2024 Speaker Biographies

Meet the 2024 speakers! Speaker biographies are sorted by last name.

Mel Beale

President, Airport Working Group of Orange County (AWG)

Mel has been a member of the AWG Board since 2007 and president since 2016.  AWG, founded in 1983 as a not-for-profit corporation, serves as a core community organization in advocacy of control over air traffic growth and impacts in airport adjacent areas. A legacy achievement was the negotiation and execution of the 1985 JWA Settlement Agreement as one of the original signatories.  Mel has led AWG’s initiatives in collaborative work with  all involved in airport operations – airlines, general aviation, city and county administrators, and in group responses to national FAA legislative agendas. 

Beale is a management consultant focused on the aerospace industries. Beale’s program and service engagements have included work with over 50 airlines, NASA programs, Fortune 50 aerospace manufacturers, and, as a flight operations service provider. He leverages this unique professional expertise in AWG initiatives.

Zachary Burch

Senior Communications Manager, Naples Airport Authority

Zachary (Zac) Burch is the Senior Communications Manager for the Naples Airport Authority.  In this role, Zac oversees all outreach to the public, tenants, customers and elected officials.  He also oversees the airport’s website, social media, advertising, media and public relations.

Zac attended the University of Florida where he received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and German Language and Literature.

Prior to working at the Naples Airport, Zac served as a Senior Legislative Aide for a member of the Florida House of Representatives and as the Communications Manager for the Florida Department of Transportation District 1.

Zac is a member of the Collier County Historic and Archaeological Preservation Board and serves as the Vice Chair of the Florida Airport’s Council Noise Abatement and Community Affairs Committee.  He was awarded the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) 40 under 40 award in 2022 and the Airport Business Magazine 40 under 40 in 2023. 

Cindy Chavez

Supervisor - District 2, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors

Cindy Chavez is supervisor for Santa Clara County District 2, representing portions of San Jose. She’s a member of the Caltrain board of directors and chairs the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority board of directors. She represents the county on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed her to the Board of State and Community Corrections, which works to reduce recidivism. She mobilized the effort to stop selling leaded gas at Reid-Hillview Airport after a study revealed the airport was poisoning residents. Her policies include making COVID vaccines available to all residents; crafting a $950 million affordable housing bond, improving services for physically and sexually abused children; comprehensive services for foster youth, including housing at a new community center; improving digital and broadband services for disadvantaged students; and launching a fentanyl public awareness campaign and distributing Narcan to all school districts.

Iona Cheng

Professor, University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Iona Cheng is a Professor and Chief of the Cancer Epidemiology Division in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. She is a cancer epidemiologist with research interests focused on understanding the roles of genetics and molecular factors, health behaviors, environmental exposures, and structural and social determinants of health in cancer incidence and mortality. She has an extensive research program centered on understanding racial and ethnic differences in cancer risk. She leads the geospatial research program with the Multiethnic Cohort Study.

Scott Cutshall

SVP, Development & Sustainability, Clay Lacy Aviation

Scott directs strategic development activities while leading marketing, sustainability, governmental affairs, client and employee experience, and workforce development divisions across Clay Lacy’s diverse line of business jet services. He is a third-generation pilot with expertise across a wide spectrum of business aviation disciplines. He became a Certified Flight Instructor with instrument and multi-engine instruction privileges.

Scott joined Clay Lacy in 2013 as vice president of marketing, later serving as senior vice president of business operations prior to his current role. In 2021 he received his Corporate Aircraft Manager (CAM) certification from the National Business Aviation Association, is an advocate member of the International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA), serves on the NATA and NBAA Environmental Committees and is mentor for Orange Coast College students.

Kenley Farmer

Director, Airlines for America

Prior to working for Airlines for America, Kenley worked for the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment, the local agency responsible for improving the quality of life for residents and natural inhabitants of the nation’s capital. As a Deputy Director, Kenley was responsible for managing $75M in federal and local funding and overseeing a team of 50 employees. Kenley’s experience also includes working as a Program Analyst for a national affordable housing member organization, serving as a Legal Fellow for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and over six years working in civil litigation with Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans and Figel, LLC. Kenley holds an M.S. in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Johns Hopkins University, a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and a B.A. from Furman University.

Daniel Fink

Board Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Daniel Fink MD MBA is a board-certified internist and medical manager. A graduate of Yale University and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, he completed internal medicine training at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and then received an MBA from the Wharton School.

