Plan your Annual Conference experience and be sure to attend these informative education sessions.

SCAA Annual Conference
February 16 – 18, 2022
Marriott Grande Dunes, Myrtle Beach

Education Sessions 
Thursday, February 17

9:15 a.m. FAA Annual Update

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

Meet Parks Preston

Parks Preston is the Assistant Manager of the Atlanta Airports District Office. During his 19 years at FAA, he served as an Aviation Planner, Environmental Specialist and Program Manager. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management. He is an Army veteran and a multi-engine commercial pilot. He is married with five children and four grandchildren.

10:00 a.m. SC Aeronautics Commission Annual Update

How did aviation in SC fare in 2021, and what is on tap for 2022? Find out when you attend this annual update session.

Meet James Stephens

James Stephens is the Executive Director of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission and is charged with managing the state’s executive aircraft fleet as well as the state airports system. He holds degrees in Aviation Management and Aircraft Maintenance from Bob Jones University, and he is a licensed Airframe & Powerplant mechanic and Private Pilot.

Prior to Aeronautics, James served as Vice President of Marketing and Sales for the Special Services Corporation in Greenville. Stephens’ past experiences also includes airport management in McMinnville, Tennessee, and aircraft maintenance in Greenville, South Carolina.

James continues to work with the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness, industry, academia, and government to promote aerospace and aviation education throughout the state and to South Carolina students. He also serves as Treasurer on the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) executive board, and will be hosting the NASAO annual conference in Greenville in September.

10:40 a.m. National Aviation Perspective

Zoom out and take a look at aviation and airport initiatives happening across the nation.

Meet Greg Pecoraro

Greg has more than 25 years of government relations and executive experience in the aviation and transportation sectors, both in government and associations. He served as vice president of government affairs for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, as assistant secretary for Administration at Maryland Department of Transportation, as well as in other key leadership positions in the public and private sectors.

In these roles, he has worked extensively across the Aviation community, with policymakers at every level of government, and with other association leaders.

11:15 a.m. Transforming Airports for Future Vertical Flying Vehicles

South Carolina airports will benefit from projecting future operational and infrastructure needs required to prepare for the growth in Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing Vehicle traffic. Generally referred to as the Advanced Air Mobility sector, AAM is projected by he Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) to have a $115 billion annual impact by 2035, adding 280,000 new jobs and $20 billion in exports by 2033. During this presentation, Dan D. Nale, Ph.D., PE, will demonstrate how he drew on 35 years experience in aerospace leadership with Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation to build a a collaboration between The Citadel’s Civil Engineering Department, and SCAA.

Meet 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 where he served as Commander of F Troop Company and as a member of the Summerall Guards, the Honor Court, Tau Beta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi. 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.

Dr. Nale’s past board and advisory roles include the following: Georgia Tech Savannah Advisory Board, Mercer University Engineering Advisory Board, Embry Riddle University Advisory Board, Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity, National Aerospace Standards Aerospace Industries Association Airworthiness Curriculum Development Committee, The Citadel Leadership Symposium, The Citadel Business School Advisory Board, The Citadel Baker Business Bowl, The Citadel ASCE Tower Design Team and The Citadel ASCE Quiz Bowl.

In addition to teaching full-time, Dr. Nale works as a technical consultant to both established and nascent aerospace firms.

Dr. Nale, in honor of the foundational education provided by The Citadel, opened a scholarship fund in 2019 to provide financial support to undergraduate students, who are both dependents of Gulfstream Aerospace employees or retirees and are pursuing a BS degree in civil, mechanical, aerospace, or electrical engineering. Priority is given to students attending The Citadel.

12:35 p.m. Showcase: Community Aviation Program

Since 2019, the Spartanburg Community Aviation Program has been introducing teens and young adults aviation. Students experience every aspect of a career in aviation, including flying, maintenance, air traffic control, engineering, and more. Take a journey through three recent cohorts of students and learn about how to replicate this program at your airport.

Meet Mary Levens

The daughter of WWII pilot and a First Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps, Mary Levels is a military brat who moved every 18 months to three years. Mary first flew across the Atlantic Ocean at age five, igniting a love of aviation.

Mary holds a degree in K-8 education and taught in public school for 43 years, where she was a curriculum writer for a forensic Science elective in middle school. She has also taught adult education in preparation for the GED exam.

Mary is president of South Carolina Science Council and is currently serves on the board of directors. She is the executive director of the Spartanburg Science Center.

