Bird Strike Committee USA is a volunteer organization directed by a Steering Committee composed of members from representative organizations. The Steering Committee meets in person twice each year: in conjunction with the annual BSC USA Conference and again in the winter. The Steering Committee also holds monthly conference calls to address ongoing committee business.
WHO ATTENDS BIRD STRIKE COMMITTEE USA MEETINGS
The Annual BSC USA meeting, which is held in conjunction with the annual conference, is open to any person interested in reducing wildlife hazards to aviation and in wildlife and environmental management at airports. Those interested in participating as a member may reach out to a current steering committee for more information. Elections are held twice annually.
COMMITTEE STRUCTURE and BYLAWS
Bird Strike Committee USA (BSC USA) is a volunteer organization dedicated to providing leadership in managing wildlife strikes to aviation. The BSC USA Steering Committee sets policy and is responsible for the actions of BSC USA in accordance with the bylaws. The Steering Committee includes:
The five-member Executive Committee includes three voting members of the Steering Committee—the Chair, Vice Chair, and Immediate Past Chair, who are empowered to lead the Steering Committee and take action on behalf of the Steering Committee. Two non-voting positions, the Secretary and Treasurer, support the Executive Committee.
The Steering Committee includes representatives from eight classes of membership identified in the bylaws: the Aerospace Industry, Airlines, U.S. Airports, U.S. Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), U.S, Department of Agriculture/APHIS/Wildlife Services (USDA WS), Private Sector Services, and a general classification. Each membership class includes up to three representatives and functions as a subcommittee within the greater Steering Committee.
Five standing committees are responsible for implementing activities identified by the Standing Committee: Membership, Annual Conference, Operations & Policy, Research & Development, and Education & Outreach. Standing Committee membership does not include voting privileges.
Emeritus Members, who are nominated and elected by voting members of the Steering Committee. Emeritus members are voting members who graciously lend their expertise to the committee and its work in support of aviation wildlife hazard management.
BSC USA operates in accordance with its adopted bylaws that describe our organization’s mission and objectives, membership structure and voting privileges, and other issues. The bylaws are reviewed annually and revised as necessary.
Nick 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 ultimate frisbee.
Amy Anderson, Vice Chair/FAA Representative
Amy Anderson is a National Wildlife Biologist for Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airports Division 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.
John Weller, Past Chair/FAA Representative
John Weller has been a National Wildlife Biologist for the Federal Aviation Administration 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.
Erin O'Connor, Secretary
Erin O’Connor is the Senior Manager, Leadership and Events for the American Association of Airport Executives and has been with AAAE for almost seven years. Before joining AAAE, she worked in the hospitality industry for ten years. Erin is originally from New York where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics from SUNY Cortland. Erin moved to Virginia in 2012 to be closer to family and currently lives in Fairfax.
Laura Francoeur, Treasurer
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.
Kurt Roberts, Aerospace Industry Representative
Kurt Roberts (MBA Seattle University, BSME [Aerospace] United States Military Academy, PMP) is an Airplane Safety Engineer with The Boeing Company where he works in the Airplane Safety Airplane Development group. His responsibilities include airplane-level safety requirements, airplane system and component failure analyses for single failures and multiple failures, and safety assessment for airplane threats, including bird strike, windmilling, and others. In his previous position as a Project Engineer for Service-Related Problems, Kurt led engineering teams through root-cause analysis and corrective actions for emergent issues across the commercial aircraft fleet. Kurt also is an active outdoorsman who values wildlife and wild habitat, and he is a private pilot with a keen interest in avoiding interactions between small aircraft and wildlife.
Michael Millat, Aerospace Industry Representative
Michael Millat is a member of the Flight Safety Investigations team at Pratt & Whitney. Michael graduated from the University of Michigan in 2004 with a Bachelor Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Upon graduation, he served for 10 years in the Air Force, primarily as a C-17A pilot, stationed at McChord Field, Washington and Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. As an instructor in the C-17A, he garnered more than 2,400 total flight hours over six deployments in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Hope. After leaving the military in 2014, Michael moved to Connecticut to join Pratt & Whitney’s Product Safety team, first as a Safety Risk Analyst, and, most recently, a Flight Safety Investigator. He was also instrumental in Pratt & Whitney’s recent acceptance into the FAA’s voluntary Safety Management System program, and represents Pratt & Whitney on multiple safety-related industry committees. He holds a Master’s Degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, specializing in Safety Systems, and a Commercial Pilot License with multi-engine, instrument and instructor ratings.