Dr. Fink became interested in noise after developing tinnitus and hyperacusis in 2007. Dr. Fink now serves as an expert consultant to the World Health Organization on its Make Listening Safe program, and as a subject matter expert on noise and the public for the National Center for Environmental Health at CDC. His new definition of noise- noise is unwanted and/or harmful sound- was adopted for use by the International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise last year. When he became aware of the harmful health effects of aviation noise, he presented this information at the December 2022 Acoustical Society of America meeting, and will share his analysis at this symposium.

Marie-Jo Fremont

Co-founder, Concerned Residents of Palo Alto, California

Marie-Jo Fremont is a member of Concerned Residents of Palo Alto, a community group who is working to mitigate the negative noise and emissions impacts of aviation in the San Francisco Bay Area/NorCal Metroplex. Marie-Jo holds a doctorate degree in geophysics from France and an MBA from UC Davis. She also brings 30+ years of experience in R&D, operations, and marketing at Fortune 500, high-technology companies where she worked on hardware and software product development, supply chain management, and new product and new business launches. Since NextGen changes started to be implemented in March 2015 in the San Francisco Bay area, she has been advocating for aircraft noise reduction locally as well as nationally.

Jacqueline Huynh

Assistant Professor, University of California, Irvine

Huynh received her doctorate and master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her bachelor’s degrees in aerospace and mechanical engineering from UC Irvine. Her research focuses on aircraft systems design and operations, aviation emissions and noise mitigation, and the integration of emerging technologies, such as electrified propulsion, in the national airspace. The overarching goal of Huynh's research is the development of operations and integration of technologies to improve airspace efficiency and reduce negative environmental impacts due to aviation.

Maggie Isied

Air Quality Services Manager, Clarity Movement

Maggie Isied is Clarity’s Air Quality Services Manager. She has been in the air quality profession for 5+ years in various roles including community engagement, permitting, policy implementation, and in the private sector. Her passion for the intersection between environmental pollution and public health and Clarity's mission to empower data-driven decision-making is what drew Maggie to join our team. Prior to working with Clarity, she completed a Doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering from the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability and Master of Public Health, and held roles with Ramboll and South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Sabrina Johnson

Senior Advisor, US EPA

Sabrina Johnson, Senior Advisor for the Office of Environmental Justice & External Civil Rights at the US EPA, drives integration of Environmental Justice and Equity considerations throughout EPA’s programmatic activities, and provides strategic direction for research and policy matters at the nexus of transportation, Environmental Justice, and equitable community engagement. Her long-standing engagement in the transportation sector includes membership on the National Academies/Transportation Research Board’s Airport Cooperative Research Program Oversight Committee and participation in numerous aviation emissions/airport air quality initiatives. She is the architect of the Near-port Community Capacity Building Technical Assistance Project, a vanguard component of EPA’s Ports Initiative. Sabrina joined EPA after managing private sector environmental programs and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University.

Peter Kirsch

Partner, Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell

Peter J. Kirsch is a partner of the law firm of Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell. For nearly 35 years, Mr. Kirsch has concentrated on airport development in which he has represented scores of airports on land use, noise, regulatory and environmental issues. He advises on legislation and regulations, financial issues and precedent-setting litigation regarding the powers of airport proprietors. He has been involved dozens of airport expansions, redevelopments, commercial development and private investment. He has assisted airports large and small in preparation of environmental documentation and litigation over noise and represents airports on Part 150 studies, changes in flight tracks, and development impacts.
He is a frequent speaker at conferences on airport law worldwide and has contributed to many TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program publications. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Chicago Law School

Kevin Lane

Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Public Health

Dr. Lane’s research focuses on the intersection of air pollution, built environment, urbanization and impacts of climate change on health in local, national, and international settings. His expertise in big-data and spatial research has led to the development of novel methods that integrate geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing data and time-activity algorithms to improve exposure assessment for health studies. Currently, Dr. Lane is principal investigator for the Federal Aviation Administration ASCENT Project 18 Community Measurements of Aviation Emissions Contribution to Ambient Air Quality. He also leads the data core for the NIH CAFÉ Research Coordinating center and is the chief data officer for the BUSPH Center for Climate Health supporting research on climate change health impacts for researchers across the globe.

Matt Liknaitzky

Co-CEO, Sling Pilot Academy

Matt Liknaitzky is the business manager and original founder of the Sling Aircraft US Distributorship and Sling Pilot Academy. A pilot since 1995, with 3,200+ hrs flight time, Aerobatic Competitor and FAA Designated Pilot Examiner.

Amber McNair

Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University

Amber Woodburn McNair, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning in the Knowlton School at the Ohio State University and holds a joint appointment with the Center for Aviation Studies. In her teaching and research, she focuses on the planning processes for air transportation services and facilities. Specifically, she has written on environmental justice, airport-adjacent communities, and the NEPA planning process. Dr. McNair enjoys partnering with industry practitioners through the Airport Cooperative Research Program and through membership on various aviation committees with the Transportation Research Board.

