Building Skills for Effective Leadership

ALPA’s Recently Elected Local Council Representatives Gather for Leadership Training

By Gavin Francis, Senior Aviation Writer

Sixty-five local council status reps and local executive council (LEC) officers from 22 pilot groups converged on ALPA’s McLean, Va., offices on February 7–9 to take part in the Leadership Training Conference to learn more about their responsibilities as pilot representatives and about the resources available to them through the Association. Many of the attendees were recently elected and took office on March 1. Organized and hosted by the Leadership Committee within ALPA’s Professional Development Group, the conference gives participants the chance to learn about a variety of topics that will help them in their new roles, such as ALPA’s governance structure, the basics of running efficient meetings, and the various departments and committees within ALPA they can call on for support.

“I believe that the highest calling in our organization is to be an ALPA rep on the ground,” said Capt. Jason Ambrosi, ALPA’s president, as he addressed attendees during the three days of presentations, panel discussions, and hands-on breakout sessions. “You’re the frontline leaders of this Association. I know that you’re going to put in a lot of time in this job, taking phone calls, talking with your members, and doing the everyday work of a council rep,” he said. “It’s not time that you’re going to get paid for, and you’ll end up doing a lot of this work while you’re out on a trip on a layover somewhere. I’ve been a local council rep so I know how much time it takes and the sacrifices you’re going to have to make. I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for what you do.”

Ambrosi’s message was echoed by F/O Mark Lockwood (Delta), the Leadership Committee chair, who underscored the long tradition of volunteerism of ALPA’s elected officers and the legacy with which they’ve been entrusted.

“For nearly a century, generations of pilot leaders have served our great union, each one building on the work of the previous,” Lockwood remarked. “Now the torch has been passed to you. Our goal this week is to give you a forum to take advantage of the essential tools and resources available to carry out your role and responsibilities effectively.”

Learning the Ropes

In addition to conducting the business of the local council, status reps also serve as members of their master executive council (MEC) and as members of ALPA’s Board of Directors. The conference is an excellent opportunity for these reps and LEC officers to learn the ins and outs of the work they’ll do in these roles, especially for those who are serving for the first time.

Among the presentations, participants heard from national officers regarding their different areas of responsibility, including Capt. Wendy Morse, ALPA’s first vice president; Capt. Tyler Hawkins, ALPA’s vice president–administration/secretary (see page 6); and Capt. Wes Clapper, ALPA’s vice president–finance/treasurer, as well as from various ALPA departments about the resources and services available to support them in their work. The conference also featured an introduction to the duty of fair representation, an update on issues affecting Canadian pilots, and presentations on the MEC’s role in contract negotiations, the benefits of the Worldwide Accident/Serious Incident and Pilot Peer Support Hotlines, and some of the different tools that reps can use to communicate effectively with their pilot groups. In addition, during several group exercises, attendees learned how to process an agenda item, prioritize steps in planning and carrying out negotiations, and best practices for representing their pilots in disciplinary investigations.

A number of guest speakers were also on hand. Longtime ALPA pollster Phil Comstock of Lescault and Waldeman, Inc. gave his assessment of who ALPA’s members are, based on his 40 years of research for the Association. Naseem Khuri, an expert on negotiation, influence, and conflict management at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, engaged the group in an interactive discussion about effective collaboration strategies. Dr. Quay Snyder, ALPA’s aeromedical advisor and president of the Aviation Medicine Advisory Service, discussed the work that his group does to support ALPA pilots. And F/O Camila Turrieta (JetBlue), ALPA’s Diversity, Equity, Belonging, and Inclusion Committee chair, along with Capt. Jason Graves (JetBlue), ALPA’s Professional Standards vice chair, detailed how their groups work collaboratively on pilots’ behalf, emphasizing the need for inclusive leadership.

Also present were representatives from the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations, the Air Canada Pilots Association, and the Allied Pilots Association. A goal of ALPA’s new leadership is to strengthen ties with international partners and develop closer relations with other pilot unions in support of common interests. The presence of these groups is a strong indication that the new administration is already making progress on those initiatives.

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Leadership Training Conference 2023

In addition to learning about leadership skills that will help them to better serve their pilot groups, participants also had the opportunity to build their networks of support by connecting with other pilot leaders and the Association’s professional staff during the Open House event, group dinners hosted by ALPA’s executive vice presidents, and a dinner for all of the attendees at the National Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

The conference also included a program for spouses to help convey to family members what these jobs entail, how important that work is to the union, and the demands of the job that will likely affect some aspect of their daily lives.

Conference Takeaways

Participants at this year’s conference brought a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences; however, each voiced a desire to improve their effectiveness as pilot leaders.

“This is my second time attending this conference,” said F/O Phil Anderson (United), who’s finishing up his first three-year term as a first officer representative for Council 12 and beginning a new term on March 1. “Your first time here is a little overwhelming because there’s so much information, and you only retain bits and pieces. But this time I’ve got some experience under my belt and have a better sense now of how all the pieces fit together.”

