A strong relationship exists between South Carolina’s economy and aviation. South Carolina’s system of airports helps to both lead and sustain growth and economic diversification. At the SCAA Annual Airports Conference, professionals from around the state meet to learn the latest in aviation technology and management practices, connect with one another and hear what’s upcoming from state and federal agencies.

SCAA Annual Conference
February 14 – 16, 2024
Marriott Grande Dunes Resort & Spa
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Education Sessions
Thursday, February 15, 2024

9:15 a.m. FAA Annual Update – Download Presentation

Get the latest update from the Federal Aviation Administration including new initiatives that will impact airport operations.

Meet the Speakers

Michael O’Harra
Michael O’Harra was appointed Regional Administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Southern Region in January 2018. Based in Atlanta, He is the senior agency official within the eight-state region including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

He has over 30 years of experience in the aviation and space industry, which includes leadership on major capacity and policy initiatives for the FAA, and previous positions in private industry.

Steven Hicks
Steven E. Hicks is Director of the Office of Airports for Southern Region, FAA’s largest region. As Director, Mr. Hicks is responsible for the implementation of Airports National Aviation Transportation Policy. Mr. Hicks administers an annual Airport Improvement Progam (AIP) budget of over $600 million and a Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) Program of $700 million.  He is responsible for Airport Certification and Safety Programs, Airport Design, Airport Compliance, and Environmental requirements, for over 550 National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) airports, in the eight states and two U.S. Territories’ (U.S.  Islands and Puerto Rico). Additionally, he provides direct support to FAA Global International Leadership Initiatives for enhancing aviation safety in the Caribbean.

Parks Preston
Parks Preston is the Manager of the Atlanta Airports District Office. During his 20 years at the Atlanta ADO, he served as Assistant ADO Manager, Aviation Planner, and Environmental Protection Specialist. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation. He is an Army veteran and an instrument rated multi-engine commercial pilot. He is married with five children and four grandchildren.

10:00 a.m. SC Aeronautics Commission Annual Update – Download Presentation

How did aviation in SC fare in 2023, and what is on tap for 2024? Find out when you attend this annual update session.

Meet Gary Siegfried

Gary Siegfried is the Executive Director of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission. In this role, Gary leads the state agency that oversees South Carolina’s public airport system and manages the state’s executive aircraft fleet. He previously served SC Aeronautics Commission as Interim Executive Director and as Program Manager.

Gary has a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois and is a registered professional engineer in the State of South Carolina. He has focused the vast majority of his career on airport engineering and project management, having spent 26 years as an airport consultant before joining SC Aeronautics Commission in 2016.

11:15 a.m. Leveraging Data Sources for Every Airport – Download Presentation

Learn about the data sources available to South Carolina airport operators and learn how to access this important information. Panelists will share practical uses to data sources are available to SC airport operators.

Meet the Panelists

Matthew Baker
Matthew Baker began his career in Aviation with Wilbur Smith Associates in 2002. After spending time at WK Dickson in the Aviation Group, he found a home at the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission in 2011 and spent 11 years building the agency’s GIS and UAS programs. Following a brief stint at Lee County Electric Coop GIS department in Florida, Matthew found his way back to the aviation community with Arora Engineers. He has since spent time building Enterprise Asset Management programs for various PART 139 airports, configuring ArcGIS Indoors at ATL airport, and various other GIS solutions for clients around the country.

Paul Bishop
Serving as a Technical Domain Expert in LiDAR for NV5, Paul Bishop has over 30 years of experience working with all aspects of NV5’s Aerial LiDAR acquisition and processing, including working with many of the primary software packages. His experience includes all phases of the geospatial process including flight planning, survey, collection, and final product delivery. He assists in many of the firms LiDAR processing projects.  aul has primary responsibility for all LiDAR Obstruction Management projects throughout the US.  He has been integral in the development, testing, and implementation of NV5’s LiDAR Aviation Analysis toolset for obstruction management.