2:05 p.m. Airport Sustainability 101

The Nature Conservancy and Sustain SC will introduce the aerospace community to corporate sustainability and why this is good for both business and the environment.  Learn how airports can begin to take initial steps towards creating their own sustainability plans and what resources are out there to begin this journey.

The one-hour segment will include a presentation by Ethel Bunch, Sustain SC focused on why sustainability has become a part of the economic development equation,  Lindsay Leonard, Boeing South Carolina on the importance of sustainable transportation to support commerce and people and Rick Crawford of Emerger Strategies on how to get started with sustainability through an introduction of Sustainability 101.

Meet the Presenters

Lowndes Macdonald, Associate Director of Philanthropy for South Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy: As a major gift’s fundraiser, Lowndes connects donors and businesses to the mission of The Nature Conservancy to advance conservation efforts in South Carolina and around the world. She has a background in marketing, sales, business development and over 15 years of direct work in fundraising.

Lowndes has a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Marketing Communications from Emerson College in Boston, MA and started her career in Los Angeles, CA before coming back home to Columbia, SC where she began her nonprofit fundraising career at the Columbia Museum of Art.

She currently lives in Columbia with her husband and two children ages 12 and 6.

Ethel Bunch is the President and CEO of Sustain SC, a 501(c)3 bringing together a diverse group of business, economic development, academic, conservation, and state agency leaders with the mission to connect the sustainability goals of business in South Carolina with local solutions that benefit the economy, environment and people.

Prior to founding Sustain SC, Ethel co-founded Wittering Advisors, a consulting group working with clients to raise the standard for informed decision-making that maximizes South Carolina’s economic growth and strong natural resource-based infrastructure. Serving organizations such as the Palmetto Conservation Foundation, Lowcountry Land Trust and Congaree Land Trust she helped match corporate environmental and social commitments with South Carolina’s needs.

She has 20+ years of fundraising and communications experience bridging the nonprofit and private sectors operating in healthcare, environment, and education. She has served as Director of Development and Marketing for EdVenture Children’s Museum, Prevent Child Abuse South Carolina and Heathwood Hall Episcopal School.

Born and raised in South Carolina, Ethel earned a B.A. in English and Masters in Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina. She is married to Bill Bunch and has two daughters, Caroline and Claiborne who keep her motivated and humble

Lindsay E. Leonard, Senior Director for National Strategy & Engagement, Boeing South Carolina
Named to her position in June 2014, Lindsay is responsible for government relations and Global Corporate Citizenship in South Carolina. She leads a team that manage relationships with elected officials and business leaders, advocate for key issues that advance Boeing’s business objectives, and find philanthropic opportunities to give back to the community.

Prior to joining Boeing, Lindsay was an Associate at the law firm of White & Case LLP, in New York, where she served in both the firm’s Antitrust & Commercial Litigation Group. She previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable David C. Norton, U.S. District Court, in Charleston. Lindsay also served in the U.S. Senate for Senators Jesse Helms and Ted Stevens. Lindsay holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of North Carolina, and a Juris Doctor degree from the Fordham University School of Law. She currently serves on the board of Meeting Street Schools and Sustain SC.

Rick Crawford, President, Emerger Strategies
After graduating from college, Rick moved from the Lowcountry of Savannah, GA to the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and spent several years living in Jackson Hole. It was during this time that he fell in love with fly fishing and decided to pursue a career protecting what he loves. Crawford then pursued an MBA in Sustainable Business from Marylhurst University and has spent over a decade in the sustainability field doing everything from installing solar panels, manufacturing biodiesel and working at a couple of green building software start-ups. However, Rick decided to marry his passion for fly fishing and sustainability when he founded the sustainable business consultancy, Emerger Strategies in 2016.

3:05 p.m. Airport Development Update

Get a summary of the programs and initiatives that occurred in 2021, and well as upcoming projects.

Meet Gary Siegfried

Gary Siegfried is the Program Manager for the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission. In this role Gary is responsible for the Airport Development Program.  This program oversees a variety of services to airports throughout the State of South Carolina including financial assistance for airport capital projects, safety inspections, and airfield maintenance.

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 coming to the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission in 2016.

Outside of work, Gary enjoys spending time with his three children, cooking and travelling to warm destinations to go scuba diving.

Friday, February 18

8:45 a.m. Who Needs More Hangars? Panel Discussion

Hangars are at a premium, but it seems like everyone wants one, and they can generate airport revenue. Join in this discussion of the impediments to building hangars, from funding issues to acquiring land and more.