Anderson, who first got involved with ALPA work as a Legislative Affairs chair for his pilot group, noted that the support he received from ALPA’s Government Affairs staff was integral to his success in that role. He shared his experience with other attendees during the conference, and stressed how important relationship building is for an ALPA rep.

“The political work I did as the Legislative Affairs chair was all about relationships. As it turns out, being a pilot rep is also about relationships,” Anderson observed. “Everyone in this room has a little bit of a different experience, but at some point, I might pick up the phone and call one of these folks and say, ‘Hey, I remember you were telling me a story about a difficult challenge that you all were able to overcome. Can you tell me more about that because I think I’ve got something similar.’”

F/O Etienne Souske-Dumontet (PAL Airlines) was a first-time conference attendee and a new first officer in his first airline job. He was recently elected as first officer rep for Council 229-Air Borealis, deciding to get involved with ALPA work because he recognizes how important the organization is to the profession.

“I expected to come here and learn a lot, but I didn’t realize just how big the Association is and how many resources are available to us,” said Souske-Dumontet. “One thing I’ve realized is that ALPA is really here to support all its members, not just the pilots who work for the big airlines. ALPA makes these same resources available to everyone, regardless of how big the pilot group is. I’m just starting out in my career, but I know that in the future, regardless of where I am or what company I’m flying for, I’ll bring my experiences as an ALPA rep with me. And now, when I go back to my pilot group, I can talk to our members about everything that I learned and saw here.”

Conference attendees represented a diverse group of pilots, including those from both large and small airlines, U.S. and Canadian carriers, cargo and passenger operations, as well as pilots who are relatively new to the profession and those who have decades of experience. Having that diversity of experience among pilot leaders ensures that ALPA will continue to be a strong and adaptive organization, responsive to the pilots it represents.

“I’ve been at FedEx for 25 years now,” said F/O Terry Murphy (FedEx Express), who was also attending the Leadership Training Conference for the first time. Murphy was recently elected to his first term as Council 100 vice chair. “When I first started out, one of the older pilots suggested that I should get involved with the union at some point. He said it was important to give back. Now that my kids are older, I figured that I could fit that into my life. Having seen four contract negotiations at FedEx and how management has treated us over the years, I think I bring a perspective to this work that a younger pilot might not have.

“I was unaware of just how much ALPA national does to spread the union to other workplaces,” said Murphy. “I realize now how important that is, because even the smallest airline that isn’t unionized drags the whole profession down. The bigger our association is, the more influence we can have to protect ourselves against everyone out there who’s attacking our industry.”

That’s a sentiment shared by many, including ALPA’s new president, who’s making a push to encourage more pilots to get involved with ALPA work, either as a committee volunteer or running for elective office.

“It’s a pivotal time,” said Ambrosi. “There are a lot of special interests out there that are trying to hurt our membership, disrupt our industry, and put their priorities ahead of our own. The work you do will influence this Association, your union, for years to come. ALPA is here to support you in that work and provide the resources you need to do your job.”

New and Reelected ALPA Reps

The following ALPA leaders took office on March 1 for a three-year term ending Feb. 28, 2026. Don’t see your rep on the list? Log on to and click on the Representative tab for the name and e-mail of your elected master executive and local council officers.

Air Transat 200 Capt. Bibianne Lavallee, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Air Transat 200 F/O Simon Robitaille, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Air Transat 200 Capt. Guy Chevalier, Secretary-Treasurer

Air Wisconsin 50 Capt. Timothy Alfeld, Chair (Capt. Rep
Air Wisconsin 50 F/O Jeffrey Point, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Air Wisconsin 50 Capt. Michael Lewis, Secretary-Treasurer

Alaska 64 Capt. Robert Lane, Jr., Chair (SB #3 Rep)
Alaska 64 Capt. Bruce Sherry, Vice Chair
Alaska 64 Capt. Steven Bush, Secretary-Treasurer

Alaska 183 Capt. Arna Harris, Chair (SB #8 Rep)
Alaska 183 Capt. John Owens, Vice Chair
Alaska 183 Capt. Justin Albright, Secretary-Treasurer

Calm Air 205 Capt. Edward Oakes, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Calm Air 205 F/O Daniel Priest, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Calm Air 205 F/O Pierre Rieux, Secretary-Treasurer

Canadian North Bradley 240 Capt. Olivier Rodrigue-Beaudoin, Secretary-Treasurer

Delta 54 Capt. Wesley Blankenship, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Delta 54 F/O Avi Peres, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Delta 54 Capt. John Muller, Secretary-Treasurer

Delta 66 Capt. Evan Baach, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Delta 66 Capt. Marc Cervantes, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Delta 66 F/O Sherry Smith, Secretary-Treasurer

