People in Aviation

 - June 1, 2022, 7:37 AM

Aircraft Component Repair named Dennis Suedkamp CEO. Suedkamp has more than 10 years of executive management and leadership experience including as president of Velocity Aerospace and most recently as president and CEO of Fastener Technology.

The Wichita Aero Club named Nicole Alexander to succeed Dave Franson as president. Franson, who retired June 1, has led the club since its founding in 2008 and has served in the industry since the early 1970s, holding roles with organizations including Cessna Aircraft, AlliedSignal Aerospace, Bombardier, and NBAA, among others. Alexander has 15 years of experience in both the private and public sector, serving as press secretary for then-Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and later heading up public affairs for Hawker Beechcraft. She most recently was v-p of marketing and communications for Wichita accounting firm AGH CPAs & Advisors.

King Aerospace appointed Greg Watson as COO. Watson brings more than two decades of aviation experience to King Aerospace, previously holding management roles with Limco Airepair, Collins Aerospace, Goodrich Landing Gear, and Safran. In addition, King Aerospace named Warren Orr chief people officer. Orr brings more than 30 years of human resources leadership experience to his new role, including holding positions with Berry Aviation and L2 Aviation as well as for non-aviation entities such as Hanger, Dell, IE Discovery, GO Executive Solutions, AT&T, and IKEA North America.

Atlantic Aviation named Dawud Crooms to the newly created executive team position of general counsel. Previously associate general counsel for 7-Eleven, Crooms has nearly a 15-year legal background in areas such as mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, commercial contracting, and international corporate law.

Signature Aviation appointed Derek DeCross as senior v-p of global customer engagement. DeCross most recently was senior v-p of global sales for IHG Hotels & Resorts, where he led sales initiatives for IHG’s portfolio of 17 brands and also represented the company as a member of the US Travel & Tourism Advisory Board, the Business Travel News Advisory Board, and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Board.

Gulfstream Aerospace promoted Scott Nelson to division v-p of North American sales. He is succeeding William McLeod, who is retiring after spending 40 years—his entire career—with Gulfstream. Nelson has served with Gulfstream since 2006, beginning as a financial analyst for new aircraft sales. He since has held a range of financial management roles, most recently as director of aircraft sales finance. Gulfstream also named Beth O’Neill regional v-p of sales for metropolitan New York. She succeeds Michael Swift, who was recently promoted to regional senior v-p of sales for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. O’Neill joins Gulfstream with more than 20 years of experience in aircraft financing, including as Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s director of corporate aircraft finance-northeast.

Argus International has brought John Eichten on board as senior v-p of consulting for the Denver firm’s Prism business. Eichten joins Argus with 38 years of industry experience, most recently holding sales, marketing, and business development positions with Aloft AeroArchitects.

Guardian Jet appointed Rafael Mugnaini as v-p for South America. Mugnaini has more than 20 years of experience in developing new markets, including with Brazilian trading company Comexport, TAM Aviação Executiva, and Embraer Executive Jets.

Southern Cross Aircraft promoted Andres Castillo to v-p for Latin America. Castillo joined the aircraft brokerage 10 years ago, has since relocated to the U.S., and has increased responsibilities and territories. Southern Cross also named Diego Garcia director of its newly created Surjet Management boutique management firm. Garcia has top leadership experience with JetKore and Volans Aircraft Management and has also served with Banyan Air Service.

CAE appointed Patrick Shanahan to its board of directors. Shanahan brings more than 30 years of defense experience to his new role, serving as acting U.S. secretary of defense in 2019 and as deputy secretary of defense from 2017 to 2019 as well as senior v-p for supply chain and operations at Boeing.

Todd Young was appointed as a non-executive member of the advisory board of Marsh Brothers Aviation. Young brings more than 35 years of experience in aviation, serving with Bombardier, De Havilland Canada, and most recently his own firm, Young Aerospace Group.

Blackhawk Aerospace president and CEO Jim Allmon was named to the Texas Aerospace and Aviation Advisory Committee, which advises on the attraction and retention of aviation business in the state. Allmon, who was appointed to a five-year term, founded Blackhawk in 1999 and before that was president and CEO of Aurora Aviation.

Jim Morris joined Bargate Murray as head of aviation. Morris has spent more than 31 years as a pilot and attorney, including flying a range of piston, turboprop, and jet aircraft over 10 years with the Royal Air Force.