Meet the Panel

Rose N. Dobson-Elliott’s duties in the past encompassed management of governmental operations including but not limited to finance, budget, information and property management, capital projects, human resources and strategic planning. Rose has worked in local government for thirty-three years, working in Hampton, Jasper, Colleton, Beaufort and Bamberg Counties. Over her career, Rose has developed, written, managed and overseen more than $50 million in grants.

Steve Gould has been the Airport Director at Rock Hill-York County Airport since June 2013. Prior to arriving there, he served two and a half years as Operations Manager at McKinney National Airport in McKinney, Texas, and three years as an Airport Certification Specialist at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2007, is a Certified Member of American Association of Airport Executives and was selected as one of Airport Business Magazine’s 2018 “Top 40 Under 40.” He is a past president of SCAA.

For 35 years, Joey Preston has channeled his passion for local government and public service as a South Carolina County Administrator. His BA in Political Science and Psychology from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and MPA from Clemson University provided him with the tools needed to successfully implement trailblazing initiatives across the state. Since 2012, Joey has served Bamberg County in various capacities, including that of Administrator and Airport Manager. In addition to promoting Bamberg County to potential business developers, he manages the airport’s operational and budget activities, including maintenance, capital improvements, grant applications, and administrative tasks.

A few recent Bamberg County Airport accomplishments include renovations to the AVGAS fuel farm, security fencing, runway improvements, obstruction clearance, the addition of a modern pilot’s lounge, and other major hangar and terminal facility improvements. Additionally, current expansions are in progress, including establishing a weather station, providing ADS-B plane tracking services, and developing a pilot training program at Denmark Technical College. Future airport developments include improving lighting around the ramp, extending the runway, constructing additional hangar space, providing a courtesy vehicle for pilot transportation, and acquiring surrounding airport property for additional business and industrial development.

Joey Preston is an innovative visionary who has dedicated more than half his life to serving communities across South Carolina, working relentlessly to improve the everyday lives of people who often feel forgotten and hopeless. Joey will continue this good, necessary work with Bamberg County Airport initiatives as well as economic and infrastructure developments across the County.

Jon Rembold is the Airports Director for Beaufort County.  As the department head, he is responsible for the business of both of the county’s airports, Beaufort Executive and Hilton Head Island. His areas of responsibility include facility planning, business planning and execution, safety, operations, public relations, security, project management, facility maintenance, and staff development, among others. Prior to his role as Airports Director, he worked with a local engineering firm as a development project manager. A graduate of the US Naval Academy, Jon is a former Artillery Officer in the US Marine Corps.

Ryan Waguespack was promoted to Executive Vice President of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) in January 2022. Waguespack joined the NATA leadership team in November 2018 and has been advancing a number of programs and efforts, including leading the charge in helping to end worldwide illegal charter activities, raising awareness of the value of aviation businesses to communities surrounding GA airports, overseeing the expansion of NATA’s training program platform across multiple industry segments, and assisting hundreds of aviation businesses navigate financial and regulatory relief programs throughout a time of great need. As Executive Vice President, Waguespack continues to lead NATA’s strategic flow of regulatory, industry, and member outreach efforts and programs, while taking on additional responsibility for safety program development and increasing NATA’s focus on helping our industry forecast and prepare for the future of flight.

10:00 a.m. Exhibitor Showcase: Public-Private Partnerships and Airport Infrastructure

Learn more about, “How do public/private partnerships work?” The benefits to your airport and local communities well be discussed as well as a streamlined process to bring projects to fruition in a timely manner and with the right private partner.

Meet Mary Shannon Swanson and David Burke

Mary Shannon Swanson is the CEO for Synergy Hangar and Synergy Capital and Development Group, LLC. Mary Shannon has over 25 years in Real Estate acquisitions and development, with experience as director of sales and marketing for numerous brokerages. A graduate of UNC-Wilmington, Mary Shannon brings a unique skill set to hangar design and development providing the foundation to Synergy’s Innovative solutions, custom design, renovation and unique approach to Public/Private partnerships and infrastructure development. She resides in Charleston, South Carolina, with her family and enjoys time on the water.

David Burke is the CFO for Synergy Hangar and Synergy Capital and Development Group LLC. CFO. A graduate of the University of Southern California, David began his career in Real Estate development and acquisitions and has been the CEO of Transit Capital Partners, an aircraft and infrastructure finance company since 2015. Responsible for capital structure and project finance, he strives to find ways to help Synergy’s public partners increase revenue while adding jobs to their local communities. He resides in Charleston, South Carolina, and is an avid surfer and island hopper.

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PO Box 80994
Charleston, SC 29416
(877) 359-7222