David Grigg
David is the Aviation Program Director for NV5 Geospatial and supports airport projects nationwide with all things geospatial.  His experience includes acquiring and analyzing data that complies with the latest FAA Advisory Circulars for projects ranging from obstruction analysis and airport base mapping to GIS solutions. With over 20 years of relevant experience, David specializes in the delivery of geospatial technical services to airports. David holds a Biology degree from Winthrop University and a Master’s Degree in Earth Science & Environmental Resource Management from the University of South Carolina and he is a URISA certified GIS Professional.

Stephanie Ward
As an aviation planning manager for Mead & Hunt, Stephanie Ward oversees the development of planning projects for airports, as well as state and federal agencies. Stephanie has more than 32 years of experience in the aviation industry and has been heavily involved in all aspects of aviation during that time. As a private pilot since the late 1980s, Stephanie is passionate about working with communities and airport sponsors to keep airports viable. She was the principal investigator for ACRP Report 259 regarding tree mitigation around airports – a topic she is heavily involved in with a number of her client airports. Stephanie holds a bachelor’s degree in urban planning and a master’s degree in Parks and Recreation Resources from Michigan State University, and she is a certified member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

12:45 p.m. Growth & Development at Florence Regional Airport – Download Presentation

Florence Regional Airport is bringing electrical charging stations to the airport, impacting the community’s economic growth and development. Hear from some key players in this initiative, including Duke Power, Beta Technologies and others.

Meet the Panelists

Kweku Brown
Kweku Brown is an Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Citadel. He is a member of both the National and South Carolina Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).  He is currently a member of two Transportation Research Board (TRB) committees: Statewide/National Transportation Data & Information Systems (AED10) and; Geospatial Acquisition Technologies in Design and Construction (AKD70). He is very active in engineering education, professional organizations, and community engagement and has represented The Citadel at national capacity-building workshops. Dr. Brown is the current chair of the AASHTO GIS-T Student Paper Competition. Dr. Brown has written and collaborated with colleagues on many engineering education publications and is currently the committee chair of the Graphics Division for the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Southeastern section. He works on South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) projects on safety, access management, and traffic operations. Additionally, his research focuses on transportation safety using geospatial analysis methods, transportation, health and the built environment, and engineering education.

Robbie Cook
Robbie Cook has been with Duke Energy for 11 years and is currently part of the Grid Readiness Electrification Transportation team, where he works to ensure grid readiness for fleet and depot-charging customers. Before this he held positions with Duke’s Smart Saver Custom Energy Efficiency program, Large Account Management, as well as Distribution Major Projects.

Before Duke Energy, he spent approximately 15 years in the manufacturing sector with Sealed Air Corp.

Robbie has degrees in Applied Physics from Wofford College and Electrical Engineering from the University of South Carolina. 

Louis Dessau
Louis Dessau was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. Fluent in English, French, Spanish, and Danish his career involved international experiences first in industry and later in academia. He has an MBA from the prestigious ESCP Business School of Paris, France, and a BS in Business from Florida State University. Currently chief exploration officer for Dessau International, Inc. he serves as a commissioner for Jim Hamilton, JB Owens Airport and is a second lieutenant of the Columbia Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol and EAA chapter 242. He completed student pilot certification in 1982 in Houston, Texas.

Dan Nale, Ph.D.
Dan D. Nale, Ph.D. is a professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at The Citadel in Charleston, SC.  He is a graduate of The Citadel.  He received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of South Carolina and is a registered professional engineer with more than thirty-five years of experience in aerospace, aircraft development, program management, planning, development, and design of business aircraft. Dr. Nale retired in 2019 from Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation as Sr. Vice President of Programs, Engineering and Tests. Leading up to his finale position with Gulfstream, Dr. Nale served as vice president of Advanced Aircraft Programs, of Engineering and Technology, of Mid-Cabin Programs. Before joining Gulfstream, he worked as a stress engineer on the space shuttle wing program for Grumman Aerospace Corporation.

John C. Ryan, Ph.D., P.E.
John C. Ryan, PhD, PE, is an assistant professor of civil engineering at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. He provides structural foundation engineering services through Ryan Structural Engineers LLC. He is actively involved with prestressed concrete pile research through PCI. He obtained his doctorate in civil engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., in 2006.

