International conference

on modern airport management

 The George Washington University
Marvin Center
, Third Floor Amphitheater
800 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

   Speakers' Biographies


Fernando Alarcón Robert Kizmann
David Balderstón Arun K.R. Rao
Christopher Browne Luis F. Sosa
Ed Cleary Steven Urlass
William S. Davis Ava L. Wilkerson
Ed Dorsett Woodie Woodward
James Ferrer, Jr. Raymond Ybarra



Fernando Alarcón

Fernando Alarcón, Jr. is a Fire Captain of the Laredo Fire Department, which he joined after graduating from the Fire Academy in 1982. His experience and expertise have led him to become an Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting instructor.

Mr. Alarcón has held such positions as President of the International Association of Firefighters and Head of the Fire Department Rescue Team. He is currently Vice-Chairman of the Fire Department Pension. He is a certified Safety Officer (National Fire Academy), and is also an International Bilingual Training Instructor.

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David Balderstón

Dave Balderstón is the Special Assistant for System Safety Risk Management of the Office of the Assistant Administrator for System Safety. Mr. Balderstón has been part of the FAA safety office staff since 1989. Prior to joining the Federal Aviation Administration he was a program analyst in the General Accounting Office.

Mr. Balderstón graduated from Haverford College with a B.A. After serving two years in the U.S. Army, he returned to school and earned a Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University.

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Christopher Browne

Christopher Browne is Vice-President and Airport Manager of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, a position he has held since 1998. As Airport Manager, Mr. Browne implements an annual Operations and Maintenance budget of over $40 million and manages the work of over 280 employees. Before his current appointment, he served as the Manager of Operations at Reagan National for over ten years.

Mr. Browne graduated from Dartmouth College in 1980, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in History. After graduation, Mr. Browne served in the U.S. Navy, graduating from the Navy Fighter Weapons School in 1985 and reaching the rank of Lieutenant. He was awarded the Navy’s Commendation Medal for excellent performance. He obtained his FAA Airport Certification in 1989 and is working on his Master of Aeronautical Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Andrews Air Force Base campus).

Mr. Browne is Associate member of the American Association of Airport Executives and recently retired from the U.S. Naval Reserves as a Commander.

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Ed Cleary

In 1995, Ed Cleary transferred to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Airport Safety and Standards, assuming the position of FAA Staff Wildlife Biologist. Mr. Cleary’s primary responsibility in this position is to direct and manage the FAA’s wildlife aircraft strike reduction program. This is a multi-faceted program that involves both national and international responsibilities.

Mr. Cleary came to the FAA with extensive experience and education in wildlife biology. He graduated from Humboldt State University at Arcata, California with a degree in Wildlife Biology and Range Management. After graduation, Mr. Cleary work for the North American School of Conservation and Ecology in Anaheim California, where he taught Wildlife Management and related courses.

In 1974, Mr. Cleary went to work for the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, in Fort Benton, Montana, where he helped conduct crop and soils research work directed at detecting, controlling, and preventing saline seeps. In 1978, Mr. Cleary transferred to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Animal Damage Control. While with the Animal Damage Control program, he was stationed at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana; Bismarck, North Dakota; and Sandusky, Ohio.

Mr. Cleary is a National Wildlife Society Certified Wildlife Biologist. He has conducted Wildlife Hazard Assessments and developed Wildlife Hazard Management Plans for numerous airports.

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William S. Davis

Mr. Davis serves as the Director of the Office of Runway Safety with the mission to reduce the severity and frequency of runway incursions in the National Airspace System.

Previously, Mr. Davis served as the FAA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Civil Aviation Security, from November 1998 to March 2001.  During 1997 to 1998, he was an aviator with the Federal Express Corporation.   Prior to his commercial aviation experience, Mr. Davis served as an officer and aviator in the U.S Coast Guard, culminating his military career as Chief, U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Safety. 

Mr. Davis earned his Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and his Master’s degree from the United States Naval Postgraduate School.

He is an airline transport pilot who is rated to fly multi-engine jet, turboprop, and helicopter aircraft.

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Ed Dorsett

Ed Dorsett is an airport safety and compliance specialist in the FAA Airport Safety and Operations Division. This division is the principal office responsible for developing and implementing safety and emergency operations plans at airports and for certification of airports. Mr. Dorsett’s primary responsibilities are to plan, design, develop, establish and monitor airports programs to meet assigned goals and objectives.

