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Committee Bios

Committee Bios

Weller-175x175.jpgJohn Weller
Chair, Executive Committee/Federal Aviation Administration

John Weller has been a National Wildlife Biologist for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since 2009. His responsibilities include the development and oversight of national strategies, regulations and guidance regarding wildlife hazards on and within the vicinity of airports that affect aircraft safety or impact airport development and land use. He provides oversight to the National Wildlife Strike Database, cooperative partnerships, outreach, and research targeting hazardous wildlife and mitigation techniques. John collaborates with foreign states and assists the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with the development of international guidance and their Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). Prior experience includes 28 years of wildlife conservation and conflict management, endangered species restoration and research for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and the USDA/ APHIS/ Wildlife Services, as well as state and county conservation agencies, and a nonprofit research center. John has a BS in Forestry from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a MS in Environmental Biology from the University of Southern Mississippi studying predator/ prey relationships.
Atwell175x175.jpgNick Atwell
Vice Chair, Executive Committee/Airports – Chair

Nick Atwell works at the Portland International Airport as the Port of Portland’s Senior Natural Resources Manager overseeing a team of professionals in two focus areas: Conservation Ecology and Aviation Wildlife Hazard Management. Nick strives for ongoing program improvement through reviews, monitoring, and adaptive management, which uses science-based methods to evaluate and adjust future actions. He has been working at the Port of Portland in natural resources and aviation wildlife hazard management since 1999. He is an FAA-qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist with degrees in Natural Resources and Organismal Biology. Nick lives in the Oregon foothills of Mt. Hood with his wife and two young daughters. Nick spends his free time with family & friends and enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, and playing ultimate frisbee.
Brammel175x175.jpgSarah Brammell
Past Chair, Executive Committee/Private Sector Services – Chair

Sarah is an FAA-qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist with over 20 years of environmental planning, permitting, compliance, and wildlife hazard management experience. She has conducted wildlife hazard services throughout the country and internationally. Sarah has a BA in Biology and a MS in Public Administration in Environmental Policy. She was previously the senior manager for Lee County Port Authority where she oversaw planning and environmental compliance for Southwest Florida International and Page Field General Aviation airports. As the President of Blue Wing Environmental, Sarah has been authorized by the FAA to conduct the three-day training course for biologists seeking to meet requirements to become qualified airport wildlife biologists. Sarah is a National Rifle Association Certified Firearms Safety Instructor. Currently, serves as the Co-Chair of the Airport Council International-North America’s Natural Resources Committee, and is a past Chair of the Florida Airport Council’s Environmental Committee.
Laura Francoeur

Laura is the Chief Wildlife Biologist for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where she is responsible for directing the wildlife management programs at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Stewart International Airport, and Teterboro Airport. Prior to assuming her current position in 2009, Laura worked at JFK as a Wildlife Biologist for 10 years. Laura also worked in Virginia as a wildlife biologist for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Wildlife Services and conducted wildlife hazard assessments at airports and landfills. Laura is a Certified Wildlife Biologist with a BA degree from Connecticut College in Zoology and an MS degree from Clemson University in Wildlife Biology.
Craig Quick
Aerospace Industry–Chair/Research and Development Committee

Craig Quick is a Commercial Flight Safety Lead Engineer in the Chief Engineers Office at GE Aviation. He is an accident/incident investigator with responsibility for investigating bird ingestion events and maintains the bird ingestion database for all GE Aviation engines. Craig also has responsibility for safety certification of new products. He is a member of several industry committees related to furthering aviation safety through bird ingestion awareness and rulemaking. Craig joined GE Aviation in 2012 and worked in New Product Development gaining expertise in Electrical Systems, Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC), and sensors design prior to joining the Commercial Flight Safety group. He has 14 years of experience in the Automotive, Medical, and Aviation industries. Craig holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.
Kim Owen
Aerospace Industry

Kim is a Senior Lead Airplane Safety Engineer with The Boeing Company where she works in the Airplane Safety Airplane Product Development group. Some of her responsibilities include Airplane-level Functional Hazard Assessments (AFHA), airplane-level safety requirements, systems separation requirements, and Particular Risk Assessment (PRA) for airplane threats, including bird strike, windmilling, survivability of systems, rotorburst, and others. In her previous position as a Maintenance Programs Engineer, Kim performed analysis on new airplane designs to ensure protection from Lightning/HIRF events. Kim has an MS and BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington and an MS in Technical Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Troy Levanen

