2020 Fall Conference Speakers and Moderators

More Speaker and Moderator Information Coming Soon 

State of the State

NYS Assemblymember

General Session: Air Service Development and Industry Update

Moderator: Mark Heefner- Greater Binghamton Airport

Mark Heefner is the Commissioner of Aviation for the Greater Binghamton Airport. He was recently appointed in May 2019. As the Commissioner of Aviation he is responsible for the overall direction of the Airport, airline recruitment, economic development, capital projects, employees, and interfacing with the community. He served as the Deputy Commissioner through May 2015-2019. As the Deputy Commissioner he was responsible for the daily operations and security of BGM, a commercial service airport with a healthy mix of scheduled service and General Aviation operations. At BGM, Mark has overseen several Capital Improvements, large scale events such as Air Shows and Honor Flights, and has worked to increase employee efficiency. From 2011 to 2015 Mark was the Assistant Superintendent of Airport Operations at CKB. There he was responsible for daily operations, Airport Security as an Airport Security Coordinator and Ground Security Coordinator, and Station Manager for Allegiant Airlines. He also served as an Adjunct Professor from 2011-2015 in various courses of Aviation Studies for Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community and Technical College. 

Will Berchelmann - Volaire, Director, Air Service Development

With over 20 years in the airline industry, Will is a seasoned air service development consultant and former airline network planner with extensive hands-on experience in market forecasting and planning, industry analysis, codeshare planning, revenue management, and schedule production.

Prior to joining the Volaire Aviation team, Will was Principal—Air Service Development at Crawford, Murphy & Tilly (CMT). Before CMT, Will was a founding member of Ailevon Pacific Aviation Consulting, where he spent six years working alongside his business partners to grow the firm from a domestic-only entity into a successful global practice. At Ailevon, he was responsible for a wide variety of domestic and international air service development projects, ranging from small regional markets to large FAA hubs. Will also worked as a Senior Consultant at Sabre Airline Solutions, working closely with airports and their airline partners.

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Michael Mooney Managing Partner- Volaire

Mike is well known in the industry, with 35 years of airline and air service development experience. He started in the industry straight out of college as a ramp and ticket agent for various commuter airlines, eventually gaining his dispatcher license and learning the fine art of air crew scheduling and planning. Mike was one of the original employees of Midwest Airlines, hired in 1984. At Midwest, he rose from Chief Dispatcher to Vice President of Planning, Pricing and Revenue Management. He spent 20 years with the airline, from 1984 to 2003. Mike then moved to air service development consulting, spending the last 14 years working with dozens of clients all over North America. He is one of the nation’s most respected experts in small airport air service development and strategic planning.

Mike has been named to the US Department of Transportation’s Working Group on Improving Air Service to Small Communities. Mike has a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Transportation from the University of Dubuque. He lives in Evergreen, CO outside of Denver with his wife, Kelly, and two wonderful horses. 

Keynote Speaker

NASA Astronaut Douglass H. Wheelock (Colonel, U.S. Army, Ret.) 

Douglas H. Wheelock was selected by NASA in 1998. The retired Colonel has accumulated more than 178 days in space. Wheelock flew on STS-120 in 2007, and in 2010, he served as a Flight Engineer for Expedition 24 and commander for Expedition 25. During this mission, Wheelock conducted three unplanned spacewalks to replace a faulty ammonia pump module. The New York native holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Science and Engineering from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York and a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia.

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General Session: UAS Programs and Developments

Moderator: Grant W. Sussey, C.M.- Watertown International Airport

Since arriving at Watertown International Airport as the Airport Manager, Grant has propelled unprecedented growth and expansion at the airport.  He is a licensed commercial pilot, certified flight instructor, NYS licensed outdoor guide, amateur radio operator, and a small unmanned aircraft system pilot. Grant has previously worked in either airport operations or management at the Orange County Airport and the Albany International Airport before coming to Watertown in November of 2013. 

In his tenure at Watertown, he has overseen the construction of a number of major airfield infrastructure improvements including a new Business Center & FBO facility, a runway extension, as well as numerous other  hangar, taxiway,  and runway improvements. Grant has also overseen numerous rehabilitations and expansions to the passenger terminal, the construction of a new ARFF building, as well as security and access control system improvements.

