PRINCE HARRY, THE DUKE OF SUSSEX
Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex is a humanitarian, military veteran, mental wellness advocate, and environmentalist. He has dedicated his life to advancing causes that he is passionate about and that bring about permanent change for people and places.
He spent the first 10 years of his adulthood serving in the British Army, during which he undertook two tours of duty in Afghanistan as a forward air controller and an Apache helicopter pilot. After completing his military service, The Duke founded the Invictus Games Foundation, a platform for wounded, injured and sick service personnel to use sport as rehabilitation. The international event is a globally celebrated display of resilience, community and athleticism that is universally recognized for its impact in celebrating those that serve.
Prince Harry is also the founder and patron of a number of global charities and organizations including Travalyst, Sentebale, African Parks, and WellChild. In 2021, he was named Chief Impact Officer at BetterUp, a world-class coaching platform that helps people everywhere achieve their own peak mental fitness. That same year, he served on the Aspen Institute Commission on Information Disorder, which brought together critical voices across the public, private, and civil society landscape to respond to today’s mis- and disinformation crisis.
Most recently, he co-founded The Archewell Foundation, alongside his wife, Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, to serve communities in need at a micro and macro level. The couple also created Archewell Productions to produce programming that informs, elevates and inspires through a creative partnership with Netflix.
He is a New York Times Bestselling author with his literary debut, Spare, a memoir of his life through the lens of compassion, vulnerability, and unflinching honesty. Spare is notably the fastest selling non-fiction book in history, selling over 1.4 million copies on its first day of publication.
Prince Harry resides in California with his wife Meghan, and their two children Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.
Fred George still remembers the excitement of his first flight at age three, when his father, a World War II US Naval officer and newly minted private pilot, sat him on his mother’s lap in the back seat of a war surplus Vultee BT-13 Valiant and took him flying around the San Fernando Valley. That ignited his life-long passion for flying. His father also nurtured his ambition of becoming a Naval Aviator, a dream Fred realized two years after graduating from UCLA. After earning his Wings of Gold in April 1971, he landed a slot flying F4J Phantoms at NAS Miramar. He went on to make three WESTPAC cruises and log more than 300 carrier landings.
Hoping to land an airline pilot job, he left the Navy in 1977. His timing was awful, as the airlines were beginning a nosedive. So, he changed career paths to business aviation and earned his ATP. He flew Learjet charters and taught in Cessna Citations for a small southern California company. But it went broke in three years.
Again, he changed career paths, this time to aviation journalism. He knew nothing about writing, but he loved flying. Writing, at first, was simply a means to an end, an expedient route to the left seat. Then came feedback about his wordsmith skills, sometimes encouraging, frequently stinging, always opportunities for growth. He vowed to make his next report better than the last. Soon his mission became clear: Do his best to take others along where they couldn’t go themselves, share his experiences vicariously, explain the good and the bad about the airplanes, help others make informed choices.
Fred’s pilot reports eventually would earn an international following, encouraging his employers, Flying Magazine, Aviation Week and Business & Commercial Aviation, among others, to give him more challenging assignments. That opened the doors and canopies of more than 230 aircraft during the next four decades.
Finally, his personal revelation. His best reward isn’t just flying new and exciting aircraft. It’s sharing each new journey with the world.
Fred and his wife Lynda Sands, JD, MBA, live in Central Oregon.
Steve Hinton took his first ride in an aircraft in October 1967. Ten years later, Steve earned his ATP and A & P licenses. He learned how to keep historic aircraft flying from WWII veterans and has passed that knowledge on to hundreds of mechanics and pilots. Steve has been a warbird instructor since 1978 and has served continuously on the Board of Planes of Fame Air Museum since 1971, becoming President in 1994.
Steve’s involvement with Planes of Fame started in 1968 working on museum aircraft. In 1980 Steve started Fighter Rebuilders, a company that specializes in historic aircraft restoration and their reputation as savvy restorers spread quickly. Fighter Rebuilders has restored 44 historic aircraft. The most recent completion was an 8-year restoration of Lewis Air Legends Lockheed Constellation. Steve is known worldwide for his expertise not only in rebuilding the aircraft but also in flying them. He has consulted and flown aircraft for collectors as well as other museums worldwide, completing 64 first flights after restoration. Steve has received many accolades in his career, but he is most proud of the many restorers who learned their skills in his shop.