Troy Levanen is Manager, Maintenance Safety, for Alaska Air Group. He has been in aviation for over 30 years, all with AAG, which includes Alaska and Horizon. He was a Maintenance Technician and worked in Maintenance Leadership for 20 of those years before joining the AAG Maintenance and Engineering Safety Team in 2013. During his time in Maintenance he was the Supervisor of the Horizon Air Maintenance AOG (Aircraft On Ground) Team and was actively involved in many serious wildlife strike events, including bird strikes so extensive that the repairs took more than a month to perform. Troy is a certified Aircraft Accident Investigator that is also a member of ISASI. He currently performs investigations and makes recommendations on incidents, accidents, and wildlife strikes for Alaska Air Group.
Tahereh Behbehani

Tahereh works for Southwest Airlines in Dallas, Texas, as a Senior Safety Investigator in the Safety and Security Department. The Air Safety Investigations group’s focus is on NTSB reportable events as well as the investigation and identification of safety hazards facing Pilots, Flight Attendants, and Dispatchers. As part of this responsibly, the department investigates bird strike events depending on their severity.
Cathy Boyles

Cathy is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist and has been DFW Airport’s Wildlife Administrator since 2006. Her duties include working with Airfield Operations personnel, numerous airport departments, and various outside professionals to implement the airport’s Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program. She currently serves on the Bird Strike Committee USA representing the Airport sector, and continues an active role on the BSC USA Communications Committee, where she served as Communications Chair for 5 years. She has BS degrees in Biology and Wildlife Management from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and a MS degree in Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Jeff Turner

Jeffrey Turner works for the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) at Logan International Airport as a Field Maintenance Supervisor and Wildlife Management Coordinator. He is well versed in airport wildlife mitigation, habitat modification, permitting, personnel training, and raptor trap and relocation techniques. Jeffrey received a BS degree in Wildlife Biology with a minor in Applied Design from the University of Vermont in 2008. He is a Certified Airport Wildlife Biologist who previously worked for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife and USDA APHIS Wildlife Services in Vermont, North Carolina, and Massachusetts most recently as a wildlife biologist providing assistance with airport wildlife hazard management.
Jay Higgins
U.S. Department of Defense-Chair

Mr. Higgins is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, Class of 1982, with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He retired from military service at the rank of Commander in 2005 after a 23-year Navy career as an S-3B Naval Flight Officer. He has worked for Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) Air Operations program since then, first as a contractor and now as a Federal civilian management analyst. Mr. Higgins is a certified Project Management Professional and performs a variety of key functions for CNIC staff. Most significantly, he serves as the CNIC Bird/wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Program Coordinator across eight Navy regions and 32 air installations worldwide. He also serves as the Navy BASH representative on BSC USA, both Department of Defense and Navy BASH working groups, and at national BASH forums. He resides with his wife, Annette, in Jacksonville, Florida. They each have two grown children.
Sullivan175x175.jpgDan Sullivan
U.S. Department of Defense

Dan is the Bird/wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Team Chief for the U.S. Air Force (AF), stationed at the Air Force Safety Center (AFSEC), Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, NM. He arrived at the AFSEC in July 2007. Prior to his current assignment, he worked for USDA-WS in the New York Office as a Wildlife Technician from 2001-2003 then as the Airport Biologist from 2003-2007. He conducted his studies at the University of Idaho in wildlife resources and is a veteran of the United States Navy. Dan was raised in upstate NY and graduated from Hudson Falls High School.
David Wright
U.S. Department of Defense

Mr. David Wright is the Associate Director, Safety Directorate, Air National Guard, National Guard Bureau. He works with the director formulating and coordinating safety program goals, plans and policies supporting 90 Air National Guard Wings and over 105,000 members in more than 1,800 units across 213 locations throughout the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. Mr. Wright served on active duty in the Air Force from Sept 1987 through April 2016. During this time, he held key operational, staff and command positions at the Squadron, Group, Wing, Major Command, Army Division and Corps, Combatant Command, and Air Staff levels. Mr. Wright worked extensively in Joint/Combined Operations, Joint Air-Ground Integration and Security Cooperation / International Affairs. He has over 2,200 total and 1,000 instructor/flight examiner hours in tactical fighter aircraft.
Janell Barrilleaux
Federal Aviation Administration