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Speaker: Scott McDonnell- Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

Scott McDonnell is the Aviation Coordinator and a Research Scientist for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Mr. McDonnell has provided internal guidance for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) program development, aircraft suitability, aviation safety, and budget management for the Department’s aviation needs. In addition to internal components of resource management, Mr. McDonnell has acted as liaison with the New York State Police Aviation Unit regarding aviation budget planning, resource management, and MOU development between agencies. 

Mike Passaretti - ULC Robotics

Mike Passaretti is the Director of Aerial Services for ULC Robotics, a company developing technology and commercial services for the utility and energy industries. Under Mike's leadership, ULC is building an unmanned aircraft services business by working closely with industry partners, developing purpose-built aircraft systems, training crews and establishing long term relationships with customers. The mission of ULC Aerial Services is to provide high-value UAS services to the utility and energy industry that improve safety, reduce costs and provide high-quality actionable data. 

 Prior to his work at ULC, Mike worked in the aerospace and defense industry developing technology notably for NASA's Mars exploration missions and DARPA. Three of Mike's projects have operated on the surface of Mars. One project is aboard the Phoenix Lander which completed its mission in 2007, and two other mechanisms that support the robotic science laboratory aboard the Curiosity Rover, which landed in 2012 and are still operating today.  Mike received his Bachelor of Science in computer engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in a hybrid electrical engineering and computer science program. 

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General Session: Best Practices for Detoxing Public Engagement

Moderator: Jeffrey R. Wood, CSDP- McFarland Johnson, Inc.

Jeffrey R. Wood, CSDP is Vice President and serves in multiple roles as Regional Director of Aviation and Director of Environmental Services at McFarland Johnson. He has 31 years of experience in the managing projects for airports throughout the eastern U.S.   In his current role, he oversees MJ’s aviation practice in New York and the Mid-Atlantic and environmental practice company wide.  His experience includes managing Airport Master Plan Updates, NEPA documents for a wide range of transportation improvement projects.  Additionally, he assists airport clients with capital program management, including project formulation and sequencing, financial implementation planning, funding strategies, and grants administration.    

Jennifer Zorn, AICP - McFarland-Johnson, Inc.

Forward-thinking, public engagement professional with a 30-year record of success in developing and implementing innovative public engagement techniques and strategies for public and private sector clients in the AEC industry. Has a passion for working with the public, governmental agencies and project stakeholders, leading engagement efforts that result in optimal project outcomes.  Earned a reputation for excellence among clients and agencies by applying her broad range of skills such as acting in the role of liaison between the client, multi-disciplinary staff, regulatory agencies, and public stakeholders and conflict resolution.

General Session: COVID-19: Pandemic Response in Airports, Communities, and Beyond
Moderators: Christina R. Callahan, C.M. - Laguardia Airport & Pasquale DiFulco - Port Authority of NY & NJ

Christina R. Callahan, CM, is currently the Deputy General Manager at LaGuardia Airport (LGA).  Prior to joining the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in February 2019, Ms. Callahan was the Executive Director of the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority (SRAA), a position she held since 2014.  Prior to assuming that role, she served as the City of Syracuse Commissioner of Aviation from 2011 until 2014. 

 During Ms. Callahan’s time in Syracuse, her vision and leadership transformed Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR).  From overseeing the airport’s governance transition from a City-managed, to an Authority-managed, facility, to building an organization from the ground-up, Ms. Callahan lead the way revitalizing and shaping SYR into the 21st century airport it is today. In 2014, when the FAA approved the SRAA Part 139 Operating Certificate, Ms. Callahan became the SRAA’s first Executive Director and, to this day, the only woman to manage Syracuse Hancock International Airport. 