Nate Ward
Nate Ward is the lead of the Charging Network Development Team  at BETA Technologies, a Vermont-based aerospace company developing electric aircraft to serve both cargo and passenger missions. In this role, Nate manages the  of BETA’s multimodal aircraft charging network, working to deploy charging stations and vertiports – both of which are products developed in-house by the BETA team – across the U.S. In his role, Nate also supports BETA’s broader business development efforts and partners with several AAM government engagement groups across the industry. Before joining BETA, Nate worked for nearly two decades as a commercial and residential real-estate broker in Washington DC and has experience leading large teams across multiple disciplines. Nate is also an active private pilot and is currently working on his instrument rating.

2:15 p.m. Airport Development Update – Download Presentation

Join SC Aeronautics Commission for an update on airport development issues statewide.

Meet Christopher Eversmann

Christopher S. Eversmann, Airport Development Program Manager at the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his role. Born in New York and raised in Virginia, he served as an Engineer Officer in the Marine Corps. After his distinguished military service Chris settled in the South Carolina Lowcountry and began his professional journey in a local government Public Works department.

In 2002, Christopher relocated with his family to Columbia. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of South Carolina and has experience in both the private and public sectors. Before joining the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission in October 2023, he served as the Airport Manager at the Jim Hamilton – LB Owens Airport (CUB) in Columbia. During much of this period, he also held the role of County Deputy Director of Public Works. Christopher is a Registered Professional Engineer in South Carolina and an Accredited Airport Executive from AAAE.


3:15 p.m. Advanced Air Mobility – Download Presentation

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) is a rapidly-emerging, new sector of the aerospace industry which aims to safely and efficiently integrate highly automated aircraft into the NAS. From concept to practice, panelists will cover the strategic implementation of Innovate 28, airspace management, and what airports should be doing to prepare for this next generation of aviation.

Meet the Panelists

Brent Klavon
Brent Klavon is the Chief Strategy Officer of ANRA Technologies and is engaged in numerous international projects related to enabling uncrewed system operations. He is well-versed in the nexus between policy, regulations, standards, technology, and social acceptance. A retired US Navy pilot, he is an FAA-certified Commercial Pilot and Remote Pilot. 

William Stanton 
William “Bill’ Stanton is the President and CEO of SC-Alastor Consulting and a Senior Consultant for Emerging Technologies Strategy and Policy at P17 Solutions. Bill’s work is key in the integration of Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) systems and platforms into the National Airspace System, influencing policy and strategy development in coordination with the FAA, DoD, and industry leaders.

Bill’s work portfolio–gained over 35 years of operational air traffic management and program leadership—comprises the development of airspace rulemaking, policy, and procedures, alongside enabling services that cater to both legacy aviation and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) activities across various classes of airspace in the National Airspace System (NAS). 

Previously, Bill led UAS integration efforts within the FAA Air Traffic Organization and served as Chair of their UAS Executive Leadership Team. His diverse background includes roles as Senior Advisor to Policy and Strategy, Manager – UAS and Commercial Space, Air Traffic Manager, Lead Investigator for aviation audits and incidents, and a respected tenure in the United States Marine Corps.

Basil Yap
Basil Yap is an investor, engineer and consultant with a profound passion for aviation. With more than 15 years of experience, he is nationally recognized as a leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and advanced air mobility (AAM). His journey in aviation is marked by a curious and innovative mindset, driving him to continually design and build groundbreaking solutions in the aerospace field.

As the former UAS Program Manager for NCDOT, Yap led an award-winning initiative that pioneered routine medical package delivery operations across the nation. As a founding member and the current President of AeroX, he plays a pivotal role in cultivating the AAM ecosystem in North Carolina, securing funding to build an AAM ecosystem in the state.