Janell Barrilleaux is the Environmental Program Manager for the FAA Northwest Mountain Region Airports Division. She joined FAA in November of 2010 and her primary areas of responsibility are the National Environmental Policy Act, Part 150 programs, Environmental Management Systems, and Sustainability. Prior to joining FAA, Janell was the Director of Environmental Programs for the City and County of Denver, Department of Aviation, at Denver International Airport. Prior to joining the City and County of Denver, Janell spent 15 years in environmental consulting where she conducted numerous site assessment and remediation projects. including several projects at airports. Janell has BS and MS degrees in Geology from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Janny Siddens
Federal Aviation Administration

Janny Siddens has served as a Part 139 Airport Certification and Safety Inspector (ACSI) for the FAA in the Southwest Region for over 10 years. She is responsible for reviewing and approving Wildlife Hazard Assessments (WHAs) and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans (WHMPs) for assigned Part 139 airports in the Southwest Region. She has been in the field of aviation for over 20 years, serving in the U.S. Air Force for 12 years in Base Operations, where she was an integral part of the service’s BASH Program, monitoring wildlife activity and appropriately adjusting the risk conditions. She has a BA degree English from Baldwin-Wallace University.
Travis Guerrant
U.S. Department of Agriculture-Chair

Travis Guerrant is currently the State Director for the Missouri/Iowa USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Wildlife Services Program. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist through The Wildlife Society. Travis graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2001 with a BS degree in Fisheries and Wildlife. His airport experience started in 2004 when he was hired as a wildlife specialist with USDA APHIS Wildlife Services program in St. Louis, Missouri. In his current position, Travis oversees staff who implement wildlife damage management projects on airports and airbases throughout Missouri and Iowa.
Russell Odell
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Russel Odell is currently the State Airport District Supervisor for the California USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Wildlife Services program. He graduated from the University of California-Davis with a BS degree in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology in 2006. His airport experience started in 2008 when he was hired as a wildlife specialist with the Wildlife Services program in Fremont, California. For ten years he worked as an FAA-certified Airport Biologist at military and joint-use facilities. In his current position, Russ works closely with the FAA Los Angeles office, the California Department of Transportation-Aeronautics division, and oversees staff who implement wildlife damage management projects on airports and airbases throughout California.
Begier175x175.jpgMike Begier
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Michael J. Begier is a wildlife biologist and the National Coordinator of the Airport Wildlife Hazards Program in Washington D.C. Mike works for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Wildlife Services Program, and provides liaison to the FAA, Department of Defense, the Air National Guard, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, and the aviation industry at large. One of Mike’s key roles is to provide support to the Wildlife Services program that mitigates wildlife hazards to aviation. His office manages the FAA National Wildlife Strike Database and works closely with the FAA and the USDA WS National Wildlife Research Center on guiding applied research activities designed to mitigate wildlife hazards at airports. Additionally, he serves as the program liaison to the DoD Partners in Flight BASH working group and the DoD Armed Forces Pest Management Board. Mike earned his college education from the State University of New York at Cobleskill and Plattsburgh and his MS degree at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse. Mike previously served as the Chair of the Bird Strike Committee.
Harmon-Headshot-175x175.jpgLisa Harmon
Private Sector Services/Communications Commitee

Lisa Harmon, is an Aviation and Environmental Planner with 20 years of experience in resource management, wildlife hazard management, and land use compatibility planning on and near airports. She routinely works with airports nationwide to achieve compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), state laws, and local policies and regulations. Lisa received a BA degree in English, an MS degree in Transportation Management, and is a graduate of the Denver Publishing Institute. She has served on the BSC USA Communications Committee since 2015.
Dave Moore
Private Sector Services

Dave Moore has more than 23 years’ experience working directly in aviation safety. He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Air Force Reserve, having served as a C-5 instructor pilot and Chief of Wing Safety for the 439th Airlift Wing, Westover Air Reserve Base (ARB), Massachusetts. During his Air Force career he logged more than 7,500 mishap-free flying hours. As Chief of Wing Safety, he managed the Westover ARB Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) program for more than seven years, dealing with numerous issues related to the management of the bird/wildlife risk at that airfield. He was recognized by the USDA/APHIS Massachusetts State Wildlife Services Director for his “dedicated efforts to promote interagency collaboration to examine, research and conduct sound wildlife hazard management activities to enhance the safety of aircraft and airport operations at Westover Air Reserve Base.” Since his retirement from the Air Force, Dave has served as an aviation safety advisor to Air Force Reserve Command for eleven years, traveling the country and assisting Air Force Reserve Chiefs of Safety in managing all of their flight safety programs, including BASH. He continues today as a flight safety advisor to the Air National Guard Chiefs of Safety.
Heacker-175x175.jpgMarcy Heacker

