The AHS staff is lean but extremely efficient, with a staff to member ratio of 1:1,000 – one of the lowest in association organizations. The following descriptions indicate the basic areas of responsibility for each of the AHS headquarters staff directors. Any questions that you may have can be directed to the staff member who covers that area. You can contact us at +1-703-684-6777 – our extensions are listed below.
Executive Director, x111
Mike Hirschberg assumed the duties of the AHS Executive Director on June 1, 2011, after 20 years in the aerospace industry, primarily in vertical flight. As the Executive Director, he is responsible for the execution of the strategic direction set by the AHS Board of Directors.
He represents the vertical flight technical community and advocates for the advancement of vertical flight research and technology to the executive and legislative branches of the government. Mr. Hirschberg is the publisher of all society publications, including Vertiflite, the Journal of the AHS, and the AHS Annual Forum Proceedings.
Mr. Hirschberg was previously a principal aerospace engineer with CENTRA Technology, Inc., providing technical and program management support for over 10 years to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Office of Naval Research (ONR) on advanced aircraft and rotorcraft concepts. Prior to this, Mr. Hirschberg worked from 1994 to 2001 in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program Office, supporting the development of the X-32 and X-35 vertical flight propulsion systems.
He served as the Managing Editor of Vertiflite magazine from 1999 to 2011, and had been a contributing author since 1997. Mr. Hirschberg is an internationally-known lecturer, frequently presenting on vertical flight at short courses, meetings, conferences and universities, and is the author/co-author of more than 100 publications on helicopter, V/STOL and advanced aircraft developments, including three books.
Mr. Hirschberg holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia (1991) and a M.E. Mechanical Engineering from Catholic University of America (1996). He completed a Master of Business Administration at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech) in 2013.
He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).
Kay Yosua Brackins
Deputy Director, x103
Kay Brackins joined the Society in 2004 and is now the Deputy Director. Before coming to AHS, she oversaw the graphics, design and production of Vertiflite for over 20 years.
Kay is the principal liaison with the AHS technical community and attends all AHS Technical Council meetings. Kay also works closely with the Forum Technical Chair to coordinate the Forum’s technical sessions and works with the Forum student volunteer program. She is also the point-of-contact for the Student Design Competition.
As Director of Graphics, Kay is responsible for the graphics and design of Vertiflite and all Forum and membership promotional material, and assists in the production of the AHS Journal.
Director of Meetings and Advertising, x105
David Renzi joined the Society in February 2002 and he is the principal coordinator of the annual AHS Forum, the largest event of the year for the Society. He conducts all technical exhibit sales and coordinates the exhibit hall floor and sponsorships. He also administers the subcontracting for Forum activities including convention and hotel services, tours, special events, transportation, and entertainment.
David works with the Director of Membership in the coordination, planning and scheduling of the Annual Forum and bi-annual Board of Directors meeting.
He is also the principal advertising contact for Vertiflite magazine, the AHS website, and all Forum-related publications.
Director of Membership and Development, x107
Vernon Hemphill joined AHS International in November 2014 and is responsible for all of the Society’s member benefits and services. He develops and implements the individual membership campaigns, interfaces directly with the chapter presidents and membership chairs, and leads the development of member professional development opportunities.
Vernon is the liaison for the Society’s corporate and educational members, including overseeing the billing and accounts receivables as well as solicitations for new members. He handles the transactions made online concerning membership renewals/applications, and is also responsible for all membership materials that the Society generates. Additionally, Vernon assists with the AHS Federal City Chapter meetings and assists in registration for AHS specialists’ meetings, and directs the annual AHS awards selection. At the Forum, he is the Exhibitor Registrar.
Director of Information Resources, x104
Randy Johnson joined the Society in October 2007. He is the Society’s in-house IT specialist and is responsible for all network and systems administration. He is also the Society’s webmaster, and together with the Director of Membership is responsible for configuration and maintenance of the AHS membership database.
Director of Administration, x100
Betty Chen joined the AHS staff in August 2014 after serving in technical and administrative roles in the U.S., China and Argentina. She is fluent in Mandarin and proficient in Cantonese and Spanish.
Betty is the primary phone coordinator and receptionist, and assists in serving members’ needs. As membership liaison, Betty assists with adding, renewing, and updating individual memberships, as well as mailing all chapter meeting notices and general membership information. She is also the principal point-of-contact for purchases of proceedings, technical papers, books, as well as AHS novelties. Betty is the Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) Scholarship Coordinator and Forum Registrar. In addition, Betty is the Editorial Assistant to the bi-monthly publication Vertiflite magazine. As a result of her background, she is also assisting with the Society's science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach efforts.
2701 Prosperity Ave., Suite 210
Fairfax, VA 22031-4314 USA