Marco Milanese

Community Engagement Manager, Port of Seattle

Marco Milanese is the Sr. Manager of Community Engagement for the Port of Seattle.  In this role, Marco collaborates with the residents, educators and community representatives that live and work within Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA) Airport’s close-in cities.  Marco also administers SEA Airport’s community forum, the SEA Stakeholder Advisory Round Table (StART).  StART is tasked with discussing and addressing the challenges of those living near the airport.  Prior to this role, Marco worked at a public relations firm and for two Members of Congress: U.S. Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher and U.S. Congressman Pete Stark.  Marco has a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego and an M.P.A. from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.

Tami Mulcahy

Community Advocate, Sky Posse Los Altos

Tami Mulcahy is a community advocate and member of Sky Posse Los Altos since the 2015 implementation of NextGen in the Northern California metroplex. The move of flight paths, change of dispersed operations to concentrated and single tracks, and lowering of altitudes resulted in new and significant noise impacts for communities up to 45 miles from the airports. Tami presented to the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals on behalf of Quiet Skies Mid Peninsula, a coalition of 13 advocacy groups from across 3 counties. She is member of the Climate Action Team of Los Altos Rotary and serves as co-leader of the Plastic Solutions Task Force of ESRAG - Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group.

Gwen Pelletier

Principal Environmental Scientist, CDM Smith

With over 25 years in as an air quality specialist, Ms. Pelletier has substantial experience in air dispersion modeling; criteria air pollutant and GHG emission inventories; general conformity and transportation conformity evaluations; and preparing environmental documentation for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Her experience has helped numerous aviation clients successfully navigate complex air quality challenges and regulatory compliance.

Gwen is a long-term member of the FAA’s User Review Group for AEDT, where she assists with beta testing numerous model sprints and revisions. She holds a pivotal role as the Committee Research Coordinator for the Transportation Research Board’s Environmental Issues in Aviation (AV030) Committee, contributing significantly to addressing environmental concerns in aviation.

Dinesh Sanekommu

Product Manager, Google

Dinesh leads Google Research's contrails team. The team works across academia, industry, and other stakeholders to develop AI-based solutions that enable verifiable contrail mitigation. Dinesh is a strong advocate for the responsible use of AI, and he believes that AI can play a vital role in helping mitigate and adapt to climate change. Prior to working in climate, Dinesh worked as a product lead for research in the health space. He led projects related to medical diagnostics.

Dinesh studied computer science and mathematics at The University of Texas at Austin. He lives in Austin and outside of work loves playing basketball and is working towards his private pilot license.

Don Scata

Deputy Director, FAA

Don is an aviation professional working in the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Environment and Energy (AEE), currently acting as the Deputy Director. Don's permanent position is Noise Division Manager. His current work is focused on managing FAA's research and policy development regarding aircraft noise effects on individuals and communities; noise modeling, metrics, and environmental data visualization; and noise reduction, abatement, and mitigation. Don spends his time focused on addressing challenging questions ranging in topics from FAA's noise policy review to new entrants.

Don holds a MS in Air Transportation Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a BS in Aviation Management with Flight from the Florida Institute of Technology. Additionally, Don holds a single/multi-engine instrument commercial pilot certificate and was a certified flight instructor.

Eric Schinfeld

Senior Manager, Federal & International Government Relations, Port of Seattle/Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Eric Schinfeld is the Sr. Manager of Federal and International Government Relations for the Port of Seattle. In this role, he staffs the Port’s elected officials and executives on key federal and trade policy issues that impact the Port, its customers and the residents of King County. Prior to this role, Schinfeld served as both Chief of Staff of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and as the President of the Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT), where he led WCIT’s advocacy and outreach efforts on trade policy issues that benefit Washington employers and increase our state’s international competitiveness. Eric began his career in the Washington, DC office of U.S. Representative Rick Boucher. Eric has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.P.A. from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs.

Adam Scholten

Environmental Protection Specialist, Federal Aviation Administration

Mr. Adam Scholten is an Environmental Protection Specialist in the Noise Division of the FAA’s Office of Environment and Energy. Adam has 14 years of experience working in aviation, 9 of which has been in the environmental field. Adam began his aviation environmental career as a consultant specializing in airport noise before joining the FAA in 2021. As a consultant Adam conducted noise modeling utilizing FAA tools such as the Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT) and worked extensively to support airports and community roundtables to analyze aircraft flight procedures and provide guidance on the development of alternative procedures that could help to reduce noise exposure. Since joining FAA, Adam has focused on developing methodologies to assist the FAA in assessing noise associated with Unmanned Aircraft/Drones and working with others in the Noise Division to conduct the FAA’s Noise Policy Review.

