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Leadership Moves, May-June 2022
  • 08 May 2022 03:21 AM
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Leadership Moves, May-June 2022

Nolen Appointed Acting FAA Administrator, More Leadership Changes


The US Department of Transportation announced on March 26 that Billy Nolen will serve as the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA). Nolen previously served as the FAA’s associate administrator for aviation safety and replaces Steve Dickson, who led the agency for more than two years. Prior to joining the FAA, Nolen served as a vice president at WestJet Airlines in Canada and has held leadership positions at Qantas Airways, Airlines for America and American Airlines. “Billy Nolen has extensive expertise in aviation and a deep understanding of the vital role the FAA plays in ensuring the safety of the traveling public,” said US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement.


In addition, longtime FAA employee Lirio Liu has been appointed as executive director of the Aircraft Certification Service. She replaces Earl Lawrence, now the deputy assistant administrator of the NextGen Office.

Aviation International News notes that there has been significant turnover in FAA leadership over the past year. Nolen’s backfill is 20-year FAA employee Christopher Rocheleau, who is leaving in June to join the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) as COO. In the past year or so, other key appointments include a new deputy administrator, Bradley Mims; associate administrator for airports, Shannetta Griffin; and acting Air Traffic Organization COO Timothy Arel.

Shanahan Joins CAE Board


Patrick M. Shanahan will join the board of directors at CAE, the company announced in an April 1 press release. Shanahan, who served as deputy secretary of defense and acting secretary of defense in the Trump Administration, brings more than 30 years of experience in the defense sector to the role. In addition to his roles at DoD, Shanahan previously Shanahan worked at Boeing, where he served as the head of Boeing Rotorcraft (now Boeing Vertical Lift) and as the senior vice president for supply chain and operations. “He brings deep knowledge  of Defense policy, strategy, technology, supply chain and  operations that will strengthen our Board,” said John Manley, chair of CAE’s board of directors, in a statement.

Jaunt Adds to Advisors

Jaunt Air Mobility announced on April 5 that Calin Rovinescu and Mitch Garber have joined the company as investors and advisors.

Rovinescu (L), Garber (R)

Rovinescu served as the president and CEO of Air Canada between 2009 and 2021 and as the chairman of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board. “We are extremely pleased to have someone of Calin’s extraordinary business and Rovinescu aviation experience support Jaunt Air Mobility,” said Martin Peryea, CEO at Jaunt.

Garber is a global technology and growth capital investor who has successfully made early-stage investments in numerous companies. He serves on the executive committee of the National Hockey League (NHL) Seattle Kraken and as the chairman of Invest in Canada.

“Mitch’s business acumen, experience with emerging businesses and insight into tomorrow’s technologies will add enormous value to the future success of the Jaunt Journey,” said Eric Côté, president of Jaunt Canada.

Schmidt Leads Sikorsky Engineering & Technology


Steve Schmidt has been appointed as Vice President of Engineering and Technology for Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company. He replaces Mike Ambrose who took a new role as the Sikorsky Vice President of Enterprise Digital Transformation.

Steve Schmidt previously was the Chief Engineer for Heavy Lift Programs at Sikorsky, which includes both the CH-53K and CH-53E. Schmidt has been with Sikorsky for over 28 years, holding positions of increasing responsibility, including serving as the Director of Design for Sikorsky and chief engineer for the Canadian Maritime Helicopter Program (CMHP). Schmidt earned a BS in Chemical Engineering and Materials Engineering from the University of Connecticut and holds an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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