Matthew Jones, Airline Representative
Matt Jones has been in the Aviation industry for over 13 years, which includes time with Raytheon, the Federal Aviation Administration and Southwest Airlines. Currently, Matt serves as an Air Safety Investigator for Southwest Airlines based in Dallas TX. In that position, Matt is responsible for focusing on NTSB reportable events as well as the identification and investigation of safety hazards facing Southwest Pilots, Flight Attendants, and Dispatchers. As part of this responsibly, the Safety & Security department also investigates bird strike events depending on their severity (Substantial damage to aircraft, high speed rejected takeoffs, etc.) He attended the University of Oklahoma and obtained his BS in Aviation Management and is also a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where Matt obtained a Master of Aeronautical Science degree specializing in Aviation Safety Systems. He holds an FAA Dispatcher Certificate and Commercial Pilot Certificate with single/multi engine – instrument privileges. In his free time, Matt enjoys speeding time with friends/family, traveling, going to sporting events and also fly’s part-time for a Part 91 company utilizing a Cessna Citation CJ1.
Andrew Averna, Airline Representative
Andrew Averna is currently the Manager of ManagerSafety Investigations for JetBlue. Andrew has spent 30 years in aviation, starting out as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician with Trans World Airlines. Since that time, he has served as a Technician, Technical Representative, Maintenance Supervisor, and Maintenance Controller for various Part 121 air carriers. He began his tenure at JetBlue Airways in 2004 and has served on the Safety Investigations team since 2012.
Michael Stephens, Airport Representative
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 including: Nashville International Airport, Tri-Cities Airport (Tennessee), Washington Dulles International Airport, and the Central Wisconsin Airport. Michael has worked for national consulting firms, served as an aircraft dispatcher and crew scheduling supervisor for a major regional airline, and served as the Senior Airports Director for the 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.
Cathy Boyles, Airport Representative
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.
Jay Higgins, U.S. Department of Defense Representative
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.
Daniel P. Sullivan, Department of Defense (U.S. Air Force)
Daniel 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, in 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 biology and is a veteran of the United States Navy.
Amy Reed, FAA Representative
Amy Reed, a Qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist and Certified Wildlife Biologist, is an Environmental Protection Specialist at the Orlando Airports District Office for the FAA. Prior to joining the FAA she worked for an environmental consulting firm conducting and developing Wildlife Hazard Assessments, Wildlife Hazard Management Plans, and wildlife management training at civilian 14 CFR Part 139 airports and general aviation airports. She has worked as a biologist at more than 20 airports across eight states. She has also conducted over 60 BASH site visits for the Air National Guard. For almost two years Amy worked Mexico City to support the New Mexico City International Airport project. Amy brings 13 years’ experience in wildlife and habitat assessments, protected species relocations, NEPA, and environmental resource permitting for small- and large-scale aviation projects. With a degree in wildlife ecology, she specializes in avian identification and biology. Amy served previously as the Membership Chair. She is passionate about being an active member of volunteer organizations.
Mike Begier, U.S. Department of Agriculture Representative
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.
Aaron Guikema, U.S. Department of Agriculture Representative
Aaron Guikema has served as the State Director for the Wildlife Services Program in New Jersey since 2015. Prior to that, he served as the District Supervisor for the WS Program in NJ from 2013 to 2015. From 2008 to 2013, Aaron was the Staff Wildlife Biologist for the WS Eastern Regional Office in Raleigh, NC. Aaron started his career with WS as a Wildlife Specialist in Michigan and worked primarily on starling control and airports. Aaron holds a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Lake Superior State University.
Ann Hodgson, Resource Design, Private Sector Representative
Dr. Ann Hodgson is a recognized expert in wildlife ecology, wetlands ecology, and ornithology. She manages projects and tasks related to threatened and endangered species surveys, wildlife hazard management, population and conceptual ecological models, botanical studies, habitat assessments, and water resources and hydrogeomorphic wetlands evaluations. Dr. Hodgson has 38 years of professional experience in the areas of avian ecology, wildlife management, water resource evaluation, freshwater wetlands, coastal ecosystems, and habitat management and restoration. She has completed multiple FAA Wildlife Hazard Assessments and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans for airports from Florida to California, and provides wildlife management expertise to multi-disciplinary planning teams.