Julie Shane

South Portland Citizen Representative, Noise Advisory Committee at Portland International Jetport

Julie Shane represents citizens of South Portland on the Noise Advisory Committee at PWM. She holds an MBA with an emphasis on Management Information Systems from The University of Texas at Austin. She helped to design lending systems at financial institutions while at Arthur Andersen & Co and as an independent consultant, and was brought in to assist with the merger of S&Ls during the financial crisis in the late 80s. She later entered the nonprofit world and used her research and data analysis skills to helping organizations focused on women’s health and community development. Before moving to Maine, she volunteered full-time at the American Red Cross in International Services, where she analyzed data obtained from search tools and contacts around the world to reconnect family members separated while fleeing their homes in Africa. She and her husband moved to Maine in 2019, where she is currently developing reports to use in evaluating the effectiveness of noise mitigation efforts.

Ted Thrasher

Aviation Environmental Project Leader, The MITRE Corporation

Ted Thrasher leads aviation environmental research and analysis projects at The MITRE Corporation. Throughout his career, he has provided technical guidance to many high-impact modeling and simulation efforts, including FAA’s airport air quality Emissions and Dispersion Modeling System, and the subsequent multi-scale Aviation Environmental Design Tool.

Ted previously served as Chief, Environmental Standards, at the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, where he was responsible for all activities related to setting international standards and policies for aircraft environmental performance. He also led the development of ICAO’s guidance material and support tools for the quantification of aviation’s impact on the environment. 

Ted holds a bachelor of science degree in aviation from The Ohio State University and a master of science degree in systems engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and is a former flight instructor.

Aaron Vaughn

Research Aerospace Engineer, NASA Langley Research Center

Aaron Vaughn is a Research Aerospace Engineer in the Structural Acoustics Branch at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. In one capacity at NASA, Aaron conducts psychoacoustic research to characterize human response to Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles in support of NASA’s Advance Air Mobility (AAM) mission. Aaron also participates in community test and planning execution for the Commercial Supersonic Technology (CST) project under NASA’s Quesst mission with the quiet-supersonic X-59 aircraft. Aaron holds a master’s degree in physics from Brigham Young University where he also studied Japanese and conducted research on jet noise.

Beth White

Sr. Strategist for Public and Industry Engagment, FAA

Beth White is currently Senior Strategist for Industry and Public Engagement for the FAA Air Traffic Organization. She is responsible for the coordination of a matrixed effort that develops standards for national and regional engagement efforts with aviation stakeholders as well as communication efforts with local communities.

Prior to her move to the Air Traffic Organization White was the Senior Advisor of Communications for the FAA. Her work has included the management of large sports events and facilities including multiple World Cup and Olympic Games.

Darlene Yaplee

President and Co-founder, Aviation-Impacted Communities Alliance (AICA)

Darlene Yaplee is a founding member of the Aviation-Impacted Communities Alliance (AICA) whose mission is to protect communities from harmful levels of aviation noise and emissions through campaigns for legislation and industry change nationwide. She is also a co-founder of Concerned Residents of Palo Alto, working to mitigate the negative noise and emissions impacts of aviation in the San Francisco Bay Area/NorCal Metroplex. Darlene brings 25+ years of experience such as Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President positions at Fortune 500, high-technology companies where she worked on strategic alliances, international marketing, and new market development. She was the Chief Marketing Officer at PLOS, a nonprofit Open Access Science publisher and advocacy organization where she promoted the understanding and adoption of Open Access with organizations such as Google, the Wellcome Trust, and Research Universities. Darlene was the University of California, Davis Alumni Commencement speaker and recipient of Sun Microsystems “Business Woman of the Year'' Award and YWCA “Tribute to Women” Award. She has guest lectured at Stanford Graduate School of Business and Santa Clara University.  

Adeel Yousuf

Manager, Noise Office, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

Adeel Yousuf is the Nosie Office Manager for Port Authority of NY & NJ Airports, overseeing the noise programs for JFK, LGA, EWR, TEB, and SWF airports - one of the largest and complex airport systems int he country. Adeel started working for Port Authority in 2009 in the Environmental & Noise Department. Over the years, his career has evolved in taking over the position of Noise Office manager in 2015. Adeel has been involved in formation of the Noise Office back in 2015 with many new noise initiatives including: Part 150 Noise Studies for four of Port Authority airports, formation of community roundtables, overseeing community engagement, deployment of various technology and data collection systems, data analysis & reporting, and most recently the development and rollout of the Fly Quiet Program.