Marcy Heacker is Program Specialist with the Feather Identification Lab at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Her expertise is identifying bird species using whole-feather and microscopic plumulaceous feather structure. The majority of her work is for bird-aircraft collisions (“bird strikes”) for the U.S. military and civil aviation. The Lab also frequently examines feather material in anthropological items, prey remains, and wildlife law enforcement cases. Marcy began her feather identification training in 1997 with Roxie Laybourne (pioneer of this specialized field) and continued in 2000 with Dr. Carla Dove. She received her M.S. and B.S. degrees in Biology from George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. She also holds an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology from Columbus State College, Columbus, Ohio.
Amy-Anderson-Photo-2018.jpgAmy Anderson

Amy Anderson is a National Wildlife Biologist for Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Airports Division and has worked for the FAA for nine years. She is based at FAA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Amy writes and interprets national policy and guidance associated with reducing wildlife hazards to aircraft. She also creates training programs for FAA regional personnel and works with airports conducting Wildlife Hazard Assessments and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans. In addition to national guidance, Amy also works with international industry groups and civil aviation authorities to provide airport wildlife hazard expertise and guidance to airports at symposiums and workshops around the world. A few of the countries she has worked with are India, Ghana, Colombia, Ecuador and Panama. Amy has served as an FAA liaison for the Comité Regional de Centro América, el Caribe y Sudamérica de Prevención del Peligro Aviario y Fauna for the past 7 years. Prior to the FAA, Amy worked for 10 years as an environmental scientist at a private consulting firm in Florida. She graduated with a BS degree from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina.
Ostrom175x175.jpgJohn Ostrom
Annual Conference

As the Manager of the Metropolitan Airports Commission’s Airside Operations Department at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), John is responsible for a variety of MSP’s operational programs including Wildlife Hazards Management, Runway Safety, Self-inspection, Winter Operations and Airport Certification. John has been with the Operations Department for the past 28 years and has developed and instructed numerous airport training courses including AAAE’s Airport Wildlife Techniques, Manager’s and Trainer’s courses for both national and international airport and wildlife management professionals. John has a BS degree in Psychology from Winona State University and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas. He is a member of the Association for Training Development, The Wildlife Society, and is a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). John has served on numerous committees and review panels. In 2011, John was awarded the FAA Great Lakes Region’s Partner Award for his work with airports and wildlife management training.
Christopher Pollock
Operations & Policy

Chris has a BS degree in Aeronautics from Kent State University. After graduation, Chris moved to Northern Nevada to work at the Elko Regional Airport as an Operations and Maintenance Officer. In 2007, Chris moved back to central Ohio to work at John Glenn Columbus Airport where he inherited the Wildlife Hazard Management Plan (WHMP). Chris digitized all wildlife records and led the adoption of geo location wildlife reporting. Chris was promoted and currently is responsible for all three of Columbus Regional Airport Authority’s airport wildlife programs ( John Glenn Columbus International Airport. Rickenbacker International Airport, and Bolton Field Airport/Columbia Regional Airport). Chris has achieved a Certified Member designation from the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE( and is the Ohio Representative for the Great Lakes Chapter of AAAE. He has been active in BSC USA for several years and represented BSC at Airventure.
Michael R. Stephens
Education & Outreach

Michael Stephens has over 40 years of aviation experience. He currently serves as the Director of Operations and Public Safety for the Dane County Regional Airport (DCRA) in Madison Wisconsin. Michael’s responsibilities include daily compliance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 139, Certification of Airports and 49 CFR Part 1542 Airport Security. Prior to joining DCRA, Michael served as an FAA Airport Certification Safety Inspector (ACSI) in the Great Lakes Region. While in the FAA, a major responsibility was to approve Wildlife Hazard Assessments and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans for the 93 Certificated Airports. Michael also served on the Brid Strike USA Steering Committee from 2013-2015, representing the ACSIs in all nine Regions. Michael served in the U.S. Air Force as an Air Traffic Controller and held positions at large, medium, small, and non-hub airports. He was Airport Operations Specialist at the Nashville International Airport; Assistant Airport Manager at the Tri-Cities Airport (in Tennessee); Airport Operations Duty Manager and Associate Airport Security Coordinator at the Washington Dulles International Airport, and Director of Operations and Maintenance at the Central Wisconsin Airport. Michael has worked for national consulting firms providing assistance to clients in airport operations, and safety and security plans; served as an aircraft dispatcher and crew scheduling supervisor for a major regional airline, and Senior Airports Director for Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Michael holds an aircraft dispatch certificate and has a BS degree in Aerospace Administration from Middle Tennessee State University.
Matt Klope