William J. “Joe” Barnes
Colonel (Ret.) William J. “Joe” Barnes has a BSME and an MS in Systems Management from USC and is the Chief Operating Officer of Lumen International, Inc. He was a Boeing 737 Captain, an F-16 operational test pilot, and Director of the USAF Air Combat Command Night Vision Center. He has 153 combat missions in fighters, over 10,000 flight hours and served as the Senior Special Projects Engineer for US Southern Command. He has ten years’ experience teaching aviation related post-graduate courses, and patents for a laser-based aircraft ice detection system and for a system to protect aircraft.
Alison Doran, Private Sector Representative
Alison Doran is an FAA-Qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist with Environmental Resource Solutions, a Division of SES Energy Services. LLC. Alison specializes in wildlife surveys on airports, airport wildlife hazard assessments, wildlife hazard site visits, wildlife hazard management plans, and airport wildlife hazard management training. Her key role at ERS is to conduct Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Site Visits for all Air National Guard bases throughout the United States. She received both her bachelor’s degree in Zoology and her master’s degree in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Sustainability from Texas Tech University. Prior to ERS, Alison worked as the head Wildlife Biologist for the City of Dallas and was responsible for wildlife management at Dallas Love Field Airport and Dallas Executive Airport. Alison is a National Rifle Association Certified Firearms Safety Instructor, an Associate Wildlife Biologist® with The Wildlife Society, and a NAUI-certified open water diver.
Jay Tischendorf, General Representative
Jay Tischendorf is a veterinarian and qualified airport wildlife biologist. He’s been involved with the aeronautical wildlife subject for over a decade. Among many other activities and interests, Jay regularly trains natural resource and animal health professionals in infectious and zoonotic disease. As an interesting side note, in his free time Jay is actively searching for the supposedly extinct ivory-billed woodpecker.
Faridah Dahlan, General Representative
Faridah Dahlan is a molecular geneticist currently working with the Smithsonian Institution’s Feather Identification Lab in Washington DC. The focus of her work at the Feather ID Lab is processing bird strike remains for molecular identification using DNA barcoding.
Faridah’s early training was in Puerto Rico doing research on dengue fever and the phylogeny of higher fungi. In 1981, she received her B.Sc. from the University of Washington in Seattle with graduate work in forest ectomycorrhiza. She gained further laboratory and microscopy experience working on depression and HIV research projects at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Faridah joined the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History in 2000 working on the genetics of leaf cutter ants from South and Central America. She joined the Feather Identification Lab in 2008 and was integral in developing the current molecular methods used for bird strike species identification.
Christopher Pollock, Operations and 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.
Troy Levanen, Research and Development
Troy has worked at Alaska for 32.5 years, including 24 in Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering and 8.5 in Maintenance and Engineering Safety. He is a licensed Airframe and Powerplant Aircraft Technician. He is currently the Director of Maintenance Operations Safety for Alaska Air Group, overseeing the maintenance and engineering safety aspects of all flights operated for Alaska, including flights operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, SkyWest Airlines, and others.
Troy has worked with Bird Strike USA for 5 years, serving as an Airlines Representative on the Steering Committee for 4 years and also serving on the R&D and Ops Policy Sub-Committees. He has currently been the Vice-Chair of the R&D Sub-Committee for almost 1 year.
He is also a Certified Aircraft Accident Investigator who has performed hundreds of investigations of all sizes, including some major wildlife strikes. In a former role as the leader of an AOG Team at the airline for many years, Troy was responsible for the safe repair and return to service for those same type of accidents, including some wildlife strikes that took longer than a month to repair.
Rachael Vise, Membership Committee Chair
Rachael Vise is currently the Wildlife Management Specialist for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) at MCO. She graduated from Auburn University in 2017, with a degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management. After graduation, Rachael found herself moving to Orlando and working for Walt Disney World as a Pest Management Technician and then later a Pest Management K9 Handler. After two years with Disney, she was eager to get back into the wildlife world and secured her current position at MCO.
Jim Laughlin, Conference
James (Jim) is the current Chair of the Annual Bird Strike Planning Committee for Bird Strike USA. Jim is also a Certified Airport Wildlife Biologist for the US Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant Health
Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS-WS) at Beale AFB, California where he is the Bird/wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Program Manager. He is responsible for implementing the BASH program for the base. Prior to Wildlife Services, he worked for California Waterfowl Association as the Waterfowl Biologist Field Projects Coordinator. Jim graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management.
