Symposium SpeakersSpeakers

Lou Amadee

Aviation Instructor, East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT), Mesa, AZ
Following graduation from college, Lou Amadee completed rotary wing flight school with the US Army, serving 11 years as an AeroScout section leader, aircraft maintenance officer, and maintenance test pilot. Later, he completed his SEL fixed-wing add-on, then went on to complete his CFI rating in R-22 helicopters while training employees for MD Helicopters. Following a layoff, Amadee found his second calling as a teacher with the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT), where he has instructed for the past eight years. He also works part-time as an adjunct for the local community college teaching ground school for veterans, helping them utilize their VA benefits to achieve their helicopter ratings.

Mike Anderson

Superintendent, Ada City Schools, Ada, OK
Mike Anderson is the Superintendent of the Ada City School District in Ada, Oklahoma. In 2016-2017, Mike worked to develop a strong collaboration between the school district and community business leaders in the city of Ada to develop and implement a district-wide aviation program. The overwhelming community response to the new program has provided the District the opportunity to develop local, state, and national partnerships with key leaders within the aviation community and has allowed the school district to work toward building a strong foundation of aviation programming for students.

Bill Ayer

Chair & CEO, retired, Alaska Air Group, Seattle, WA
Bill Ayer is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines and its sister carrier, Horizon Air. Bill began his career with Piper Aircraft Company and founded Air Olympia, a small commuter airline in Washington State. He joined Horizon Air in 1982, then Alaska Airlines in 1995 as vice president of marketing and planning, and subsequently held the posts of senior vice president; chief operating officer; and president. He became the carrier's chief executive officer in 2002 and was appointed chairman in 2003. Bill serves on many boards, including the University of Washington Board of Regents, the Honeywell Board of Directors, the Board of Trustees at the Museum of Flight, the Board of the National Air and Space Museum, and is chair of the AOPA Foundation Board of Advisors. Bill owns a Piper Malibu, and holds commercial and flight instructor certificates with instrument and multi-engine ratings, with over 5,000 hours of flight time.

Mark Baker

President & CEO, AOPA, Frederick, MD
Mark R. Baker is a longtime general aviation (GA) pilot and only the fifth president in the 78-year history of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the world’s largest civil aviation organization. A native Minnesotan, Mark earned his pilot certificate in his twenties and has logged more than 7,500 hours of flight time in aircraft ranging from light seaplanes to turbines and helicopters. He has welcomed numerous friends and family members, including his father, son, and two sons-in-law, into the pilot community. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Mark has also served on numerous corporate boards, and has taken leadership roles with several nonprofit organizations.

Mark Balch

Principal, North High School, Bakersfield, CA
Mark Balch, Ed.D., is principal of North High School in Bakersfield, CA. A graduate of the University of La Verne, he is fortunate to serve as the principal of the high school from which he graduated. Located just one mile from Bakersfield’s Meadows Field airport as well as California Aeronautical University, North’s aviation program is now in its second year. While the majority of North’s students come from impoverished homes (78% received free or reduced-price lunch), North’s 18 Career Pathways, including Aviation, provide graduates with a focus on preparation for life after high school.

Pat Brown

"Texas Triangle" Ambassador, AOPA
You can find AOPA's "Texas Triangle" Ambassador Pat Brown flying around the state in “Woodstock," one of AOPA’s bright yellow “Reimagined” 152s. Pat earned his Private Pilot license shortly after his 17th birthday. Today, 8,000-plus hours later, he holds a Commercial Pilot certificate for Gliders, Single-Engine Land, and Multi-Engine Land aircraft and is a Gold Seal Flight Instructor for gliders, single and multi-engine aircraft, with nearly 6,000 hours of instruction given. Pat is the co-developer of AOPA’s Rusty Pilot seminar, speaks nationally as a Safety Seminar Presenter for the AOPA Air Safety Institute, and has conducted Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics nationwide.
Ken Byrnes

Dr. Kenneth Byrnes

Assistant Dean, College of Aviation, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL
Dr. Kenneth Byrnes is the Assistant Dean of the College of Aviation, an Associate Professor of Aeronautical Science, and the Chairman of the Flight Training Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus. In his role as the Flight Department Chair, Dr. Byrnes is responsible for leading over 1,200 flight students, over 160 certified flight instructors, 30 A&P mechanics, and 25 additional support staff members. His academic teaching responsibilities include Instructional Design in Aviation, Aviation Legislation, Private Pilot Knowledge, and Commercial Pilot Knowledge courses. He holds a Bachelor’s in Aeronautical Science, a Master’s in Business Administration in Aviation, and a PhD in Business with a specialization in Management of Engineering and Technology.