He was part of the Air Force Heritage Flight Program, The Horsemen Flight Team, Motion Picture Pilots Association, AOPA, ICAS, EAA, and is currently flying with the Navy Legacy Flight. Steve began racing at the Reno Air Races in 1975. He moved into the highly modified “Red Baron” in 1978, winning the Unlimited Division, the first of six Unlimited victories, while flying for Western Airlines from 1979-1981. Steve set the World’s Speed record for piston-powered, propeller- driven aircraft in 1979. He took over pace plane duties from R.A. “Bob” Hoover in 1990 flying the T-33 pace plane.
As a Screen Actors Guild member, he has flown as a pilot for film since 1977, working on approximately 100 motion picture and television productions as pilot/coordinator. Steve is rated to fly “All Makes and Models of Single and Multi-Engine Piston Powered Experimental Aircraft.” He has flown as pilot in command in 170 types of piston and jet powered aircraft, compiling 12,000+ hours total time, 9,500+ of those hours in warbirds.
MARC PARENT, C.M.
President and Chief Executive Officer, CAE Inc.
Marc Parent has served as CAE’s President and CEO since 2009. He joined the company in 2005 as Group President, Simulation Products, was appointed Group President, Simulation Products and Military Training & Services in 2006, and then Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2008.
Marc has more than 40 years of experience in the aerospace industry. Since joining CAE, he has led the company’s growth beyond creating simulation products to providing solutions, services and technologies that enhance human performance, while always looking for innovative ways to give back to Canada.
Under Marc’s leadership, CAE has become a Canadian symbol of excellence globally as the largest provider of civil aviation training services in the world, and a global leader in training and mission support solutions for defence and security forces, with the ultimate objective of preparing people for the moments that matter.
Committed to building technology to accelerate the development and safe adoption of world-changing innovations, Marc led CAE to become the first Canadian aerospace company to achieve carbon neutrality in 2020.
Marc’s leadership, contributions, and accomplishments have been well recognized throughout his career. In 2005, the SAE presented him with its Aerospace Engineering Leadership Award. In 2011 and 2020, Canadian Defence Review named him Executive of the Year. The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) granted him its James C. Floyd award in 2019. In 2020, Marc was named a member of the Order of Canada, one of Canada’s highest honours. In 2022, he was inducted into Quebec’s Air and Space Hall of Fame and named Industry Leader of the Year by Living Legends of Aviation. Also in 2022, Marc was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, named a Knight of the distinguished Ordre national du Québec, and awarded the Philip J. Klass Lifetime Achievement Award by Aviation Week.
Marc is past Chair of the Board of AIAC and Aéro Montréal. He is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from Montreal’s École Polytechnique and of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.
Marc is also an active pilot holding an Airline Transport Pilot License from Transport Canada.
Lifetime Aviation Industry Award
Mark Burns has enjoyed a 40-year esteemed career with Gulfstream Aerospace. Through the decades, he has experienced nearly every facet of the business aviation industry. His interest in aviation began in college when he worked alongside several Gulfstream engineers on a class project for an ultralight aircraft. This exciting project piqued his interest immensely, so it was no surprise that upon his graduation from Georgia Southern University in 1983, Mark would begin his career in aviation at Gulfstream, joining as a computer-aided design operator.
From engineering to completions, supplier quality, technical operations and customer support, Mark excelled in his career taking on roles with increasing levels of responsibility. He quickly became known as a leader dedicated to providing the finest customer experience for Gulfstream owners and operators. In 2008, Mark was appointed President of Customer Support—a role he truly enjoyed as he traveled the world meeting with customers and soliciting their feedback on process improvements.
Mark was appointed President of Gulfstream in 2015, and has led the company through a period of significant investment in innovation and growth. Highlights include the introduction of the next-generaEon fleet of aircraG as well as expansion of manufacturing and support facilities ensuring Gulfstream honors its commitment to service each aircraft for life.