Mr. Dorsett has held various positions in the FAA since joining that agency in 1990, including Airport Manager for the Runway Safety Program and Airport Safety and Compliance Specialist. He also served as an initial FAA cadre member of the Department of Transportation Crisis Management Center. Before working at the FAA, Mr. Dorsett was the Airport Manager in Garden City, Kansas and Assistant Airport Manager in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He received a B.S. in Business Administration from Arkansas Tech.

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James Ferrer, Jr.

James Ferrer, Jr. is the founder and director of the Center for Latin American Issues-CLAI, at The George Washington University. The Center was established in 1992 to help expand the University’s Latin American Studies Program; to stimulate the preparation of scholarly publications and articles on Latin America; to conduct educational training programs; and to encourage debate on major political, economic, and social issues affecting Latin America. Dr. Ferrer was a director of VASP Brazilian Airlines, responsible for the United States, Canada, and Asia.

From 1986 until 1990, he was the Deputy U.S. Ambassador and Acting Ambassador in Brazil. His main duties were to set overall policy goals, work programs and resource allocation. From 1979 to 1983, he was the director of the Office of Aviation and Communication Affairs for the Department of State. While at the Department, he conducted or oversaw negotiations with more than fifty countries and traveled extensively to expand U.S. airline operating rights. Dr. Ferrer worked as a Director of Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon from 1975 to 1979. His main duties were to oversee United States economic/commercial interests during Portugal’s chaotic 1975 revolution. In addition to the foreign diplomatic positions mentioned above, Dr. Ferrer directed the economic/commercial section at the U.S. consulate in Rio de Janeiro, served in the economic sections of the U.S. embassies in Buenos Aires and Santiago, directed the "Brazil Desk" at the State Department, worked in the Intelligence and Research Bureau of the State Department, and served in the administrative offices of the Latin American Bureau. Dr. Ferrer obtained his Ph.D. in Latin American History from the University of California at Berkeley, his Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies from the same university, and his M.P.A. in Economics from Harvard University.

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Robert Kizmann

Robert Kizmann graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the Daytona Beach, Florida campus in 1984. He majored in both Aviation Management and Aeronautical Studies and completed FAA ground schools through Commercial Instrument Instructor. During summer breaks from college, Mr. Kizmann interned with New York Air, Butler Aviation, American Airlines and Triangle Maintenance in various aviation capacities at LaGuardia, Kennedy International and Newark International Airports.

Upon graduation, Mr. Kizmann went to work for the State of Maryland at the Maryland Aviation Administration. He held various management positions with Airport Operations at both Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) and Martin State Airports and ultimately was responsible for operational planning and oversight of a 2.8 billion dollar construction expansion at BWI Airport, as well as direct supervision of 12 Airport Operations Duty Managers.

In 2002, Mr. Kizmann went to work for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) as an Airport Duty Manager. His primary responsibility is to keep DCA within Federal Aviation Administration’s FAR Part 139 (Airport Certification) compliance and the daily operational management of the Airport.

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Arun K.R. Rao

Mr. Arun K.R.RAO is the Chief of the Aerodromes, Air Routes and Ground Aids (AGA) section in the Air Navigation Bureau of ICAO. As Chief of the AGA section in ICAO’s Air Navigation Bureau, he is responsible for maintaining the currency of Annex 14 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Mysore University, India and a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering with specialization in Highway and Airport Engineering from the M.S. University of Baroda, India.

He has thirty years experience as an Airport Engineer in planning, designing and constructing airports in India and abroad. The time has included ten years in India and other time in Mauritius, in the Maldives (twice), and in Guyana. He has worked in Montreal since 1994. His work has also taken him to the Sudan, Algeria and Nauru (Central Pacific). He has worked for the British Commonwealth Secretariat’s technical assistance programme - the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC) as Runway Construction Engineer (1987-1990) in Guyana, followed by another assignment with ICAO’s Technical Co-operation Bureau as an Aerodrome Engineer/Chief Technical Adviser in the Maldives (1990-1992).

