People in Aviation

 - December 1, 2022, 7:41 AM

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) appointed Declan Fitzpatrick as interim CEO succeeding Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, who has accepted a position as managing director of Wizz Air Malta. Fitzpatrick has 16 years of experience with IAA, having previously held the position of director of regulatory performance and innovation.

The Malibu M-Class Owners and Pilots Association (MMOPA) named Mike Nichols as CEO and Jenna Reid as COO. Nichols has previous nonprofit association management experience, including nearly two decades at NBAA. Reid has prior experience in aviation operations, member service, and marketing.

Nico Neumann was promoted by Deutsche Aircraft to COO and joint managing director. Neumann joined the company in 2007 and has held a range of operational positions within the company, most recently as v-p of operations and program.

Kim Ashmun was appointed president of the components and accessories division at StandardAero. Ashmun has more than 20 years of experience in the aerospace industry, working at Lockheed Martin in a variety of technical, program, and executive leadership positions, including as v-p of global supply chain operations for Lockheed’s rotorcraft subsidiary Sikorsky.

The International Association of Aircraft Dealers named Zipporah Marmor, v-p of aircraft transactions at ACASS, as chair of the organization; and Phil Winters, v-p of aircraft sales and charter management for Western Aircraft, as vice chair. Marmor joined ACASS in 2011 and has more than 20 years of international business aviation experience spanning sales, management, and marketing. Winters has served with Western Aircraft for 25 years and now leads new and pre-owned aircraft sales and aircraft management/charter divisions for the company.

Voting members of NBAA re-elected Charlie Precourt and Richard Walsh to the association’s board of directors during BACE. Precourt serves on the association’s audit committee and was re-elected for a one-year term on the board. Walsh chairs NBAA’s nominating and governance committee and will serve for a three-year term on the board. Additionally, Paul “BJ” Ransbury, CEO of upset prevention and recovery training provider Aviation Performance Solutions (APS), was named as chairman of the NBAA Safety Committee. Ransbury has previously served the committee on the working group and in team lead and vice chairman leadership roles. 

Josh Krotec was elected by the Aeronautical Repair Station Association’s (ARSA) board of directors to serve as 2023 president. ARSA’s immediate past president, Terrell Siegfried—assistant general counsel, and corporate secretary of the Nordam Group—will remain on the board. Krotec is senior v-p of First Aviation Services and has been engaged in the association’s volunteer leadership for several years, serving as government affairs chairman before his election to the board in 2019.

Electric aircraft manufacturer Eviation Aircraft appointed Dan Nale to its technical steering committee and Jon Piatt to its board. Nale’s experience includes a nearly 40-year career in business aviation at Gulfstream Aerospace, where he most recently served as senior v-p of programs, engineering, and test. Piatt has 35 years of experience in aerospace and defense, including more than 20 years in senior leadership and strategic growth roles. He served most recently as president and general manager of reconnaissance missions systems at L3Harris Technologies.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy named Veronica Marshall as the NTSB’s first chief human capital officer. Marshall previously served at NASA as human resources director since 2018 and prior to that held the position of director for executive resources and chief learning officer.

Steve Drucker was hired by Volato to serve as chief technology officer. Drucker joins the company with nearly three decades of experience building development teams as well as enterprise and consumer-facing products. He was previously the chief information officer and EVP of software engineering at a publicly listed company, project lead for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority website, and has authored over a dozen books about software development for Salesforce, Adobe, Intel, and others. 

The African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) appointed Dawit Lemma as v-p and Samantha “Sam” Keddle as manager. Lemma is the founder and CEO of Krimson Aviation, an aviation services company based in Ethiopia and Malta. Keddle joins AfBAA from the Commercial Aviation Association of South Africa (CAASA), where she served as office manager since April 2016. 

Hartzell Propeller promoted Jon Stoy to v-p of sales, support, and services, succeeding v-p of global sales and product support Gary Chafin, who is retiring after a 35-year career with the company. Stoy joined Hartzell Propeller last year as director of sales with 14 years of experience in a variety of aviation sales roles, including general aviation business development manager for Aeroshell, director of aviation infrastructures and services for NetJets, and charter services manager for Executive Jet Management. Chafin will continue to serve all of the Hartzell Aviation companies as a consultant responsible for special projects.

Duncan Van De Velde was appointed as v-p of sales, Europe, by Textron Aviation following the retirement of Tom Perry. Van De Velde rejoins Textron Aviation following four years at Bell Helicopter as the managing director for Europe and Russia. Prior to this role, he served as director of aftermarket sales for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region at Textron.

