SAFE Board Elections to Run May 19-29, 2011

The terms for three of the nine SAFE Directors is expiring. The voting process to fill these Board seats will begin at 12:00 pm EDT on May 19, 2011 and will be open until 12:00 pm EDT on May 29, 2011. If you attempt to log in before the poll actually opens, you will receive a message asking you to please check back when voting is scheduled to begin.

“Member-driven” was one of SAFE’s founding tenets. This is your organization, and we hope you will exercise your right to vote for those who you believe will represent you as our organization continues to grow and evolve. We are pleased to announce that we have nine qualified nominees running for the three seats (including the three incumbent Directors). Read the nominee profiles below.

All members in good standing will be receiving one or more email notifications from “votingplace.net” along with a link to the voting site. The verification process will ask for your email address and member ID. If you have difficulty locating this information, please take the following steps:

The email address (and other information) we have on file for you can be located in the Find a SAFE Educator state-by-state listing on the SAFE website. Your SAFE ID # is on your member ID card. If you do not yet have or cannot find your card, please contact Mark Adams asap. In order for Mark to locate you in the database, please provide the following:

  • Your Name
  • State
  • Phone Number

Providing your name alone may not be sufficient, as there could be several “Joe Pilots” in the database.

Please be sure your spam filter is configured to allow emails from “votingplace.net” to be directed into your Inbox. If you encounter any difficulty in casting your vote, please do not hesitate to let Mark know and he will make sure the problem is corrected. It is our sincere hope that there will be strong participation in this democratic process.

If you were due to renew your membership prior to the end of May and have not yet done so, please renew your membership now to ensure your right to vote in these important elections!


Tom Benenson

TBenenson@aol.com

 

Why do you want to serve on the SAFE Board of Directors?
As a founding member of the board I’ve been involved with the growth of SAFE as it’s evolved from an “upstart” to an organization recognized for its commitment to its stated mission goals. It’s been an exciting time for SAFE–and for me–and I’d like to be able to continue to contribute to the success of an organization whose goals are tantamount to ensuring the continuation of a safe and active general aviation community.

 

How will your aviation and professional background, special talents, and leadership skills help to further SAFE’s mission and goals? Please be specific.
Although my “dual given” is limited I’ve been an aviation “educator” for more than 35 years. At Flying magazine, my responsibility, in addition to writing feature stories was creating and writing the “training” section of the magazine. My monthly column “Airwork” is designed to address training and training issues. Prior to working with Flying magazine, I was the executive editor of Aviation International News, where, in addition to other responsibilities, I was responsible for the “accident” reports section which involved an effort to determine why accidents happened and how they could be prevented. Much of the writing involved interacting with the NTSB investigators.

 

What do you see as the most pressing concerns and/or tasks for SAFE’s Board of Directors in the next 3 years based on SAFE’s current mission and vision statements?
SAFE faces two inter-related concerns: the lack of improvements in the safety statistics and the dwindling number of new pilots. As aviation educators we have to work to change the culture so pilots understand the risks involved and ways to mitigate them. We also need to increase the number of SAFE members so more and more educators can benefit from the programs SAFE develops, such as our on-line  Resource Center and mentoring program.

 


Parvez Dara

dara@dnamail.com

 

Why do you want to serve on the SAFE Board of Directors?
The word “serve” defines the goal. Our organization is based on providing an enhanced knowledge through an educational environment and quality support to the Flight Instructor, so he or she may improve the flight experience for all clients. I agree and encourage the mission of life long learning for an educator, as a predicate, since new knowledge supplants past paradigms to enhance experience. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other” – JFK

 

How will your aviation and professional background, special talents, and leadership skills help to further SAFE’s mission and goals? Please be specific. Having been a long-term advocate of flight safety, I have worked as a director and officer for the MAPA Safety Foundation for close to 20 years. Educating through dissemination of information is important and thus, I have written countless articles in various magazines and some of those have been added to the SAFE  Resource Center for the membership. Additionally as a FAASTeam representative for the Philadelphia FSDO I give seminars to pilots regarding flight safety. I have received annual awards for excellence in External Service from the FAA since 2005 and named the region’s CFI of the year in 2007. These preceding efforts underscore my commitment to the cause and advocacy for flight safety, education and professional behavior of all pilots.