A native of Savannah, Georgia, Mark is proud to call Savannah his home and to have been part of the tremendous growth and success of Gulfstream. Mark is generous with his time, serving on the board of directors for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Georgia Power and the Corporate Angel Network. He is part of the associate member advisory council of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), a board member of the National Air and Space Museum, a member of the National Committee for the Performing Arts and serves on the board of curators for the Georgia Historical Society.
LAURANS A. MENDELSON
Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award
Laurans A. (Larry) Mendelson was born in New York City on July 7, 1938. He attended Public Elementary School and then Brooklyn Technical High School where he got his background in engineering. He then attended Columbia College in the City of New York and after, attended Columbia Graduate School of Business where he received his MBA, having majored in Finance and Accounting.
Immediately after graduate school, he was hired by Arthur Andersen & Company where he worked for about six years. He always knew that he wanted to start his own company, as an entrepreneur, and in 1969 the family moved to Miami, Florida.
Larry was originally engaged successfully in the real estate industry in South Florida. In the mid-1980s his son Victor Mendelson became interested in a small South Florida public company called HEICO Corporation. The Mendelson Family became the largest shareholder in HEICO and in 1990, Mr. Mendelson became the company’s Chairman, President and CEO.
From then on, until the present time, Mr. Mendelson and his two sons, Eric and Victor, have worked long and hard to build HEICO into a major Aerospace and Electronics company. When the Mendelsons took over HEICO in 1990, it was a small public company listed on the American Stock Exchange. The company had a market value of about $25 million and essentially one, single aerospace product.
Today, HEICO is a major international company with a market value of approximately $21 Billion, offers hundreds of thousands of parts, in both Aerospace and Electronic Technologies and employs approximately 10,000 Team Members at facilities located in 15 countries and 21 states in the USA. Mr. Mendelson and his wife of over 60 years, Arlene, have been very civically and philanthropically active as a members and significant donors to numerous organizations in South Florida and elsewhere.
Founder and CEO BETA Technologies
Eren Ozmen Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Kyle is an aerospace engineer, pilot, entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of BETA Technologies, a Vermont-based electric aerospace company that is developing a transportation system to make aviation greener, safer and more accessible. This system, which will reshape the way we move cargo and people, includes all-electric aircraft, the most extensive multi-modal electric charging infrastructure in the U.S., and a program to train the next generation of pilots.
Since founding BETA in 2017, Kyle and team have continued to advance the aircraft along a path to certification, building out capabilities to serve its diverse customer base, which includes industry leaders across the logistics, medical, defense and passenger sectors.
Prior to BETA, Kyle co-founded Venture.co and was Director of Engineering at Dynapower, where he and his team of programmers, engineers and technicians developed a full line of inverters, pulse modulators and control systems and before that, he was a founding partner and Vice President of Engineering at iTherm Technologies. Kyle earned his Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Harvard University and played right wing in the NHL’s Washington Capitals organization for several years before pursuing entrepreneurial ventures.
LINDEN S. BLUE
Vice Chairman General Atomics
Dr. Sam B Williams Technology Award
Since 1986, Linden Blue has been Vice Chairman of General Atomics (GA). Primary responsibilities have included development of the fourth-generation EM2 nuclear reactor, and GA’s activities at the San Diego Supercomputer Center established by GA in 1985. GA is a high technology company with world leadership in fusion, fission, and reactors. GA also does research and development of sensors for remotely-piloted aircraft for intelligence, and surveillance, reconnaissance, radiation monitoring, high-power electricity, nuclear power for space applications, and advanced composite materials, GA develops and manufactures high-power electromagnetics, high-power lasers, and remotely-piloted aircraft.
Blue also is co-founder of Cordillera Corporation of Denver, with assets in real estate, gas utilities, and oil and gas production. He was President and CEO of Beech Aircraft Corporation and a Director of Raytheon Company; CEO of Lear Fan Limited; COO of Gates Learjet Corporation, and head of Strategic Planning. He is CEO of Spectrum Aeronautical, developing high technology jets.