Summit Aviation hired Julian Tonsmeire as v-p of aircraft management and acquisitions. Tonsmeire has more than 20 years of experience in various aspects of the industry, including flight operations, aircraft management, safety management systems, maintenance oversight, aircraft scheduling, and regulatory compliance. He has previously held roles with Sky Harbour Group, Embraer Executive Jets, and Mountain Aviation.

Julien Péchalat was appointed by Safran Electrical and Power as v-p of economic and financial affairs; he will also sit on the company's executive committee. Péchalat previously held roles with Ernst & Young as a financial auditor, then Deloitte as a senior manager, and various roles at Zodiac Aerospace, including deputy CFO. Most recently he served as Safran Aircraft Engines’ management control director.

Vita Inclinata hired Kevin Campbell as executive v-p of finance. Campbell’s previous experience includes having served at Greenwich Alternative Investments and as managing director at Avondale Partners. He joins Vita having most recently held roles at Air Methods as senior v-p of corporate finance and then senior v-p of treasury and corporate development.

Scott O’Brien has been named v-p of legislative affairs at Reliable Robotics. O’Brien has 18 years of experience in grassroots initiatives, legislative strategy, and public policy analysis having previously held the position of senior director of public policy and advocacy at NBAA. In his new role, he will represent Reliable before Capitol Hill and the Administration, along with industry associations to prioritize safety technologies that will prevent common aviation accidents.

Krystyna Hranek was hired by ACASS as sales director for the Southeast U.S. and Central/South American regions. Hranek has more than 15 years of marketing, business development, and sales experience in previous roles at Bombardier Aerospace and SmartJets.

Metrojet appointed Justin Yeung as the director of aircraft management and charter and Stewart Borg as director of flight operations. Yeung joined Metrojet in 2018 and was most recently the company’s head of commercial. Before that he held various progressive commercial and supply chain roles with Rolls-Royce in the UK. Borg has been with Metrojet for over 17 years, having previously served as lead captain, deputy chief pilot, and manager of flight training. 

Jordan Rogers was appointed as aircraft transaction coordinator by brokerage firm Coleman Jet Solutions. Rogers has a background in business and sales management and is an instrument-rated private pilot and sUAS pilot. Before joining Coleman, he was partner and head of operations for Argentina Beef, a brand marketing specialist for CST Brands, and a territory manager for Wind River Tobacco.

Awards and Honors

Susan Mallett is the recipient of the National Aeronautic Association’s 2022 Frank G. Brewer Trophy, which was established in 1943 to honor “significant contributions of enduring value to aerospace education in the United States.” Mallett is being recognized for “her passionate and sustained aviation education leadership and ambassadorship to create enduring collaborative partnerships, programs, and products, which have impacted and inspired over two million American youth since 1986.”

Marc Parent, CAE's president and CEO, and Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret.) Maryse Carmichael, CAE's solution lead, future aircrew training, were inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame during a ceremony held on October 27. The award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to aviation and aerospace in Canada.

The Wichita Aero Club (WAC) announced John Tomblin as the recipient of its 2023 Wichita Aero Club Trophy. Tomblin is senior v-p of industry and defense programs for Wichita State University; executive director at the National Institute for Aviation Research; and a Sam Bloomfield Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering for Wichita State University. WAC will celebrate Tomblin at its annual trophy gala in January 2023.

Final Flights

Aviation industry icon Herbert H. Ward, 94, passed away at his home near Wichita on October 17, surrounded by family. Ward worked in aviation for almost 70 years, starting his career working at both Beech Aircraft Company and Boeing in the late 1940s. In the early 1960s, he took a position with Bill Lear at Learjet, where he worked his way up to production superintendent. After a 13-year tenure at Learjet, he began work at Air Research in Los Angeles, California, where he headed up the interior and completion sales.

Ward continued a successful career in aircraft interior and completions working for Sun Stream in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as manager over completions, where he also started a new path in sales of VVIP interiors in small and medium jet aircraft; for the Dee Howard Company in San Antonio, Texas, where he headed up the VVIP interior installation team; and for Associated Air Center in Dallas, where he became the v-p of sales for VVIP widebody aircraft. Ward retired from Associated in 1997 but not long after joined Green Point Technologies in Bothell, Washington, as a consultant assisting with VVIP Boeing Business Jet completions.

In 2001, he spearheaded a startup company Completion Air located in East Alton, Illinois, to do VVIP widebody completions. That company evolved into what is known today as West Star Aviation. In 2005 in a joint venture, he founded EAS Completions in Addison, Texas, where he and his team designed and installed VVIP interiors in three Boeing 737 aircraft for the Kingdom of Thailand. He again retired in 2009 at 81 years old.