Matthew began his career with the Navy as the first wildlife biologist at Naval Air Station Point Mugu in Southern California in 1979. In 1989 he transferred to NAS Whidbey Island in Washington State and worked for the Environmental Department until 2001. During these years he was always involved in the facilities BASH programs and involved in the development of the BSC-USA. In 2001 he transferred once again to the Navy’s Research and Development (R&D) Program at Port Huemene and wrote and implemented the Navy and Marine Corps BASH Programs. Matthew spent the remained of his career until retirement in 2015 implementing BASH programs at Navy and Marine Corps facilities across the United States and around the world. Since retirement, Matthew manages his full time Taxidermy business and enjoys all the hunting and fishing the Pacific Northwest can offer with his faithful chocolate lab, Libby.
LeBoeuf-175x175.jpgGene LeBoeuf

Eugene LeBoeuf is a Wildlife Biologist who retired from the United States Air Force (USAF) and Federal service in January of 2011. For 16 years prior to his retirement, he was both a member, and later the Chief of U.S. Air Force Bird/wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Team. Prior to joining the BASH Team, Gene spent six years with the FAA in Washington, D.C., developing standards and procedures for the implementation of effective wildlife hazard controls on or in the vicinity of airports. Positions held prior to his service with FAA included a District Supervisor with the USDA’s Wildlife Services program and a Wildlife Assistance Biologist with the U.S. Department Fish and Wildlife Service. Before his Federal employment, Gene held the position of Research Associate with Louisiana State University (LSU) where he researched techniques of controlling blackbird damage to rice crops. Gene obtained his BS degree from LSU in 1978. Mr. LeBoeuf is a charter member of the Bird Strike Committee.
RonMerritt175x175.jpgRon Merritt

Ron Merritt is the President of DeTect Inc., a small Florida company that specializes in remote sensing technologies for the detection of birds and bats in the atmosphere. He is a retired U.S. Air Force officer who served as Chief of the USAF BASH Team from the late 1980s through the mid 1990s and was directly involved in the implementation of the U.S. Air Force Avian Hazard Advisory System (AHAS) and the development and implementation of the use of small bird detection radar systems for use on airports, military airfields, and bombing ranges. He is a FAA-qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist with experience across the United States at both military and civilian airports as well as with airports in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Ron is also an experienced accident investigator and has completed both U.S. Air Force and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident investigation training courses, and he has participated in a wide range of mishap investigations. Ron was a member of the initial Bird Strike Committee USA Steering committee in 1989.
DeFusco175x175.jpgRussell DeFusco

Dr. Russell P. DeFusco, Lt Col, U.S. Air Force (retired) is Vice President of BASH Incorporated. He is a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a BS degree in Biology and earned a PhD in Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. DeFusco is former Chief of the USAF Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Team. He has been the Principal Investigator on the United States Bird Avoidance Model (BAM) and has been involved in development of bird detection and forecasting systems using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), satellite imagery, radars, and other technologies. He has developed hundreds of operational BASH Plans for the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve units, as well as other federal agencies including the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, NASA, and foreign governments. He has also worked with the FAA in developing policy guidelines as well as wildlife hazard assessments, management plans, site visits, and airport wildlife hazard management training for civil airports, and currently provides consulting services to overseas agencies and those in North America on all aspects of wildlife hazard management and operational planning.
avatar-bigRobert Dogan

Bio and Photo forthcoming!
Dolbeer-175x175.jpgRichard Dolbeer

Richard Dolbeer earned a PhD from Colorado State University and was a scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1972 to 2008, where he led various research projects to resolve conflicts between humans and wildlife in North America, Africa, and Asia. He has published over 220 scientific papers, manuals, and book chapters. Richard was Chairman of Bird Strike Committee USA from 1987 to 2008 and is a recipient of the FAA’s “Excellence in Aviation Research” award. Richard currently manages his 58-acre farm “Bluebird Haven” in northern Ohio and works as a science advisor to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He has two children and six grandchildren.