Other activities past and present include: Board of Overseers, Center for Naval Analysis; Trustee and Executive Committee, Hudson Institute; Board Member and Past President, Green Foundation (geophysics and planetary physics); National Parks Foundation board; General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Center for Naval Analysis; Sanford Burnham, Prebys Institute; UCSD Foundation; Chairman of the Board, Jobs for San Diego’s Graduates; Chairman Emeritus Deans Advisory Board, Schools of Engineering (UCSD), Deans Advisory Committee Natural Sciences UCSD, Jobs for America’s Graduates; Board of Advisors, UCSD Connect; Member, U.S. Ski Team Committee; Councilman-at-Large, City of Denver; Denver Planning Board; Board, Denver Symphony; President, American Council of Young Political Leaders; and Board, Business and Industry Political Action Committee.
Earlier, Mr. Blue served in the U.S. Air Force and was a partner in a 4,000-acre cacao and banana plantation in Nicaragua. While an undergraduate he was a correspondent for the Yale Aerial Expedition to South America.
He graduated from Yale University in 1958. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science by South Dakota University Mines and Technology. He is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program, Harvard Business School.
Freedom of Flight Award
My earliest fascination with airplanes was sparked by my WW2 Naval Aviator father, who learned to fly from his Aviatrix neighbor, Charlotte Frye, an original 99. Before the war, she bought the first Beech Staggerwing from Walter Beech, flew air races, airmail, and taught Boy Scouts to fly. In the early 60s on a school bus field trip, I made one of my earliest command decisions, peeling off from my classmates who were eager to experience carnival rides. I was more interested in airplanes tied down at the adjacent Griffin Georgia Airport; I found that environment intoxicating. This decision changed my destiny forever. The next day a teacher inquired about my diversion. Mrs. Wheelless quipped that I needed to straighten up—her son was an aviator in Vietnam. “You are the only one in your class that will be a millionaire! Pursue your dreams to learn to fly and never look back at losing your parents in the first grade. It’s up to you, no one else.”
Washing airplanes after high school and sweeping hangar floors paid for flying lessons. Flying with my boss and mentor, Bob McSwiggan, was invaluable. He would bark in severe weather, “Stay on course-. Fly to the lightning – it’s a smoother ride!” That became a life metaphor for me. While in law school, I worked for him as a charter freight pilot in Beech 18s and DC3s. On a freight trip, the boss shoved the company’s insurance file at me, I shoved it back. “I don’t know anything about aviation insurance.” Barking again, “LEARN !!! You are in Law school, Learn.” Unknown to me, Atlanta was the center of the universe for aviation insurance underwriting. While visiting underwriters, they encouraged me to start a brokerage firm based on my knowledge of Law and Aviation. Those visits saved my boss $185K. Some forty years later, Lance Toland Associates has become one of the most respected names in aviation insurance worldwide.
After a short courtship of ten years, I married my college sweetheart, Jan Brown; her dad was a WW2 Hump and career air force pilot. We started our family, Lance Jr. and Ansley Ruth Toland are our proudest achievements. Both are now grown, legacy fixed and rotor wing pilots, carrying on their independent lives within the family businesses. And might I add, they will have a lot of lightning to fly through!
Elling Halvorson Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award
Lauren Sánchez is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and news anchor who began her career working in local news while studying at the University of Southern California. Following a successful national television career, Lauren’s love of aviation truly took flight. Lauren’s father, a former flight instructor who still flies to this day, instilled in her a passion for aviation. He inspired Lauren to get her pilot’s license and fulfill her dream of becoming a pilot, which ultimately led her to found Black Ops Aviation in 2016.
A true trailblazer, Black Ops Aviation is one of the first female-owned and operated aerial film and production companies with a focus across television and film. Later this year, Lauren is taking part in what will be a historic all female space flight aboard Blue Origin’s, New Shepard.
Lauren is also a dedicated philanthropist — serving as Vice Chair of the Bezos Earth Fund which is dedicated to fighting climate change and the protection of nature.
As a Latina, Lauren champions efforts to enhance opportunities for all Latinos. In 2023, she was honored for her work in support of educational and critical needs programs with This is About Humanity, an organization dedicated to supporting separated and reunified families at the U.S.-Mexico border. She is also deeply involved in the Day 1 Families Fund, which helps U.S. homeless families, and Bezos Academy, which provides tuition-free preschool education in underserved communities.
Whether taking flight in a helicopter or working to change the world through her charitable endeavors, Lauren Sánchez is devoted to improving the lives of others.