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Pasquale DiFulco has been a member of the NYAMA Board of Directors since 2014. He is a former award-winning newspaper reporter and news columnist who in 2001 became chief spokesman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s five airports and the agency’s 1,600-member Police Department. His tenure in the PANYNJ’s press office was bookended by the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the WTC (which was also the PANYNJ’s headquarters at the time) and the Miracle on the Hudson. In 2009, he became Manager of Strategic Aviation Communications and Marketing for the PANYNJ’s Aviation Department and is responsible for a host of writing and editing duties that include speechwriting, media liaison, and customer communications. He is sad that he cannot attend the conference in person this year because that means no late-night dancing, but is grateful to all the virtual and in-person attendees for their continued support of the Empire State’s premier aviation organization.

Charles Everett- JFK for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Mr. Everett is the Deputy Director, Aviation and General Manager of JFK for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In this dual role he provides oversight to an executive management team of 13 senior staff members and nearly 1,500 employees, who operate a five-airport system, including John F. Kennedy International, Newark-Liberty International, LaGuardia, New York Stewart International and Teterboro Airports.  He assists in leading all aspects of airport operations, maintenance, commercial activities, redevelopment, financial services, safety, strategy, business performance and customer experience. 

Mr. Everett is a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives, a Certified Management Consultant by the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Past President of the New York Aviation Management Association, and a former member of the Board of Directors of Airports Council International - North America.

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Michael A. Ponticiello, MPA, CEM, EMT-P

Michael Ponticiello is the Director of the Office of Emergency Services in Broome County, New York. He is responsible for the office’s five divisions: Communications (911), Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Prevention and Control, and Public Safety Systems. Michael has previously served as Deputy Director and before that Emergency Management planner. He has overseen the response to and recovery from numerous disasters. In 2011, during Hurricane Lee, he served in a critical role as Broome County’s Planning Section Chief where he orchestrated the evacuation and sheltering of thousands of individuals over a four month period. Michael has extensive experience as a first responder and is a member of the New York State Incident Management Team. He currently sits on the New York State Local Emergency Management Accreditation Council. He is past President of the Southern Tier EMS Council and is a NYS Paramedic and former Instructor Coordinator. Michael holds a Master of Public Administration from Binghamton University and is a Certified Emergency Manager through the International Association of Emergency Managers. 

Cheryl Ann Albiez - Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

A Senior Public Information Officer (PIO) in Media Relations for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, whose media portfolio includes news and issues related to our airports – John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Teterboro, and Stewart International airports. I manage communications planning, response and crisis recovery messaging, media relations, events planning, and social media communications. Additionally, I coordinated special events involving the Port Authority, such as the arrival of the gold medalist US Soccer Team, Super Bowl, Solar Impulse, and the NY Air Show, as well as emergency response drills.

During my 22-year career in communications, I have combined experiences as a PIO and a Creative Director to conceptualize, orchestrate and execute integrated communications plans that effectively drive growth, reinforce brand imprint and build brand awareness, particularly in multicultural and diverse environments, as well as an adjunct graduate professor at Kean University, teaching students about the role of graphic communications in advertising.

 I hold an M.B.A. in Global Management with a specialization in Marketing, an M.S. Graphic Communications from Kean University, and a B.A. in English from Seton Hall University.

Dr. LouAnne Giangreco- Cayuga Health System in Central New York

LouAnne Giangreco, MD is the System Chief Medical Officer at Cayuga Health System in Central New York.  In April of 2020, Dr. Giangreco led a team of over 50 health professionals during a month deployment in New York City at two hospitals to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic.

LouAnne graduated from the Albany Medical College and continued her training at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse where she completed an Emergency Medicine residency in 2005. She has worked clinically in Emergency Departments throughout Central New York. In addition, she served in leadership roles within a number of these facilities, including as Chief Quality Officer and Assistant Medical Director of the Emergency Department. She has served as Chief Medical Officer for a company providing urgent care, occupational medicine and telemedicine services throughout Upstate New York as well as the Chief Medical Officer of Health Care Improvement at Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield.

Dr. Giangreco serves on the Board of Directors for the Onondaga County Medical Society and the Tompkins County Medical Society. She is the Secretary for the Fifth District of Medical Society of the State of New York. She is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Medicine and is board-certified in Emergency Medicine.