Matthew Powers, Education and Outreach
Matthew Powers has held the title of Airport Operations Supervisor at the Dane County Regional Airport (DCRA) for the past 9 years and is responsible for the daily enforcement of FAA Part 139 and TSA Part 1542 as well as State, County, and Local regulations. Before joining DCRA, Matthew held similar responsibilities at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Matthew has a keen interest in wildlife mitigation, airfield construction management, and Irregular Operations, and their impact on the airport environment. Matthew holds a private pilot’s license and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Aviation Management from Louisiana Tech University. Matthew has been a member of Bird Strike Committee (BSC) USA for the past 4 years and has participated in outreach and education activities such as EAA/AirVenture on several occasions.
Jeff Follett, Communications
Jeff draws on 20 years of project and people management in leading Avisure’s team. He has a demonstrated record of achievement in programmatic areas such as project design and implementation, risk management, stakeholder consultation and training, and monitoring and evaluation. Jeff believes in contributing to the industry in which he works, holding a Standing Committee Chair position with the Bird Strike Committee USA and providing technical advice for industry documents including the National Airports Safeguarding Framework Guideline C (Managing the Risk of Wildlife Strikes in the Vicinity of Airports) and ICAO Doc 9332 [Manual on the ICAO Bird Strike Information System (IBIS)] . He has assisted clients in North America, Oceania, Southeast Asia and the Middle East to manage their wildlife hazards through training, hazard assessments, active management, and the development of management plans.
Gene LeBoeuf, FAA/USAF, Ret.
Eugene LeBoeuf is a Wildlife Biologist who retired from the United States Air Force (USAF) and Federal service in January of 2011. he was both a member and later the Chief of the 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. Gene obtained his BS degree from LSU in 1978. Mr. LeBoeuf is a charter member of the Bird Strike Committee.
Russell DeFusco, BASH, Inc.
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.
Richard Dolbeer, USDA, Ret.
Richard Dolbeer earned a Ph.D 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.
Matt Klope, U.S. Navy, Ret.
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.
John Ostrom, Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission
As the Assistant Director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission’s Integrated Operations Department at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), John is responsible for a variety of MSP’s operational programs including Wildlife Hazard Management, Runway Safety, Self-inspection, Winter Operations and Airport Certification, as well as the design and operation of the airport’s new integrated operations center, branded as the North Star Center. John has been with the Operations Department since 1986 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.
Sarah Brammell, Blue Wing Environmental
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 and serves as the Co-Chair of the Airport Council International-North America’s Natural Resources Committee. She is a past Chair of the Florida Airport Council’s Environmental Committee. Sarah is a former BSC Chair and Private Sector Services Representative.
Steve Czapka, USFWS
Steve is a Certified Wildlife Biologist with over 20 years’ of experience with NGO (Ducks Unlimited), federal government (USDA Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and private consulting firms. He has conducted bird surveys/research throughout the U.S., including Alaska and Puerto Rico. Steve has over 15 years’ of NEPA experience including managing NEPA projects. He has worked on projects with many different industries, including onshore/offshore wind power, solar power, transmission, oil and natural gas pipelines, and subsea fiber optic and electric cables. Steve has also worked on many NEPA/natural resources projects with the Department of Defense, particularly the Navy, including aircraft operations and BASH.
Antoine Pilon, Airbus
Antoine Pilon is a Powerplant Safety and Certification engineer at Airbus Commercial airplanes where he works in the powerplant integration department. He’s the Airbus rotorburst and propeller blade release expert but his duties cover all major engine failure issues such as FBO or Bird Strike. Antoine has responsibility to design and certify safe aircrafts against rotorburst and is involved in all stages of the design process, from R&D to certification and accident / incident investigations. He took part in a major investigation related to a bird strike that occured in 2019. Antoine is a member of several industry / Airworthiness authorities committees related to aviation safety (Bird Strike / FBO / Rotorburst) and was an Airbus representative in the EASA Open Rotor Bird Strike rulemaking.
In his previous role within systems safety, he worked on multiple Particular Risk Assessments related to trajectories or vibrations.
Antoine joined Airbus in 2006 and has 15 years experience in aircraft safety. Antoine holds an engineering master degree in Aerospace Engineering from ISAE-ENSMA in France.