 

What do you see as the most pressing concerns and/or tasks for SAFE’s Board of Directors in the next 3 years based on SAFE’s current mission and vision statements?
The dynamics of the current fiscal environment will play a large role in the concept of flight safety. As a director it will be incumbent upon the individual to increase membership, provide more for less and create an atmosphere that beacons new members. Although the flight hours might decrease or stagnate until the economic downturn resolves, safety must not be sacrificed at that altar.

 


John M. Dorcey

wipilot@new.rr.com

 

Why do you want to serve on the SAFE Board of Directors?
While the SAFE board has accomplished much during its short tenure, there is much yet to be done. My personal goal, my passion, is to continue serving the organization as it moves towards accomplishing its mission.

 

How will your aviation and professional background, special talents, and leadership skills help to further SAFE’s mission and goals? Please be specific.
I am the only SAFE board member with experience in aviation maintenance and airport management. I have been involved in K-12 aviation education for more than 25 years. I am also a trained facilitator. I have served as Chief Instructor of a FIRC provider and Chief Pilot of a state aviation department. It is my multi-faceted background and training that makes my participation as a director valuable to the organization.

 

What do you see as the most pressing concerns and/or tasks for SAFE’s Board of Directors in the next 3 years based on SAFE’s current mission and vision statements?
Membership growth in SAFE has been slow and steady. The organization has primarily focused on other pressing initiatives but must make membership growth a priority. This task must be a concern not only of the board, but of every SAFE member. Expand the organization’s membership and benefit beyond the CFI. Our name includes aviation educators yet few of our members represent aviation education beyond the CFI. Aviation educators in K-12, technical schools and colleges, and their students, could benefit greatly through the SAFE organization. Develop a regional or state hierarchy that can quickly respond to local issues. These representatives would be given the tools and responsibility to represent all aviation educators in their respective area. Other potential outreach efforts might include, among others – participation in FAASTeam events, fly-ins, and K-12 school events.

 


Mark Pierce

mpierce@slackdavis.com

 

Why do you want to serve on the SAFE Board of Directors?
As a flight instructor and aviation attorney, I have a keen interest in advancing safety in aviation. I saw the disillusionment with NAFI among many of the aviation professionals whom I most admire, and from the inception of SAFE, I have been a fan of its core principals and its key players. I believe my 30-plus years of legal experience will be of value to the Board.

 

How will your aviation and professional background, special talents, and leadership skills help to further SAFE’s mission and goals? Please be specific.
I have a lawyer’s grasp of federal aviation regulations as well as many areas of federal and state substantive laws affecting aviation. I am very comfortable with public speaking. I have taught in airplanes and in ground school environments. I have served on numerous boards of directors and have chaired a board.

 

What do you see as the most pressing concerns and/or tasks for SAFE’s Board of Directors in the next 3 years based on SAFE’s current mission and vision statements?
Getting the IRS to approve our 501(c)(3) application, for which Mark Adams has taken the lead; obtaining/maintaining financial viability of the organization; partnering with other organizations to leverage SAFE’s influence in the realm of aviation safety; continuing to monitor and actively participate in FAA rule-making processes.

 


Randy Rowles

randy.rowles@nightflightconcepts.com

 

Why do you want to serve on the SAFE Board of Directors?
SAFE remains in its infancy as an organization. As a Board Member during these formidable times, I believe my participation would enhance the embracement of helicopter aviation into the organization. Helicopter aviation is a growing industry with little to no industry based mentorship opportunities for the young and influential within our community. I feel SAFE will bring these opportunities to the helicopter community and my wish is to aid in spearheading these initiatives. As a lifelong professional aviation educator, I feel I have much to offer the aviation education community. I have spent my career mentoring and giving back to the industry that has been so good to me. I believe that serving SAFE in this capacity will facilitate my desire for continued service to my peers.

