The National Aeronautic Association Announces New Directors

The 2024 Board Will Support Next Chapter of Growth for America’s Longest Standing National Aviation Association

Washington, D.C. January 3, 2024 – The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is pleased to announce the election of six new members to its Board of Directors. From commercial aviation, aerospace, and visionary aeronautics, the newest members bring extensive experience and enhanced direction to round out the Board.

The new board members are:
  • Darby Becker, G.E.
  • Lauren Haertlein, Joby Aviation
  • Joan Higginbotham, Ad Astra, LLC
  • Billy Nolen, Archer Aviation
  • James Viola, Helicopter Association International
  • Claudia Zapata-Cardone, United Airlines

“Our current Board of Directors comprises a dedicated team of industry leaders, and the new members bring visionary leadership and guidance to our organization,” said Amy Spowart, President and CEO of the NAA. With a breadth of aerospace expertise and relationships from throughout the industry, the new directors will further guide our role in the future of aviation.”

Darby Becker serves as an Executive, Government Policy at G.E.. As Immediate Past President of the Aero Club of Washington and with her role at G.E., Darby has a vast network and brings solid organizational insight to the NAA. Her skills in relationship building will aid the NAA’s growth.

Lauren Haertlein is the Deputy General Counsel, Policy & Regulatory at Joby Aviation. She has a strong background in policy work, and with previous roles at Zipline and GAMA, Lauren has a firm footing in supporting the NAA’s advocacy for members and strategic goals.

Joan Higginbotham currently serves as the President of Joan Higginbothm Ad Astra, LLC. As a rocket scientist and retired NASA astronaut, Joan embodies a dedicated team mentality and focused organizational goals to further STEM opportunities for youth and all future leaders.

Billy Nolen is the Chief Safety Officer of Archer Aviation. With experience in commercial, general, and business aviation combined with his former Acting FAA Administrator role, Billy provides a visionary mindset to support NAA’s desire to drive aeronautics’ next chapter.

James Viola is the President of Helicopter Association International (HAI). Jim’s passion for his association and extensive experience in multiple industry sectors will profoundly augment the NAA’s plan for enhanced membership experience and growth.

Claudia Zapata-Cardone is a Captain at United Airlines and the Latino Pilots Association (LPA) President. Claudia’s desire to build aviation’s workforce and empower through outreach and programming will enhance the NAA’s mission to foster the future of aeronautics.

Rounding out the newly elected Board Members is the appointment of new Directors from long-serving NAA Corporate Members. Welcome to Mark Miklos, Senior Vice President, Spirit AeroSystems, and Liana Sucar-Hamel, Vice President, Communications, Airbus Americas.

“The NAA represents the roots of aeronautics and is a perfect launching point for the groundbreaking future of aerospace,” Spowart added. “Aviation’s future depends on allowing ourselves to build on our foundation with visionary and challenging goals. With the election of new members and the appointment of Mark and Liana, the NAA Board is showing growth, and we recognize that all industry sectors are connected. They all unite for the future of aeronautics.”

The 2024 National Aeronautic Board of Directors are:

  • Jim Albaugh, NAA Board Chair
    Former EVP, The Boeing Company
  • Nicole Alexander, NAA Executive Committee
    Aero Club of Wichita
  • Darby Becker
    Aero Club of Washington
  • Ché Bolden
    The Charles F. Bolden Group
  • Pete Bunce
    General Aviation Manufacturers Assc.
  • Matt Byrd
    Hillwood Aviation
  • Leda Chong, NAA Executive Committee
    Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
  • J. Ray Davis
    Rolls-Royce, North America
  • Robert DeForge
    Raytheon Technologies
  • Ted Ellett, NAA General Counsel
    Hogan Lovells
  • Arthur W. Greenfield, Jr.
    NAA Contest & Records Director
  • Sierra Grimes
    National Business Aviation Association
  • Rich Hanson, NAA Executive Committee
    Academy of Model Aeronautics
  • Lauren Haertlain
  • Chris Hart
    Hart Solutions, LLC.
  • Joan Higginbotham
    Joan Higginbothm Ad Astra, LLC.
  • Joseph Huber
    Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Int’l Airport
  • Dick Koenig
    New England Air Museum
  • Ben Kowalski
    Cirrus Aircraft
  • John S. Langford
  • Rebecca Lutte
    Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Samantha Magill, NAA Vice Chair
  • Elizabeth Matarese, NAA Secretary
    FAA (Retired)
  • Brad McKeage
  • Mark Miklos
    Spirit AeroSystems
  • Mary Miller
    Signature Aviation
  • Mary Claire Murphy
    Textron Aviation
  • Billy Nolen
    Archer Aviation
  • Mark Ofsthun
    Honda Aircraft Company
  • Martin Palmaz
    U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Assc.
  • Martiqua Post, NAA Treasurer
    U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Pat Prentiss
    The Ninety-Nines, Inc.
  • Skip Ringo
    The Ringo Group
  • Yvette Rose
  • Stacey Rudser
    Assc. for Women in Aviation Maintenance
  • Sami Said
    Northrop Grumman
  • Amy Spowart, NAA Executive Committee
    NAA President and CEO
  • Bob Stangarone
    Stangarone & Associates
  • Liana Sucar-Hamel
    Airbus Americas
  • Tonya Sudduth
  • Goodloe Sutton
    The Boeing Company
  • Brad Thress
    FlightSafety International
  • Read Van De Water
    Safran USA
  • Anthony L. Velocci
    Former AW&ST Editor
  • James Viola, NAA Executive Committee
    Helicopter Association International
  • Patty Wagstaff
    Patty Wagstaff Aviation Safety LLC
  • Clyde Woltman
    Leonardo Helicopters, U.S.A
  • Claudia Zapata-Cardone
    United Airlines