Endeavor Air 127 Capt. Andrew Wilson, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Endeavor Air 127 F/O Shawn McCraley, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Endeavor Air 127 Capt. James Kelly, Secretary-Treasurer

Endeavor Air 128 Capt. Jeremy Tremayne, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Endeavor Air 128 Capt. Navid Ghavami-Mameghani, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Endeavor Air 128 Capt. Austin Peterson, Secretary-Treasurer

Envoy Air 114 Capt. Gerard Smithers, Chair (Status Rep)
Envoy Air 114 Capt. Zachary Chiavaroli, Vice Chair
Envoy Air 114 Capt. Matthew Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer

Envoy Air 126 Capt. Oscar Patin, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Envoy Air 126 F/O Nicholas DeFigio, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Envoy Air 126 F/O Nicole Gallagher, Secretary-Treasurer

FedEx Express 22 Capt. Anthony Cutler, Chair (SB #2 Rep)
FedEx Express 22 F/O Brian Wald, Vice Chair (SB #5 Rep)
FedEx Express 22 F/O Ryan Hildreth, Secretary-Treasurer (SB #7 Rep)

FedEx Express 100 F/O William Clark, Chair (SB #12 Rep)
FedEx Express 100 F/O Terrence Murphy, Vice Chair
FedEx Express 100 F/O Amit Patel, Secretary-Treasurer

FedEx Express 500 Capt. Kenneth Fingers, Chair (SB #14 Rep)
FedEx Express 500 Capt. Jeffrey Olekszyk, Vice Chair
FedEx Express 500 Capt. Timothy Royston, Secretary-Treasurer

Frontier 165 Capt. Douglas Zink, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Frontier 165 F/O Randi Freyer, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Frontier 165 Capt. Michael Rider, Secretary-Treasurer

Jazz Aviation 220 Capt. Gilbert Renaud, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Jazz Aviation 220 F/O Elliot Beaumier, Vice Chair (F/O Rep
Jazz Aviation 220 Capt. Andrew Schliep, Secretary-Treasurer

JetBlue 191 Capt. Keith McClanahan, Chair (Capt. Rep)
JetBlue 191 F/O William Gresslin, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
JetBlue 191 Capt. Lawrence Miller, Secretary-Treasurer (Capt. Rep)
JetBlue 191 F/O Royce Fleitz, (F/O Rep)

Mesa 85 Capt. Thane Hubbell, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Mesa 85 Capt. Jerome Williams, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Mesa 85 Capt. Erik Larsen, Secretary-Treasurer

Mesa 88 Capt. John Ballantyne, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Mesa 88 F/O Eric Mann, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Mesa 88 F/O David Roh, Secretary-Treasurer

Morningstar Air Express 208 Capt. Chad Claringbold, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Morningstar Air Express 208 F/O Heather Dino, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Morningstar Air Express 208 Capt. Timothy Parker, Secretary-Treasurer

PAL Aerospace 232 Capt. Stephen Young, Chair (Capt. Rep)
PAL Aerospace 232 F/O Alex Faulkner, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
PAL Aerospace 232 Capt. Aaron Symes, Secretary-Treasurer

PSA 61 Capt. Ryan Fawcett, Chair (Capt. Rep)
PSA 61 F/O Ryan Wilson, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)

Spirit 109 Capt. Antonio Nassar, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Spirit 109 Capt. Marc Piquette, Vice Chair (Capt. Rep)
Spirit 109 F/O Eric Sapyta, Secretary-Treasurer (F/O Rep)
Spirit 109 Capt. Joshua Savage, (F/O Rep)

United 12 Capt. Eric Popper, Chair (Capt. Rep)
United 12 F/O Phillip Anderson, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
United 12 F/O Peter Bess, Secretary-Treasurer

United 33 F/O Mario Martins, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
United 33 Capt. Marc Rathmann, Secretary-Treasurer

United 172 Capt. Joshua Kallet, Chair (Capt. Rep)
United 172 F/O Edward Higgins II, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
United 172 F/O Mark Wapenaar, Secretary-Treasurer

Wasaya 236 Capt. James Harding, Chair (Capt. Rep)
Wasaya 236 F/O Prithvi Bharadwaj, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
Wasaya 236 Capt. Jeffrey O’Neill, Secretary-Treasurer

WestJet 230 F/O Ryan Barr, Chair (F/O Rep)
WestJet 230 Capt. Luke Hodgson, Vice Chair (Capt. Rep)
WestJet 230 F/O Mason Bowden, Secretary-Treasurer

WestJet Encore 211 Capt. Adam Fitzsimmons, Vice Chair (F/O Rep)
WestJet Encore 211 Capt. Thomas Iftody, Vice Chair (Capt. Rep)
WestJet Encore 211 Capt. Michael Wegner, Secretary-Treasurer

This article was originally published in the March 2023 issue of Air Line Pilot.

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