In addition to his entrepreneurial ventures as a Partner at Aero X Ventures, Yap serves as Vice President of Hovecon Consulting, where he provides expertise in emerging aviation technologies. His strategic insights are recognized on a national scale through his appointments to NASA’s Aeronautics Research and Technology Roundtable and the Smith Reynold’s Airport Board, where he contributes to shaping the future of UAS, eVTOL technology, and Urban Air Mobility.

Yap holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University. He resides in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with his family.

Friday, February 16, 2024

8:45 p.m. FAA Awards

Celebrate South Carolina’s top pilots, technicians, and FAASTeam Representatives as we honor those being recognized by the FAA.

9:00 a.m. Economic Outlook: 2024 State of the State – Download Presentation

Get an update on the state of South Carolina’s economy and what to expect in 2024. Economist Joey Von Nessen will break down where we are and where we are heading, with insight on how it will impact airports in South Carolina.

Meet Joseph Von Nessen

Joseph C. Von Nessen
Joseph C. Von Nessen is a research economist in the Division of Research at the Darla Moore School of Business where he specializes in regional economics, regional economic forecasting, and housing economics. He regularly conducts a wide variety of economic impact analyses, feasibility studies, and independent market research projects for clients in both the private and public sectors.

Von Nessen engages in industry-level and regional economic forecasting for organizations at the state, national and international levels. He has served as lead researcher on projects with clients as diverse as Sonoco, BlueCross BlueShield, Michelin, Boeing, and the Savannah River National Lab, among others. He has also been the recipient of many grants from both local and national sources, including the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Von Nessen is also responsible for the preparation and presentation of the University of South Carolina’s annual statewide economic forecast. He serves on the advisory committee of the South Carolina Board of Economic Advisors and is regularly invited to brief the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on economic conditions in South Carolina. He frequently appears on programs at national conventions, including the International Builders Show, the 21st Century Building Expo, and the North American Regional Science Council and its subsidiaries.

In addition, Von Nessen specializes in housing economics and residential real estate and provides economic and marketing research and consulting services to builders, developers and other businesses in the housing industry on a regular basis. His recent academic research has focused on the application of hedonic house price modeling to the housing industry. He is a member of the National Association of Home Builders and is actively involved with the local branches of the Home Builders Association and the Association of REALTORS throughout South Carolina.

Von Nessen is a frequent speaker for business and government leaders throughout the southeast, providing information and consultation about business, housing markets and local economies. He also makes frequent media appearances to discuss various local economic topics of interest.

10:00 a.m. Project Showcase – Download Presentation

Completing a project on time and in-budget can be a challenge, especially with today’s construction costs and delays. Learn how one airport did just that with minimal disruption to operations, ensuring the airport continued contributing to the economic impact in its county.

Meet the Speakers

Denise Bryan
Denise Bryan’s career in commercial aviation spans more than 15 years, with 8 years totaling at Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Birmingham International Airport, and Augusta Regional Airport before coming to Fairfield County as Airport Director.She holds membership in the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and a Certified Member (C.M.) designation from the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). She is a currently serving her second term on the SCAA Board of Directors. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in professional aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and an Associate’s degree in aviation administration from Georgia State University. Denise has her private pilot’s license and owns a Cessna 210.

Andy Busbee
Andy helps to make a difference for his airport clients and the communities he serves.  He graduated with his BS in Civil Engineering from the University of South Carolina in 1995.  While still in college, he began his professional career in 1993 when he started as an intern and then, after graduating, joined the firm’s Aviation Unit full-time as an junior engineer.  Over 30 years later, he still works for the same firm, now Michael Baker International.  He has risen through the ranks and is now the firm’s South Carolina Aviation Operations Manager.  He takes great pride in his team’s work, which has won many awards through the years (ACEC, ACPA, CESC, NAPA, etc.) and values the trust his clients place in his experience.  Andy has served 3 terms on the SCAA Board of Directors and loves the aviation community.  Andy is a native of South Carolina and still lives in the same small town in which he grew up.  He is married with children (and grandchildren) and enjoys spending time outdoors and with family.

Get More Info

PO Box 80994 Charleston, SC 29416 (877) 359-7222 scaa@scaaonline.com