Todd Curtis

Aviation Instructor, McKinney Independent School District, McKinney, TX
Todd Curtis has spent the last six years as an instructor for the McKinney ISD High School Aviation program located in McKinney, Texas. When Todd started, there was one course offering available and had an enrollment of 32 students. Todd has worked with individuals from municipalities, private industry, and universities to build connections to bring the best opportunities to the students of McKinney. Today the program has grown significantly through Todd’s leadership and includes four course offerings and has an enrollment of over 220 students.

Pat Cwayna

CEO, West Michigan Aviation Academy, Grand Rapids, MI
Patrick J. Cwayna, Sr. is the founding CEO of West Michigan Aviation Academy (WMAA), a 9-12 grade high school located on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. WMAA has enjoyed tremendous growth beginning with 80 students in September 2010 and now at full capacity with 600 students and a very long waiting list. At WMAA, students have the opportunity to earn their private pilot license as well as to get a rigorous STEM endorsement on their diplomas.

Carlton Davis

Director of Air Crew Operations, Boeing Global Services
Carlton “Carl” Davis is Director – Air Crew Operations for Boeing Global Services. He is proud to lead the over 100 employees working in the Flight Technical and Safety, Flight Training - Airplane, Cabin Safety Training, Pilot Services, and the Electronic Checklist Team. The professionals of Air Crew Operations serve more than 400 customers operating Boeing’s Next-Generation 737, 737 MAX, 747-400 and -8, 777, and 787 airplanes in destinations all over the globe. Capt. Davis most recently served as the Chief Pilot – Pilot Services. Prior to that position, he was the 787 Fleet Manager for Boeing Flight Services. In this position, he led pilot training operations on Boeing 787 Dreamliner simulators across five global campuses. Prior, Capt. Davis was assistant chief pilot for Flight Crew Training; and when he first arrived at Boeing he was an instructor pilot on the Next-Generation 737, 747-400 and 777. Before joining Boeing in 2005, Capt. Davis was a domestic and international pilot for Delta Air Lines, flying the Boeing 727, MD-88, 757 and 767 models in commercial service. He holds type ratings in the B-737, B-747-400, B-757, B-767, B-777, B-787, DC-9, BeechJet, Cessna Citations, and Dassault Falcon 20. Capt. Davis attended the U.S. Naval Academy as well as Indiana State University. He has a bachelor’s degree in General Studies/Business from Schreiner University in Texas. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Leadership at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Stephen DeWitt

Deputy Executive Director, Association for Career and Technical Education, Alexandria, VA
Stephen DeWitt is the Deputy Executive Director for the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). His role includes developing strategic partnerships to advance the association’s mission, and oversight of policy, advocacy, media, and research activities. He has 25+ years in the public policy arena. Prior to joining ACTE, Stephen directed government and public relations for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and held positions with the State of Florida’s Governor’s office, Florida Department of Education, and APCO Worldwide. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Southern College.

Bill Hampton

Managing Director – Aviation, Aerospace and Defense, GO! Experience Design
Bill Hampton serves as Managing Director for Aviation, Aerospace & Defense at GO! Experience Design (GOXD) - a full-service event and experiential marketing agency with capabilities that include strategy, content creation, creative development, project execution, and program financial control. An aviator since age 16, with nearly 20 years of experience in aviation, training and higher education - Bill previously served as Senior Vice President for External Relations & Chief Marketing Officer at Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University. Bill is a frequent national contributor on the power of building technology-focused marketing organizations and aligning people, messages and resources to achieve organizational goals. His career has been underscored by extensive international business experience throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, including a three-year assignment in the United Arab Emirates with the state-owned Dubai Aerospace Enterprise and MASDAR Initiative in Abu Dhabi.

Cindy Hasselbring

Sr. Director, High School Aviation Initiative, AOPA, Frederick, MD
Cindy serves as the Senior Director for Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s High School Aviation Initiative. Cindy was a high school mathematics teacher in Michigan for 16 years and earned the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC where she was the teacher representative on the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy STEM education committee. Cindy also worked at the Maryland State Department of Education, where she served as Special Assistant to the State Superintendent. In this role, she led STEM education in Maryland and created a five-year STEM education strategic plan for public schools in the state.