Jennifer Murphy, The Wildlife Society
Jennifer Murphy is a wildlife biologist with 23 years of experience in both the government and private sectors. For the majority of her career, she has focused on the management of wildlife hazards at airports.
For 13 years, Jennifer worked with USDA’s Wildlife Services program to help resolve human-wildlife conflicts. Her first attendance at a Bird Strike conference was in the early days of the organization, in Dallas in 1995; and she has attended several meetings since. Jennifer has worked with the Wildlife Services program in Colorado and Massachusetts where she oversaw the airport wildlife programs at Denver International Airport and Boston’s Logan Airport for four and two years, respectively. In addition, she consulted with and provided assessments for many more airports and military bases.
Jennifer was employed as an airport wildlife biologist for 10 years in the private sector by C&S Engineers and by Epsilon Associates. She conducted many wildlife hazard assessments around the country and provided wildlife hazard training for dozens of airport employees.
Jennifer earned her B.S. is wildlife biology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMASS), and her M.S. in wildlife biology from Utah State University. She is a longtime member of The Wildlife Society (TWS), first joining the student chapter at UMASS in 1993. She became an Associate Wildlife Biologist with TWS shortly after graduation, and received her Certified Wildlife Biologist status in 2000.
Jennifer became the Operations Coordinator at TWS in February 2020. She supports the TWS mission by helping to execute programs and projects in finance, administration, marketing, business relations, fundraising and communications.
Luis Saavedra, ALPA
Luis Saavedra works as a Captain for Air Wisconsin Airlines. He serves as a volunteer for ALPA as a Regional Airport Safety Coordinator for the Eastern region, and before that he was the DCA Airport Liaison. He previously served as Contract Negotiator, Chairman for Legislative Affairs. He recently attended the AAAE Bird Strike conference in 2021. Luis currently holds an Multi ATP, Gold Seal CFI, AGI IGI Ground instructor and a UAS certificate. Luis Saavedra graduated from Embry-Riddle University 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science and a Minor in ATC.
Roxie Laybourne (1910-2003) Smithsonian Institution (1997)
Roxie Collie S. was an ornithologist who developed forensic techniques for identifying species of birds involved in bird strikes. Her pioneering work led to aircraft safety improvements.
John Seubert (1921-2013), U.S. Department of Agriculture (2000)
John was a research biologist who pioneered work on bird strikes throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He was the first to develop procedures for conducting Wildlife Hazard Assessments and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans at airports. Through his work, John became a seminal figure in raising awareness of the bird-strike issue.
Richard Dolbeer, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ret. (2002)
Richard is a wildlife scientist who served as Chairperson of Bird Strike Committee USA from 1997 to 2008. Richard worked closely with the FAA to develop the National Wildlife Strike Database and worked with colleague Ed Cleary to write the joint FAA-USDA publication, Wildlife Hazard Management at Airports: A Manual for Airport Personnel. Richard has published publishing numerous scientific papers related to mitigating the risk of bird strikes. BSC-USA continues to honor Richard through the Sandy Wright / Richard Dolbeer Excellence in Strike Reporting Award, which recognizes one Part 139 certificated and one GA airport that have exhibited a noteworthy strike reporting program.
John Goglia, National Transportation Safety Board (2004)
John Goglia served as a member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) from 1995 to 2004. With more than 30 years’ experience in the aviation industry, he was the first NTSB Board Member to hold an FAA aircraft mechanic’s certificate. As a NTSB member, John advocated efforts to minimize the risk of bird strikes. As a teenager, John was involved as a scuba diver in the rescue and recovery operation in the aftermath of the Lockheed Electra crash in Boston Harbor in 1960. The crash, which killed 60 people, was caused by a flock of European starlings.
Eugene LeBoeuf, U.S. Air Force BASH Team (2006)
Gene served as the FAA Staff Wildlife Biologist from 1989 to 1995 and as the Chief of the USAF BASH team from 1995 to 2009. During his tenure with FAA, Gene was instrumental in establishing the National Wildlife Strike Database, developing and revising various Advisory Circulars related to wildlife and airports, and improving Wildlife Hazard Assessments and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans at airports nationwide.