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Luis F. Sosa

Luis F. Sosa, Jr., is Fire Chief of the city of Laredo, Texas, a position he has held since 1976. In addition to his duties as Fire Chief, Mr. Sosa has provided extensive training to Firefighters in the United States and Latin America. He instructed Fire Technology for ten years at Laredo Community College. He also worked for ten years as an instructor at Texas A&M Fire Spanish School. He has provided training for Central and South America in Hazmat, Airport, and Firefighting, especially in Venezuela, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. He provides training and sometimes equipment to Firefighters in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico and other Mexican sister cities. His efforts focus on improving weaknesses in training, equipment, communications and field networking.

Mr. Sosa is certified as a Master Instructor in Firefighter Training. He holds a BA from Texas A&M University at Laredo.

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Steven Urlass

Steven Urlass is an airport planner in the Federal Aviation Administration’s National Planning Division, Airport Capacity Branch in Washington Headquarters. His responsibilities include providing guidance on planning issues as they might affect the nation’s airports. He is involved with providing guidance on airport master planning and terminal building planning, including the updating of both Advisory Circulars on these topics. He is also responsible for formulating activities associated with airport capacity enhancement, technological effects on airports, ground access, and airport system condition and performance. He began his FAA career in 1989 as a Community Planner in the New York Airports District Office and as an Environmental Specialist in the FAA’s Eastern Region in New York. Prior to joining the FAA, Mr. Urlass spent several years as an aviation consultant in the private sector and with The City of New York. He has a degree in Air Commerce/Transportation Technology from Florida Tech and is a licensed pilot.

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Ava L. Wilkerson

Ava Wilkerson is the Director of International Aviation at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). She directs the development, coordination and preparation of international policies and issues that cross multiple FAA line organizations. She advises the Assistant Administrator and Administrator on US Government positions on all international safety, security and air traffic matters.

Ms. Wilkerson has held numerous management positions in the FAA. Prior to her current assignment, she served as the Deputy Director, Flight Standards Service, where she was responsible for an organization of over five thousand safety professionals. She was also the Manager of the Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Division and Special Assistant to the Director of the Aircraft Certification Service. Ms. Wilkerson represented the FAA on safety issues to the National Civil Aviation Review Commission. She chaired two research and engineering panels to facilitate line-of-business consensus on prioritization, and negotiated funding for research projects required by regulations and certification.

Prior to joining the FAA, Ms. Wilkerson worked for nearly a decade in quality assurance with the Defense Contract Management District Office in California. Her outstanding results were recognized when she received the International Defense Contract Administration Service Quality Assurance Representative of the Year.

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Woodie Woodward

Woodie Woodward was appointed associate administrator for airports in 2002. Dr. Woodward administers the annual federal airport grant program, which is $3.4 billion for fiscal year 2003, and is responsible for various aspects of national airport planning, including safety standards, design and engineering.

Prior to her current appointment, Dr. Woodward served as director of the FAA Center for Management Development. Appointed to that position in October 1993, she was responsible for providing non-technical training for FAA supervisors and managers as well as specialized training for non-supervisory FAA employees.

Dr. Woodward also served as acting chief of staff and acting associate administrator for former FAA Administrator Jane F. Garvey. She previously worked in the Southern Region as deputy regional administrator, and as executive assistant to the FAA Deputy Administrator. Before joining the FAA in 1987, Woodward was chief of staff to U.S. Senator Mack Mattingly.

Dr. Woodward holds Masters and Doctorate degrees in Administration and Personnel Management from the University of Kansas, and a Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University.

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Raymond Ybarra

Raymond Ybarra has been Representative and Director of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for North America, Central America and the Caribbean since 1995. In this position he is responsible for planning, fostering and executing all ICAO Programs and Plans in the Mexico City Office area of accreditation. Mr. Ybarra serves as the Secretary of the GREPECAS Regional Planning and Implementation Group for the Caribbean and Latin America. He is also Secretary of the Canada/Mexico/U.S. CNS/ATM Working Group.

Prior to the posting with ICAO, Mr. Ybarra served with the U.S. FAA for 29 years. His assignments there included Director of the FAA Office Representative in Rio de Janeiro where his mission was to discharge the responsibilities of the FAA in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. He also served as Deputy Chief, Area Manager and Evaluation and Proficiency Development Specialist at the Balboa ATS Facility in Panama. Mr. Ybarra graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso.

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