospace Cockpit Systems; and Cass is v-p of operations and industry affairs for American Airlines.

The DuPage Airport Authority (DAA) appointed Mark Doles executive director. Holding the role of interim executive director since David Bird retired from the post earlier this year, Doles has served with DAA for more than 30 years in many roles, including as director of the DuPage Flight Center.

Hong Kong-based Metrojet Limited hired Kobus Swart as director of flight operations. Swart has more than 37 years in flight operations, training, quality, and safety, beginning with the South African Air Force, and later holding senior operational roles for TAG Aviation Asia and HongkongJet.

Metrojet Engineering Clark appointed Sarith Vaikuntanas general manager of its MRO in the Philippines, replacing Wesley Slate who has held the position since September 2018. He was previously executive v-p at Canada-based ZenithJet, spent three years with Jet Aviation, a decade at Bombardier, and started his career in the United Arab Emirates air force.

FlightSafety International promoted Matthew De Foe to manager of the company’s Paris Le Bourget training facility. A former business jet and airline pilot, De Foe has served with FlightSafety since 2008, beginning as an instructor on Bombardier jets in Tucson, Arizona, later becoming program manager, director of training and UAS business development, and ultimately assistant manager in Tucson and West Palm Beach, Florida.

FlightWorks appointed Mike Jefcoat as director of operations. Jefcoat has more than 25 years of Part 121 and 135 aviation experience, with a background with airline and flight school operations. In addition, FlightWorks named Kevin Bryant chief pilot. Bryant also has more than 25 years of aviation experience, including with Part 91, Part 121, and Part 135 companies.

West Star appointed Tommi Krell director of employee communications and component marketing for the company’s component repair business units, including Dallas Aeronautical Services, Flite Components, and Avant Aerospace. Krell, who will continue to direct corporate communication across West Star, joined the company earlier this year after serving as head of global MRO marketing for Jet Aviation.

Woolpert hired Vivek Khanna to serve as the firm’s Texas aviation design practice leader. Khanna has held multiple senior management and engineering roles in the aviation industry with a background in general aviation and commercial airports

Garrett Ondrus joined Skandia as regional sales manager, representing western U.S. and all of Canada. Ondrus previously held roles with Crane Aerospace and Electronics, along with Transdigm units AvtechTyee and Aero Fluids

Guardian Jet named Casey Crafton technical services manager. Crafton has more than a decade of aircraft maintenance experience as an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic, working on business, commercial, and general aviation jet engines, and most recently served as an assembly technician at Pratt & Whitney and as a lead aircraft technician at Embraer Executive Jet Services.

FlightSafety International promoted Richard Hallows to assistant manager of its Farnborough training facility. Hallows joined the Farnborough center in 2014 as an instructor in the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter training program, subsequently became project manager, program manager of Gulfstream G650 training in Farnborough, and most recently was assistant director of standards.

Air Service Basel named Benedict Staehelin head of customer relations and projects. Staehelin brings more than 20 years of commercial and business aviation experience to his new role. In addition, Pirmin Schärli is now maintenance lead. Formerly deputy maintenance manager, Schärli joined the company two years ago.

Western Aircraft promoted Beau Hawkins to avionics sales manager. Hawkins previously served as an avionics lead with Western Aircraft and before that was an avionics technician for Duncan Aviation

C&L Aerospace named Miguel Delgado regional sales manager for Latin America and the Caribbean. Delgado has more than 30 years of Latin American aviation parts sales experience.

AssuredPartners Aerospace added two aviation insurance executives: Doug Bontrager based in Indiana and Kris Parsons in Atlanta. Bontrager, who will focus on aerial applicators and other commercial aviation businesses, has a background as an insurance agent and aerial application pilot. Parsons, also a pilot, has 19 years of experience in aviation insurance.

Southern Cross Aircraft added Denise Alonso to its aircraft sales team. Alonso, who will represent Southern Cross in Brazil, brings 16 years of aviation sales experience to her new role, holding roles with charter fractional ownerships, airport real estate, and manufacturers.

Western Aircraft promoted Steve Myers to jet service manager and Steve Rozbora turboprop production manager. Myers has served with Western Aircraft for 13 years, holding roles previously as lead and team lead. Rozbora previously spent 21 years with Honeywell.

The Mason City Airport Commission appointed David Sims airport manager of Mason City Municipal Airport in Iowa. He succeeds Pamela Osgood, who is retiring after serving as airport manager for 17 years and has had a 29-year career with the airport commission. Sims has spent the past 13 years serving in airport operations at Mason City.

Peter Schmitz joined The Loomis Company as an aviation broker. Schmitz previously served as aviation practice leader at Lockton and the global CEO for Aon’s Aviation Specialty.

Daniel Klass was named assistant director for Dubuque Regional Airport in Iowa. Klass has more than 30 years of aviation experience, first working at the airport in 1987 with Crescent Aviation and then Dubuque Air Service before moving into Dubuque Regional Airport operations.

Rachel Hill joined the Aircraft Electronics Association as director of advertising. Hill, who has served as a contractor to AEA since March 2018, also spent nearly two decades with TAP Publishing’s Trade-A-Plane.

Final Flight

Murray Q. Smith, who made his mark on aviation journalism steering his Professional Pilot magazine for more than five decades, died on December 25. He was 89. “As you may know, he had to step down from his captain position due to medical reasons, although he still visited the office regularly. He will be truly missed around here,” the magazine said in announcing Smith’s passing. “We want to reaffirm our full commitment to this industry and assure you that Pro Pilot will carry on with Murray’s mission.”

Honored during the 9th annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards in 2012, Smith was well known within aviation circles as he remained deeply involved in the magazine that he launched 53 years ago. Aimed at issues affecting pilots, managers, and dispatchers, the magazine perhaps is best known for its reader surveys.

"For decades, Murray Smith and his team have brought well-deserved attention to the people and companies that represent the best of our industry,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “His boundless energy and insight will be missed.”

For Smith, flying was a life-long passion, and he held his ATP and CFI certificates until the day he died. Born in Chicago, Smith joined the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency after obtaining a degree in journalism from the University of Illinois and began his career as a technical writer, according to Airport Journals. But shortly after that, he joined the U.S. Navy and, among other things, was tasked with writing reports on evaluations of autopilots, flight directors, and weather radar, Airport Journals had reported. This was all experience that eventually would play into his venture a decade later as he founded Pro Pilot.

Smith is survived by his wife Marcia “Eleni,” who has been the assistant to the publisher and directed advertising sales for the magazine, along with his two sons, David and Alexander.