General Session: General Aviation in Today’s World

Moderator: Thomas Freeman- Elmira Airport

Tom has been involved in the Transportation and Aviation industries for over forty years. Tom founded Progressive Transportation Services Inc.  A company which provided contracted Public Transportation services in 15 New York and North Carolina communities. Progressive merged with Coach USA a Publically traded transportation company.   In 1994 Tom purchased the FBO operations in Elmira N.Y. and began a 22 year run as President of FirstAIR Group Inc.  FirstAIR was a full service FBO with locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and The Bahamas. The FBO business included 135 Charter operations as well as 145 Maintenance repair station.   Tom is currently a Commercial rated multi engine pilot with additional seaplane and helicopter ratings. Tom has served on numerous Community and industry Boards over the years. In 2019 Tom became the Director of Aviation for the Elmira Corning Regional Airport. 

Scott Bolger, CPCU, ARM- Arthur J Gallagher

Mr. Bolger is Area Executive Vice President of the aviation practice of Arthur J Gallagher. Scott has more than 25 years of experience in the aviation insurance industry and his responsibilities include the production, servicing, and marketing of a broad range of aviation clientele including major aviation manufacturers, airlines, airports, corporate flight departments, flight schools, and commercial aircraft operators.   Mr. Bolger is uniquely qualified in the aviation brokerage world in that he is commercial multi-engine flight instructor and holds an airframe and powerplant mechanic license.  Scott also successfully built and test flew his own experimental aircraft.

 Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management and an Associates Degree in Aviation Flight from Southern Illinois University.  Scott has also earned his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation and has completed his Associates Degree in Risk Management (ARM). 

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Ted W. Zabinski President/CEO - South Albany Airport

Ted Zabinski is President/CEO of South Albany Airport (4B0). South Albany Airport is a Privately Owned Public Use Airport located in Selkirk NY. 4B0 currently bases 42 fixed wing aircraft and 2 helicopters. Mr. Zabinski is also the Manager/Owner and is responsible for daily operations and maintenance. Ted oversees all infrastructure and safety improvements to the airport. He negotiated contracts with a Part 135 Air Ambulance Helicopter Service and works in coordination with a Part 61 Flight School operation both located on the airport.

Ted Zabinski hold a Private Pilot Certificate, single engine land and seaplane rating, a tailwheel endorsement, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Certificate. He is a member of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and Vintage Aircraft Association (VAA). Ted successfully completed a full restoration of a 1946 Stinson airplane and has flown it to 18 states. Mr. Ted Zabinski is dedicated to promoting aviation and the preservation of small airports throughout the country.

Richard Leppert - Seneca Flight Operations, a Division of Seneca Foods Corporation

Mr. Leppert is President and General Manager of Seneca Flight Operations, a Division of Seneca Foods Corporation (NASDAQ: SENEA, SENEB).  Seneca Flight Operations is the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at Penn Yan Airport (KPEO), and an aircraft charter and aircraft management company.  Seneca Flight Operations was established in 1956 and earned their FAA 14 CFR Part 135 Air Carrier certification in 1979.  Rich has been President and General Manager of the Division since 2003.

 Seneca Flight Operations has had a contractual arrangement with Yates County New York since 1991 to oversee all aspects and operations of the Penn Yan Airport.  Rich is Vice Chairman of the Yates County Airport Council.

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Raymond S. Detor Jr Le Roy Airport 5G0

Started Flying at Ray Hylan School of Aeronautics Inc at 14 years old, where I bartered for flying lessons from Ray Hylan

Obtained flight credentials for First Solo flight at 16 years old. My parents did not know it. Private Pilot at 17 and then, I took my Parents flying, at 18 years old I earned my Commercial Pilot Certificate, Certified Flight Instructor, Multi-Engine Land and Multi-Engine Sea Ratings. Now I could make the big bucks! $6.00 per hour!

Owned and Operated Part 141 Flight school and Part 135 Charter Department, that flew 14,000 hours a year in the Flight School and another 5,000 hours a year in the Charter Department using 33 aircraft at The Rochester Municipal Airport. Our customers included IBM, Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb, Rochester Products, Delco, “important” people, regular people, and dead people!

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General Session - Using Technology in Pandemic Mitigation Strategies

Moderator: Chad Nixon, MBA/Aviation- McFarland Johnson, Inc.

