FAAC Member Profiles
Committee Chair: Susan L. Kurland
Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, Department of Transportation
Ms. Kurland joined the Secretary of Transportation’s senior team in August 2009 as the Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs. Her duties include overseeing all Department responsibilities and initiatives related to aviation issues. She previously worked at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as Associate Administrator for Airports, leading the FAA’s national airport program. She has also worked for US Airways as vice president and deputy general counsel, the City of Chicago as Deputy Corporation Counsel serving as general counsel for Chicago’s airport system and Jeffries & Company as a managing director focusing on airport and other municipal financing issues.
Juan J. Alonso
Associate Professor in the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics, Stanford University
Mr. Alonso is the founder and director of the Aerospace Design Laboratory (ADL) where he specializes in the development of high-fidelity computational design methodologies to enable the creation of realizable and efficient aerospace systems. He teaches courses in basic fluid mechanics, applied aerodynamics, aircraft design, parallel computing, and aeroelasticity. His research interests focus on the development of techniques and environments to perform multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) of aerospace systems. Mr. Alonso’s research involves a large number of different applications including transonic, supersonic, and hypersonic aircraft, helicopters, turbomachinery, and launch and re-entry vehicles. He is the author of over 100 technical publications on the topics of computational design, multi-disciplinary optimization, fundamental numerical methods, and high performance parallel computing.
Susan M. Baer
Director, Aviation Department, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Ms. Baer is a 32-year veteran of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. She began her career with this bi-state agency as a management analyst. In 1985 she was promoted from manager of the Public Services Division of the Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals Department to manager of the Lincoln Tunnel. The following year she was named manager of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. In 1988, she moved from buses to planes, joining the Aviation Department as General Manager of Aviation Customer and Marketing Services. She took on the challenge of managing LaGuardia Airport from 1994 to 1998. In 1998, she transferred to Newark Liberty International where her duties from 1998 to 2007 included both Newark Liberty International and Teterboro Airports.
President and CEO, JetBlue Airways Corporation
After 18 years with Continental Airlines, Mr. Barger co-founded JetBlue Airways Corporation in 1998, becoming CEO in May 2007 and taking on role of president in October 2008. He is also a member of the Board of Governors, treasurer of the Flight Safety Foundation, and president of the Wings Club.
Bryan K. Bedford
Chairman, President & CEO, Republic Airways
Mr. Bedford has more than 20 years of experience in the airline industry, the last 10 at Republic Airways. Previously, his positions as president and CEO of Mesaba Holdings, Inc., formerly a Northwest Airlink carrier and as president and CEO of Business Express Airlines, a New England based regional air carrier. He has also held senior executive positions at Express Airlines, Inc., Westair Holdings, Inc., Aspen Airways, Inc. and Continental Express, Inc.
E.T. Grether Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy at the Haas School of Business and Co-Director of the Energy Institute at Haas
Mr. Borenstein is also director of the University of California Energy Institute. He received his A.B. from U.C. Berkeley and Ph.D. in Economics from M.I.T. His research focuses on business competition, strategy, and regulation, including applications to the airline industry, the oil and gasoline industries, and electricity markets. He was a staff economist at the US Civil Aeronautics Board in 1978-79 during airline deregulation and has published more than 20 research papers on the airline industry. Mr. Borenstein has consulted for the Department of Justice, Department of Transportation, state attorneys general and numerous U.S. carriers, and he has testified before state and federal legislators on the airline industry.
Thella F. Bowens
President & CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
Ms. Bowens joined the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, which owns and operates San Diego International Airport, in March 2003. Prior to this, she was the San Diego Unified Port District’s Senior Director of Aviation, while also serving as interim executive director/president of the new San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Prior to coming to San Diego, Ms. Bowens served as the deputy executive director of Kansas City’s Aviation Department, which included Kansas City International Airport and the city’s two general aviation airports. She also previously served as Budget Administrator for the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport.
John M. Conley
International Administrative Vice President and Air Transport Division Director, Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO
Mr. Conley has been a member of TWU since 1981 in the Airline Division, with approximately 28 years in the industry. He has served as a TWU Officer, in some capacity, for approximately 23 of those 28 years. Other positions held also include: Shop Steward, Chief Steward, Section Chairman, Vice President and President of Local 505, San Francisco, and American Airlines System Coordinator. He has also served as Chief Spokesman and Spokesman in multiple Contract Negotiations, including those involving Horizon Air, Air Cal, American Airlines, and American Eagle, and in Integration Negotiations involving Air Cal, Reno Air, and TWA.
Cynthia M. Egnotovich
Segment President, Nacelles and Interior Systems, Goodrich Corporation
Ms. Egnotovich began her career at Goodrich in 1986 as a financial analyst. She was appointed controller in 1993, director of Operations in 1996, and then vice president and general manager of Ice Protection Systems Division in 1998. In 2000, she was appointed vice president and general manager of Commercial Wheels and Brakes. She was later named group president of Engine and Safety Systems in April 2002, segment president of Electronic Systems in December 2002, and segment president of Engine Systems in June 2005. She was named to her current position in January 2007.
Patricia A. Friend
International President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO
Ms. Friend was appointed by former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta to serve on the DOT Rapid Response Team for Aircraft Security following the September 11 attacks. In 1995, she assumed leadership of the AFA-CWA after being elected to her first four-year term as international president of the organization. She began her fourth consecutive term on January 1, 2007.