David Heffley

Director, SpaceX Rocket Development Facility, McGregor, TX
As the Director of the SpaceX Rocket Development Facility, David leads a team of over 500 people to design, build and operate rocket test systems at the 4,000-acre state-of-the-art rocket test facility in McGregor, TX. David began his career as an intern for SpaceX over 10 years ago. During his tenure, he has led a variety of teams in ground and flight-testing over a wide range of systems including Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Dragon, Falcon Heavy, Booster Reusability and Propulsion Components. Aside from SpaceX and rocket testing, David’s passion is general aviation. He currently holds a private pilot license with an instrument rating and has been a long time member of AOPA. David has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Baylor University.

Paula Kedy

Executive Director, Academics and Instruction, Ada City Schools, Ada, OK
Paula Kedy is a career educator who is currently serving as the Executive Director of Academics and Instruction for Ada City Schools in Ada, OK. Paula is currently working in collaboration with the City of Ada, the Ada Regional Airport, and members of EAA Chapter 1005 to develop and implement an aviation program for the Ada City School District. In addition to the aviation awareness program that was launched in 2016-2017, the school district plans to field test the new AOPA High School Curriculum and will offer Introduction to Aviation as an elective course. Paula is also a member of the AOPA High School Aviation Steering Committee.

Susan Mallett

Coordinator, Youth Development and Air Force Association Programs, Civil Air Patrol, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL
Susan Broderick Mallett is a retired teacher, principal, and university instructor with an educational tenure of 31 years in Alabama schools. As a public school principal, she led a nationally and internationally-recognized elementary school that integrated the aerospace theme throughout the curriculum. Since 2006 she has served as the Youth Development and Air Force Association (AFA) Programs Coordinator at the National HQ of the Civil Air Patrol at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. Susan serves as the Vice President/Aerospace Education for the Air Force Association at the chapter, state, and region levels, and is a member of the national AFA’s Aerospace Education Council.

Nathan McAfee

Aviation Instructor, McKinney Independent School District, McKinney, TX
Nathan McAfee is a high school Aviation and Advanced Robotics instructor for McKinney ISD. He is a certified commercial drone pilot, 3D printing enthusiast, and is continually working to find new ways to spark a love of aviation in his students. He has a passion for advancing opportunities to bring females into aviation. He is a part of the McKinney ISD Aviation Academy which has over 220 students.

Nancy McGee

Director, K-12 STEM, Grand Prairie Independent School District, Grand Prairie, TX
Educator Nancy McGee has lived a life of adventure and diversity. In a career spanning 32 years, she has served as classroom teacher, coach, campus and district-level administrator. Nancy is currently the Director of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) K-12 in the Grand Prairie Independent School District. In her spare time, Nancy is an explorer and filmmaker. The Explorers Club recognized her with a Fellowship for contributions to scientific knowledge in the field of geographical exploration. Her credits include NBC, Universal Studios and Discovery. Nancy is the first female to pilot the Exosuit, and was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame.

Houston Mills

Director, Global Aviation & Public Policy, UPS
As Global Aviation Strategy & Public Policy Director for UPS, Capt. Houston is responsible for aggregating all aviation strategy issues under one umbrella. He also advocates for federal aviation policy and collaborates with domestic and international industry groups to harmonize aviation safety standards and sustainability rules. Previously, Capt. Houston served as UPS’s director of airline safety and compliance. Under his leadership, UPS became one of the first U.S. airlines to have a certified Safety Management System (SMS). He also served as the UPS International Chief Pilot. Capt. Houston began his aviation career in 1985 as a Marine Corps officer and F/A-18 fighter pilot, serving in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Restore Hope and Southern Watch. In step with UPS’s commitment to the community, Capt. Houston serves on the national Board of Directors of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
AOPA You Can Fly staff

Chris Moser

Director, Flight Training Initiative, AOPA, Frederick, MD
Chris Moser is the Director, Flight Training Initiative at AOPA. As part of the You Can Fly team, he manages and supports AOPA’s programs, events, and initiatives related to growing and strengthening the pilot population. This includes the Rusty Pilots program and Flight Training Experience Survey & Awards in addition to developing programs to support and enhance flight training operations. Chris has been a professional educator for over 20 years including being a high school teacher, flight instructor, and freight pilot.

George Pavey

Dean of Aviation, West Michigan Aviation Academy, Grand Rapids, MI
George Pavey is the Dean of Aviation at West Michigan Aviation Academy, in Grand Rapids, MI. George completed naval aviation flight training before his first tour with VMFA-251 flying the F/A-19 Hornet during which he completed two overseas carrier deployments. Between deployments, he graduated from TOPGUN. George was selected as an Air Force F-16 Exchange Pilot and assigned to the 308th FS. Returning to the F/A-18 Hornet, he was assigned to VMFA-212 in Iwakuni, Japan. He was selected to participate in the Marine Corps Advance Degree Program and completed a Master’s Degree in Education prior to an assignment with Marine Corps University.