Hartzell Propeller appointed Mitch Heaton as director of business development and new technology including the company’s programs involving advanced air mobility. Heaton brings experience leading strategy and business development across multiple industries to his new role, including as v-p of economic development for the Dayton (Ohio) Development Coalition and executive v-p of growth strategies for Woodard Development.

Precise Flight promoted Tyler Tuttle to director of engineering. Tuttle joined Precise Flight in 2019 and has more than 14 years of experience overseeing new product development, product quality assurance, and manufacturing innovation, also including with Nosler and Precision Castparts.

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) added Joan Serra as regulatory affairs manager for Europe and Megan Brien as manager of meetings and member engagement. Serra previously served as manager of regulatory affairs for Evelop Airlines and also has spent time as a graduate trainee with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and an economic regulatory framework intern with the International Civil Aviation Organization. Brien previously managed programs, events, and communications for the Association of Government Accountants and also has been a customer service manager for a manufacturing facility.

West Star Aviation promoted Jessie Melvin to become the first female lead aviation maintenance technician at its East Alton, Illinois facility. Melvin, who joined West Star in 2017 as an apprentice, will remain in the Bombardier department with responsibility for Global projects. In addition, West Star promoted Jeff Yeager to landing gear senior team lead and hired Darin Perryman as accessories and landing gear program manager at its Grand Junction, Colorado, facility. Yeager, who has served with West Star since 2018, previously was the accessories and landing gear manager. Perryman brings to his new role more than 14 years of experience with Gulfstream, mostly in the landing gear division.

Pro Star Aviation promoted Kristi Auclair to production planning manager. Auclair, who has more than 10 years of experience in program management, joined Pro Star in 2018 as a special missions program assistant, responsible for processes and procedures involved in all stages of a project life cycle.

Vita Inclinata named Shane Arnott as a senior advisor. Arnott is currently chief engineer at Anduril Industries, has spent 23 years with Boeing, and has been an adjunct professor at Queensland University of Technology.

JMC Group added Patrick Ramsey to its recruitment office in Montreal. Ramsey has nearly five years of experience as a senior recruiter, managing a team supporting clients that included global aircraft manufacturers and suppliers.

Aerogility appointed Kenneth Merchant as special advisor in the Americas. Merchant, president of Life Cycle Solutions, has more than 40 years of aerospace and defense experience, including 34 years with the U.S. Air Force.

West Star Aviation named Michael Farrell as an IT support specialist at its facility in East Alton, Illinois. Farrell previously has served with Midcoast and Elliot Aviation.

David Gotschall joined Woolpert as a project manager. Gotschall has 34 years of experience in the design and construction of airfields, roadways, and underground utilities, including 30 years with the Columbus Regional Airport Authority.

The Aerospace Maintenance Council elected its board of directors, including: Aaron Anderson, global segment manager of transparencies repair services for PPG Industries; Victor Bontorno, director of distribution and ground support test equipment for Barfield; Kevin Brickner, senior v-p of technical operations for American Airlines; Bill Cade, v-p of technical operations for JetBlue; Stewart D’Leon, director of environmental and technical operations for NBAA;  Tom Doxey, senior v-p for United Airlines; Les Frank, managing director of aircraft maintenance for FedEx Express; John Gowey, v-p of North America-critical industries for Snap-on; Andy Hakes, founder and CEO for AireXpert; Kurt Kinder, v-p of maintenance operations for Southwest Airlines; Alan Stolzer, dean of the College of Aviation for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Joseph Sylvestro, senior v-p of aftermarket and sustainment operations for Pratt & Whitney; and Don Wright, v-p of maintenance and engineering for Alaska Airlines.

Awards and Honors

NBAA presented former FAA Administrator Steve Dickson with its American Spirit Award for his “incomparable achievements in advancing America’s aviation interests.” The association’s board of directors honored Dickson shortly before he stepped down as administrator in late March. Dickson departed the agency after steering it through one of its most difficult periods, including managing the aviation system through the Covid-19 pandemic and the intense scrutiny that followed the Boeing Max crashes. “Steve embodies leadership, integrity, and love of country,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “Aviation has been very fortunate to have someone like Steve Dickson in the left seat, moving our industry forward.”

NBAA noted that Dickson acted “swiftly and decisively” to address the challenges that came with the pandemic, including ATC and other system disruptions, and credited Dickson for redoubling the agency’s focus on environmental sustainability, the introduction of emerging technologies, and initiatives to foster the aviation workforce.