 

How will your aviation and professional background, special talents, and leadership skills help to further SAFE’s mission and goals? Please be specific.
As an active member of several industry organizations, I bring diversity and common interest into the organization. A collective voice often steers the vessel. The smaller the rudder, the more important the clarity of the message to change the course. My experience in EMS, corporate, utility, and flight training have provided a well-rounded perspective of our industry. Having served the past fifteen years as a pilot examiner representing FAA interests to the pilot community, I have had a direct connection to the new and existing aviation educators affecting our industry. My DPE service has included examining hundreds of initial CFI exams, FIRC renewals, and train-the-trainer opportunities during my career. As a Board Member, I will utilize these industry activities to share the vision of SAFE to improve the overall aviation education industry.

 

What do you see as the most pressing concerns and/or tasks for SAFE’s Board of Directors in the next 3 years based on SAFE’s current mission and vision statements?
As an organization and industry combined, we must improve the ability for pilots to make good decisions. Improved decision making will reduce accidents, improve professionalism, and develop the realization of continued education throughout the aviation community. These elements make up the mission of SAFE and I share in the belief that it is all possible if we work together.

 


Ray Spengler

ray@skyparkflying.com

 

Why do you want to serve on the SAFE Board of Directors?
On 1/22/09 Doug Stewart forwarded an email from the Branding/Marketing group with a list of potential names for our new organization. After looking them over, I wanted to propose a name that denoted the top goal of all of us in the aviation community. A name that when viewed by a non-member or member of the general public outside of our aviation sphere, would unequivocally send a strong message. I suggested SAFE – Society of Aviation & Flight Educators. Two weeks later, you members also chose “SAFE” to send forward that “message” and to tell others “who we are”. I would be honored to serve to continue to champion our message of SAFE-ty in aviation.

 

How will your aviation and professional background, special talents, and leadership skills help to further SAFE’s mission and goals? Please be specific.
Managed and owned Cessna Pilot Training centers for the last 8 years. CAP Chief Check Pilot Examiner, Incident Commander for search & rescue/disaster relief missions for 12 years. CAP Group Commander with operational oversight of 670 members and 22 years spent as a classroom trainer/conference presenter with goal of imparting safety-awareness to those who have the love of aviation that we all share. Experience includes 5,400+ hours, 3,300+ hours of instruction given, FAA Master Wings, FAA Gold Seal, FAASTeam Lead Representative, FAA Advanced Ground Instructor and FAA Instrument Ground Instructor.

 

What do you see as the most pressing concerns and/or tasks for SAFE’s Board of Directors in the next 3 years based on SAFE’s current mission and vision statements?
We should facilitate/develop standards of excellence in all educational materials, reinforce & stress the training of valuable intangibles such as Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM), Risk Management, Situational Awareness, Collision Avoidance, Runway Incursion Avoidance, and Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT). Let’s strive to keep everyone SAFE! Thank you for your consideration for this very important position.

 


Joseph D. Suarez

 

Why do you want to serve on the SAFE Board of Directors?
I believe that I can be an asset to SAFE and its members and I have a desire to continue contributing to all facets aviation education in as many ways as possible. Being on the Board will give me an opportunity to work with others with similar objectives.

 

How will your aviation and professional background, special talents, and leadership skills help to further SAFE’s mission and goals?
Over the years I have been able to establish contacts with individuals in various branches of aviation education and general aviation. For example, with FAA officials in Washington DC and at the local FSDO levels, in other aviation organizations such as AOPA and the University Aviation Association. I have been instrumental in producing aviation safety and education materials, have done mentoring of flight instructors and general aviation pilots at the local level. I promote lifelong learning by personal example and encouraging others to participate in seminars, museum visits and other informal activities as well as formal education by taking on line courses or to undertake postgraduate classes.