Robert L. Lekites
President, UPS Airlines
Mr. Lekites oversees UPS Airlines, the world’s ninth largest airline, as well as Worldport, UPS’s cutting-edge package processing facility and all-points international air hub. He spent a year working in corporate customer service before serving as hub division manager. A year later, he became the operations manager for the metro Los Angeles area. After two years, Lekites returned to the East Coast to serve as South Carolina district manager. He was later named Metro Philadelphia district manager, where he served until accepting the position of UPS Flight Operations director in Louisville, KY 1996. He has headed airline and international operations since October 1997.
Director of Economic and Financial Analysis, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
Over the course of her career, she has overseen ALPA’s evaluation of airline corporate results and business plans as well as the Association’s economic modeling and forecasting. Through ALPA’s subsidiary, the International Pilot Services Corporation, Ms. McAhron-Schulz has served as financial advisor to the pilots of Aer Lingus, KLM, Air France, Cathay Pacific, TAP Air Portugal, SAS, Spanair and Sabena, among others in negotiations and strategic planning. She is an industrial advisor to the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations and participates at various training seminars and conferences.
William J. McGee
Travel and Aviation Consultant for Consumers Union
Bill McGee is a travel and aviation consultant for Consumers Union and a contributor to Consumer Reports on travel and airline issues. He has been an aviation and travel journalist since 1992, writing a monthly travel column for USAToday.com, contributing to Conde Nast Traveler and other publications and serving as Editor-in-Chief of Consumer Reports Travel Letter for three years. He was nominated in 2007 for a Deadline Club Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and won a Gold Award from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation and the inaugural Michael A. Dornheim Journalism Award from the National Press Club. Prior to becoming a journalist, McGee spent seven years in airline flight operations and ground operations management for several airlines, including the Pan Am Shuttle. He is an FAA-licensed aircraft dispatcher and served in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary/Civil Air Patrol as a flight release officer. He also is an adjunct associate professor at Hofstra University. He holds a BA degree from Hofstra and an MFA degree from Columbia University.
CFA, Hudson Securities
Mr. McKenzie began his career analyzing the US Airline industry in 2000 as a member of Salomon Smith Barney, a subsidiary of Citigroup and Institutional Investor’s #2 ranked airline team. He was later promoted to Sr. Analyst in 2003. In 2006, Mr. McKenzie accepted the Sr. Airline Analyst position at Credit Suisse where he was ranked by FT|StarMine as the #1 Earnings Estimator for both 2008 and 2009. After leaving Credit Suisse, he joined Next Generation Equity Research. National Generation Equity Research was acquired by Hudson Securities in 2010, where Mr. McKenzie continues to analyze the US airline industry today.
Jack J. Pelton
Chairman, President, and CEO, Cessna Aircraft Company
Mr. Pelton has more than three decades of aviation experience. He joined Cessna in November 2000 as senior vice president of Product Engineering, who oversees Cessna’s engineering and product development activities. He was named president and CEO in 2003 and chairman in 2005. Before joining Cessna, he served as senior vice president of Engineering and Programs at Fairchild Dornier in Germany. He has also held related executive positions of increasing responsibility during his 20 years at Boeing, formerly Douglas Aircraft.
Nicole W. Piasecki
Vice President of Business Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes
Ms. Piasecki was named to her current position in January 2010. She joined Boeing in 1992 as a customer engineer and held subsequent positions in Sales Operations and Business Strategy. From 2003 to 2006, she has also served as vice president of Sales for Leasing Companies at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, vice president of Business Strategy and Marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and president of Boeing Japan.
President & CEO, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority
Mr. Regalado has more than 42 years of experience in aviation, including eight years in the private sector and more than 28 years in the public sector. He entered his current position in 2001. He has also held management positions for the City of Houston, the San Jose International Airport, the John Wayne Orange County Airport, the City of Fresno, and the Klamath Falls Municipal Airport in Oregon.
Glenn F. Tilton
Chairman, President & CEO, UAL Corporation (parent of United Airlines)
Prior to joining United Airlines in September 2002, Mr. Tilton was vice chairman of the board of directors of ChevronTexaco, as well as interim chairman of Dynegy Inc. He also served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Texaco Inc.
Christopher J. Williams
Chairman, CEO and founder of The Williams Capital Group, L.P. and Williams Capital Management, LLC
He began his career with Lehman Brothers in New York, where he was a senior vice president with responsibilities in debt capital markets, derivatives, and fixed income securities trading. Subsequently, Mr. Williams formed Williams Financial Markets, a division of Jefferies & Company, which specialized in structuring debt financings for investment grade corporate issuers. Mr. Williams serves on the board of directors of two Fortune 500 companies. He is also an active board member of several higher education institutions, not-for-profit organizations, and corporations. These memberships include Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Partnership for New York City, Teachers College at Columbia University, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Designated Federal Officer: Pamela Hamilton
Director of Rulemaking, Federal Aviation Administration
Ms. Hamilton has been serving as the Director of Rulemaking at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since November 2006, providing executive leadership and oversight for the agency’s development of aviation regulations. She is a 30+-year veteran of the aviation industry. She is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel whose assignments included positions in operations, policy development, program management and inspections. She later served as an Air Force liaison at FAA Headquarters and as military assistant to the Department of Defense Policy Board on Federal Aviation at the Pentagon. Ms. Hamilton also worked for an aviation engineering and consulting firm, US Airways, and the Transportation Security Administration.