V. Carson Pearce

Division Director, Statewide Transportation, Texas State Technical College, Waco, TX
V. Carson Pearce is a retired U.S Army aviator and aviation safety officer. After a career of flying both rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft, with over 5,000 hours in the Alaskan environment, Carson moved into aerospace education at Texas State Technical College (TSTC). He has served as an academic instructor, Department Chair, Aerospace Division Director, and is now the Statewide Transportation Division Director for TSTC. Along with flight programs, Carson leads Air Traffic Control, Aviation Maintenance, Aircraft Dispatch and Avionics degree programs. He holds a Master’s degree in Executive Leadership and a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Leadership.

David Purser

Science Teacher, Karnes City Independent School District, Karnes City, TX
David Purser is a secondary science teacher for the Karnes City Independent School District. His role includes Honors Physics, Conceptual Physics, and Aviation Science. He has been a Texas certified composite science teacher for over 10 years. In addition to teaching, David is currently a student pilot. He and his wife also own a private chemical company. Prior to teaching, David worked 16 years in Scientific Services for the HEB Grocery Company. David holds a B.S. and an M.S. degree from Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.

Bob Raskey

Captain, B-737, United Airlines
Bob Raskey is a United Airlines Captain and “Line Check Airman” on the B-737 in Newark. He serves on the Board of Directors of the United Airlines “We Care-Employee Assistance Fund” and “United 4 Veterans” business resource group. A retired USAF Lt. Col., Bob has flown over 20 years including combat flight operations. He serves in various leadership roles as a member of AABI (Aviation Accreditation Board International), UAA (University Aviation Alliance), AOPA, and EAA, and is a former member of the Board of Trustees of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Bob holds degrees in M.B.A, M.A. in International Relations, B.S. in Aeronautical Science, and an A.S. in Computer Science.

Fred Ritchey

Dean, College of Aviation & Aeronautical Science, LeTourneau University, Longview, TX
Fred Ritchey is a Professor and the inaugural Dean of the College of Aviation & Aeronautical Science at LeTourneau University. He earned his B.S. from LeTourneau University and his M.S. from the University of Texas, Tyler. He also holds an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic Certificate with Inspection Authorization and served as an FAA Designated Mechanic Examiner from 1993 to 2004. Since joining LeTourneau in 1985, Fred has written and taught numerous technical courses and is currently leading the college of aviation in the development and implementation of new academic programs and remote educational centers.

Derek Rowe

Aviation Teacher, McGavock High School, Nashville, TN
Derek Rowe is the aviation teacher at McGavock High School, a National Career Academy Coalition school in Nashville, TN, where three CTE pathway courses are required for graduation. An aviation professional for over 30 years, Derek transformed McGavock’s once failing aviation program into an effective learning environment with graduates pursuing careers in aviation. Under his leadership, the program enjoys support from partnerships with industry, universities, and individuals, benefiting the students with: university credits, internships, and financial aid for equipment, training, and real-life experience. The Aviation and Transportation Academy is now one of the top performing academies in the district.

Dave Sebuck

Chief Flight Instructor & Director of Flight Operations, West Michigan Aviation Academy, Grand Rapids, MI
Dave Sebuck is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management and Technology. He obtained a Master of Science degree in Education from Old Dominion University and is an ATP and CFI/II. He served 22 years in the United States Marine Corps as an F/A-18 pilot prior to accepting his current position at West Michigan Aviation Academy in Grand Rapids, MI.

Lee Siudzinski

Executive Director, Blue Sky Educational Foundation, Dallas, TX
Lee serves as Executive Director of the Blue Sky Educational Foundation in Dallas, TX. Before joining Blue Sky, Lee served as Vice President of Education with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in Oshkosh, WI. He has also served 21 years as a public school superintendent in two school districts in Wisconsin and currently serves on the AOPA High School Advisory Board. The focus of Blue Sky is to use the excitement of aviation to engage students in STEM. The flagship program is the Aeronautical STEM curriculum and kit which Blue Sky has successfully implemented in all 5th grades in the Grand Prairie Independent School District.