 

What do you see as the most pressing concerns and/or tasks for SAFE’s Board of Directors in the next 3 years based on SAFE’s current mission and vision statements?
Dealing with the changing regulatory environment will be a major concern. The First Officer Qualification requirement and how this will affect flight training is one particular concern.. Also, Safety Management Systems, which is also being introduced from Part 121 operations down to general aviation will affect not only flight training operations but the training of AME’s , managers of FBO’s, control tower operations and all involved in day to day general operations. The economic climate will also be a challenge, as the costs of providing quality aviation education will probably increase forcing providers to be more imaginative and efficient in their operations. I believe that SAFE can provide some guidance in these matters.

 


Jack Vandeventer

Jack@masterinstruction.com

 

Why do you want to serve on the SAFE Board of Directors?
• Expand the base of flight instructor experience represented by SAFE membership.
• Represent the independent instructor, flight school customer and instructor membership base.
• Reinforce the voice of 16 to 80+ age customers regarding their needs to the Board and the Board’s key influence groups.
• Expand the listening, partnership mindset of the Board.
• Share the fun and enthusiasm for all aspects of aviation education.

 

How will your aviation and professional background, special talents, and leadership skills help to further SAFE’s mission and goals? Please be specific.
• My business is to open communication channels and resolve diverse conflicting experiences. There are always multiple perspectives on any situation. My strengths are finding and resolving differences to the common good of the organization. SAFE has opponents from whom we can learn and be more successful.
• Resolving conflict demands being open to conflict and the growth that it can bring. Knowing and being skilled in business practices that resolve conflict and expand successful teamwork can improve SAFE so that we are more valuable to our membership and those we seek to represent.
• I bring a 100% success rate among my customer/student pilot candidates for ratings from sport pilot to flight instructor and will share success methods with educators and customers.

 

What do you see as the most pressing concerns and/or tasks for SAFE’s Board of Directors in the next 3 years based on SAFE’s current mission and vision statements?
• The most pressing concerns are to expand the pilot base by addressing pilot starts and retention issues, to address flight safety by leading/partnering with the FAA and manufacturers, and to expand SAFE’s voice and credibility with flight educators, regulators, and marketplace.
• Additional concern is to expand the success tools available for flight educators.

 


Donna Forsyth Wilt

dfwilt@aol.com

 

Why do you want to serve on the SAFE Board of Directors?
I believe in a strong, active aviation educator organization. Fostering professionalism and safety is critical to meeting the future education demands. I believe SAFE has the potential to deliver on improving safety and professionalism in aviation and I want to be a part of that at the highest level.

 

How will your aviation and professional background, special talents, and leadership skills help to further SAFE’s mission and goals? Please be specific.
I represent several facets of the aviation education industry. I bring the perspective of a collegiate faculty member and head of a flight education program. I have experience with a small university that uses an FBO for their training and a large university that owns their own flight program. I am an active flight instructor, aircraft owner, do my own maintenance, am active in EAA and 99s, and experienced in avionics manufacturing. I have experience with several non-profit groups. This knowledge is very useful in weighing options during board meetings.

 

What do you see as the most pressing concerns and/or tasks for SAFE’s Board of Directors in the next 3 years based on SAFE’s current mission and vision statements?
(a) Delivering on the mission to provide a mentoring program, support, and professional accreditation. SAFE has developed a mentoring program that’s ready to launch and has a Resource Center of peer-reviewed material. The task now is to enable members to use these resources, realize the benefits from them, and continue to improve and expand them.
(b) Increasing professionalism. There are three issues: (1) Flight instructors who only want to build time; (2) CFIs who are only as good as those who taught them and perpetuate misinformation and poor teaching techniques; (3) The cost associated with professionalism. The high cost of training is itself a problem. Efforts to pay and treat educators as professionals are a challenge.

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