Edward Cleary (1941-2016), Federal Aviation Administration (2006)
Ed Cleary followed in the footsteps of Gene LeBoeuf, serving as the FAA Staff Wildlife Biologist for the FAA from 1995 to 2007. During his tenure at FAA, Ed built upon the programs established by Mr. LeBoeuf and, in partnership with Richard Dolbeer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was the co-author of Wildlife Hazard Management at Airports: A Manual for Airport Personnel. Ed developed various training programs to educate FAA Airport Inspectors and airport personnel in managing wildlife hazards at airports.
Sandra E. Wright, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2016)
Sandy Wright was the manager of the National Wildlife Strike Database from 1995 to 2015. Her knowledge of birds and aviation, adept computer and editing skills, and her keen attention to detail enabled her to organize all wildlife strikes reported to the FAA after 1990 and accurately enter them into the national database. During her 20-year tenure, Sandy made significant contributions to aviation safety and science-based wildlife management at airports that will continue for future generations. BSC-USA continues to honor Sandy through the Sandy Wright / Richard Dolbeer Excellence in Strike Reporting Award, which recognizes one Part 139 certificated and one GA airport that have exhibited a noteworthy strike reporting program.
Carla Dove, Smithsonian Institution Feather Identification Lab (2021)
Carla started working for the Smithsonian Institution Division of Birds as a museum technician in 1989 under the mentorship of the late Roxie Laybourne. Carla became Manager of the Smithsonian’s Bird Strike Identification Program in 2000, and her ongoing studies and career path demonstrate her life-long dedication and enthusiasm for her work. She has contributed to the field of ornithology through the publication of more than 40 peer-reviewed works as well as countless professional documents and reports. She is dedicated to teaching young students and the public about ornithology, bird strikes, and feather identification.
Formation and History: Three Decades of Collaboration
In August 1991, Jim Forbes, New York State Director of USDA Wildlife Services (WS), seized the opportunity to call a special meeting during an annual FAA Technical Center Airports Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the Bird Strike Committee was formed. The invitees and attendees included FAA representative Eugene LeBoeuf; Technical Center representative Tom Hupf; USAF BASH Team representative Ron Merrit; WS New Jersey State Director Janet Sillings (Bucknall); Eastern Region FAA Airport Certification Inspector Vincent Cimino; USDA National Wildlife Research Center representative Richard Dolbeer; and Jim Forbes himself. The meeting was called to discuss heightened environmental issues and increases in population numbers of waterfowl, gulls, and other large birds as they pertained to aviation safety.
Jim Forbes was named as the Bird Strike Committee’s first Chairperson. His inspiration came from the Bird Strike Committee, Canada (BSCC), whose meetings he attended regularly in the 1980s. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) stated in Part 3 of their Airport Services Manual (Chapter 3) that each country should develop a bird strike committee, comprised of interested groups, to meet regularly and provide guidance regarding wildlife risk mitigation.
Meeting attendee Eugene (Gene) LeBoeuf was hired in 1989 as the first FAA Wildlife Biologist. One of his first orders of business was to use the newly formed BSC-USA to assist him in carrying out the myriad tasks he was responsible for. During his tenure from 1989 – 2005, while participating with the newly formed BSC-USA, Gene drafted the first FAA Advisory Circular, advocated to implement a robust National Wildlife Strike Reporting system and database, and rallied hard to bring wildlife aviation safety issues to the FAA’s forefront.
Early BSC-USA meeting in in the 1990s focused on the importance of data collection using a national strike reporting platform. Dr. Richard Dolbeer, USDA Wildlife Biologist, assumed the reins of leadership from Jim in 1996 with the help from WS’s Laura Henze from 1996-1997. Richard drafted the Committee’s bylaws in 1997, which received a majority vote, and Richard was elected as the second BSC-USA Chair.
In 1998, Richard Dolbeer and BSCC Chair Bruce MacKinnon announced a partnership of joint annual BSC-North America meetings to be held alternately in Canada and the United States. This agreement began a collaboration that commenced in Vancouver Canada in 1999, and joint conferences continue to occur at regular intervals.
BSC-USA began as a meeting of a handful of professionals in 1991 whose platform was and still is to provide input to the FAA (and military when appropriate) for guidance and rulemaking pertaining to wildlife hazards to aviation. Annual meeting participation now exceeds hundreds of attendees representing the FAA, airlines, pilots, private and government wildlife and environmental professionals, civil and military aviation, and Airport Operations personnel.
BSC has come a long way. And we look forward to great progress in the future.