Mr. Nixon serves as President and Chairman of the Board at McFarland Johnson (MJ), a national consultancy providing program management, planning, environmental, engineering, and construction phase services for both private and public infrastructure projects large and small. Chad brings tremendous energy to the company and is consistently sought out for his innovative problem solving skills. He leads the strategic growth of MJ’s transportation, aviation, environmental and civil/facilities divisions and provides oversight relative to new services, growth opportunities and industry trends. He has a highly diverse background that includes contract negotiations, program management, and financial planning. He has performed FAA and DOD airspace liaison duties in numerous countries including Malaysia, Thailand and Oman. His areas of aviation expertise include: aviation forecasting, economic analysis, business planning, and project management.  Chad currently serves as Special Projects Manager on statewide and airport specific planning projects. 

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Jonathan McCredie, AIA, Principal- Fennick McCredie Architecture

Co-founder and managing principal of Fennick McCredie Architecture, Jonathan McCredie has over twenty-five years of experience leading a wide range of project types, specializing in aviation architecture. His project experience is broad, including over two dozen international and general aviation airports in ten states throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic region, and encompasses the many facets of programming and planning, renovation and repairs, technical and aesthetic design, project controls, and sustainability. Completed projects include Passenger Terminal, ARFF, SRE, Hangar, Parking Garage, Air Cargo, and aviation support buildings, many receiving aviation and architecture industry recognition and awards.

 Jonathan’s guiding principle is to encourage greater involvement of clients, constituents and advocates, to the benefit of both the quality of the architecture itself and its ultimate role within the community of airport passengers, tenants, operators and staff. The majority of Jonathan’s projects are complex in nature - involving renovation to active, occupied public buildings, requiring detailed phasing strategies and close coordination with all project stakeholders and building users.

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Tracy Davis- TRAX Analytics, LLC

Tracy Davis is the President and CEO of TRAX Analytics, LLC.  She has over a decade of aviation experience focused in the realm of data analytics and software services and has worked with over 75 different airports in North America. Tracy is one of the co-creators of the TRAX Analytics platform for custodial and facility management and continues to oversee the development of the data analytics solution that supports over 15 airports nationwide.



Randall M-J Edouard- Binghamton University and SUNY Broome

Randall M-J Edouard came to Binghamton University and SUNY Broome from Stony Brook University approximately 10 years ago, where he served in many capacities including assistant director, instructional coordinator, tutorial program coordinator, and summer program coordinator of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). Prior to Stony Brook University, Edouard served as the assistant dean and director of developmental education at Hofstra University in Nassau County, Long Island. Edouard earned a bachelor's and a master's degree from Hofstra University, and he is currently a doctoral student in the Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership program in the Education Department in the College of Community and Public Affairs at Binghamton. His doctoral dissertation topic is "The Journey of African American Males in Senior Level Positions in Higher Education." Prior to taking on the role of assistant vice president and interim dean of students, Edouard was the assistant vice provost for admissions and enrollment, and before that the director of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at Binghamton. Edouard's professional affiliations include the Tri-State Consortium of Opportunity Programs (TSCOP), the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC), the College Board (CB), the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers, the Association of International Educators (NAFSA), the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). As assistant vice provost for undergraduate admissions and enrollment, Edouard oversaw the university's admissions process in relation to organizational strategies by contributing information, analysis, and recommendations to strategic thinking and direction. He established functional objectives in line with organizational objectives and institutes admissions operations and recruitment strategies by evaluating trends, establishing critical measurements, determining production, productivity, quality, and customer-service strategies, designing systems, accumulating and managing resources, resolving problems, and implementing positive change. Currently, as assistant vice president for Student affairs and interim dean of students, Edouard supervises the areas of Campus Activities, Fraternity and Sorority Life, New Student Programs, Parent and Family Programs, TRiO Programs, Veterans Services, Student Affairs Compliance, and Off Campus Programs and Services. He also leads the Binghamton University Town-Gown Advisory Board (TGAB), and he is the university’s professional liaison to our two major student businesses – the Binghamton University Student Association, Inc. and the Binghamton University Graduate Student Organization, Inc.