David Stock

Chief Warrant Officer, U.S. Army
Chief Warrant Officer Dave Stock is a combat experienced Master Army Aviator with over 19 years of active duty military service. He is a qualified Aviation Safety Officer, Instructor Pilot, and Maintenance Test Pilot for the Army’s UH-60 Blackhawk and currently serves as Army Aviation’s Personnel Proponent. Dave is responsible for the aviation career lifecycle model that includes annual aviator training requirements and the aviator application and selection process. Dave has been an AOPA member since 2004, has years of Piper Archer ownership experience, and will highlight the Army’s “High School to Flight School” program during this year’s symposium.
2016 High School Symposium

Nicole Stott

Astronaut (retired), NASA
Nicole Stott is a veteran NASA astronaut with two spaceflights and 104 days living and working in space on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). She is also a NASA Aquanaut and holds the Women's World Record for saturation diving following her 18-day mission with the NEEMO9 crew on the Aquarius undersea habitat. Always an artist, Stott brought a small watercolor kit with her on her mission to the ISS. She is the first NASA astronaut to paint in space. After 28 years with NASA, she has begun her next adventure as a full-time Artist and SciArt Education Advocate. Through her artwork, she uniquely shares the awesome beauty she was blessed to experience through the windows of her spacecraft, and will continue to promote the amazing things we're doing every day in space that benefit us all right here on Earth. You can find more information at

David Tatum

Chief Pilot, Director of Pilot Recruiting and Development, Captain Airbus 319, 321, American Airlines
David Tatum is Chief Pilot/Director of Pilot Recruiting & Development and a Captain on the Airbus 319/321 for American Airlines. He oversees long-term pilot recruiting strategy and career development, and the day to day operations of mainline pilot selection. In his 19th year at American, David was a Chief Pilot in the DFW crew base prior to his current role. He has also flown for American Eagle’s wholly owned regional (now Envoy), where he also participated in pilot recruiting efforts. A pilot since high school, David stays active in general aviation and has a passion for introducing others to the freedom of flying.

Dee Temples

Senior Vice President, Air Operations, Envoy Air, Irving, TX
Dee Temples is Senior Vice President – Air Operations for American Eagle carrier Envoy Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group based in Irving, TX. Dee is responsible for Envoy’s more than 5,000 pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, dispatchers, and engineers. He has 19 years of experience with American Airlines Group and its predecessor companies AMR Corporation and Trans World Airlines (TWA), working in finance, network planning, and operations over the course of his career. Dee has been a licensed private pilot since he was 18 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Clemson University and a Master of Business Administration in Aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona).

Brian J. Terwilliger

Producer/Director, Terwilliger Productions, Los Angeles, CA
Brian J. Terwilliger is a filmmaker whose unrelenting pursuit of excellence has taken him to all seven continents in search of compelling stories and stunning imagery. A licensed pilot captivated by flight since childhood, Brian has produced, directed and secured the financing for three documentaries, each looking at aviation from a different perspective. "One Six Right" focuses on the romance of flight as seen through a day in the life of the Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles, CA. Because of that film, Terwilliger was granted the rare opportunity to fly with the Blue Angels, the elite team of precision Navy jet pilots that first sparked his interest in flying when he was a boy. He chronicled that experience in "Flying Full Circle." "Living in the Age of Airplanes" looks at the dramatic ways aviation has transformed the world. Narrated by Harrison Ford, it was shot in 18 countries to illuminate how airplanes have empowered a century of global connectedness. Beginning April 10, 2015, the film was released by National Geographic in museum cinemas worldwide. Terwilliger recently emceed the 46th Annual National Aviation Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony.

Diane Thornton

National Director, Learning for Life, Irving, TX
Dr. Diane E. Thornton is national director of the Boy Scouts of America Learning for Life program. In this position, she oversees the in-school Learning for Life program which provides character education curriculum to schools nationwide. She also leads the Exploring program, including Aviation Exploring, which provides exciting activities and one-on-one mentoring for girls and boys through age 20. Dr. Thornton brings to her role years of experience as both a classroom teacher and university professor as well as various positions in academic management and curriculum development. She earned her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Sarasota.

Mark Wiesenhahn

Vice President, Sporty's Pilot Shop, Batavia, OH
Mark Wiesenhahn is a vice president at Sporty's Pilot Shop, where he has worked for the past 28 years. In addition to his administrative duties managing Sporty's dealers and vendors and directing media relations and trade show participation, Mark works closely with Sporty's partnerships within the industry including AOPA and EAA. Mark is actively involved in promoting Aviation Exploring and has been an Exploring advisor for more than 20 years. He serves on the Executive Committee of Learning for Life Organization as the Exploring Chair. Mark is a recreational pilot.