Press Release: VFS Announces 2023 Board of Directors

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2022 VFS Board - Executive Committee 2023-2024(jpg) 


Vertical Flight Society Announces 2023 Board of Directors 
Industry Executives Continue to Provide VFS Leadership

Fairfax, Virginia, May 2, 2023  — The Vertical Flight Society, the world’s leading non-profit dedicated to advancing vertical flight, is pleased to announce its Board of Directors for 2023-2024.

The following members were re-elected to the Board’s Executive Committee for an additional one-year term of July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024:

  • Chair: Tomasz Krysinski, Vice President Research & Technology, Airbus Helicopters 

  • President: Harry Nahatis, Vice President/General Manager, Turboshaft Engine Programs, GE Aerospace

  • Secretary/Treasurer: Kathleen “KJ” Jolivette, Vice President/General Manager, Boeing Vertical Lift

The reelection of the Board Executive Committee will provide stability during the coming year, as the staff leadership transitions to incoming Executive Director Angelo Collins who takes over on June 1, 2023 from outgoing Executive Director (2011-2023) Mike Hirschberg, who will remain on staff as Director of Strategy.

VFS members in half of its ten regions elected or re-elected regional directors and vice-presidents for the two-year term of July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2025. (Those new to the Board are marked with an asterisk.)

Asia-Australia Region (all countries in Asia and Oceania)

  • Vice President: Dr. Arvind Sinha, University of Melbourne
  • Director: Dr. Yasutada Tanabe, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) *

Europe-Africa Region (members in Europe and Africa)

  • Vice President: Luca Medici, Leonardo Helicopters

  • Regional Director: Arnaud Le Pape, ONERA

U.S. Midwest Region (members in the Dayton and St Louis Chapters)

  • Vice President: Dr. Charlie Svoboda, Jr., The Boeing Company

  • Director: Prof. David A. Peters, Washington University in St. Louis

US Northeast Region (members in the East New England, Stratford, Connecticut Valley and Empire State Chapters)

  • Vice President: Usman Asif, Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company
  • Director: Steve Schmidt, Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Co. 

U.S. Southern Region (members in the Redstone, Atlanta, Jake Fortner and South Florida Chapters)

  • Vice President: Mark J. Jeude, IronMountain Solutions

  • Director: JVR Prasad, Georgia Tech

Other elected members of the Board of Directors, who will continue to serve until June 30, 2023, are as follows:

Americas Region (Canada, Central America and South America)

  • Vice President: Chantal Boucher, Bell

  • Regional Director: Kenneth Swartz, Aeromedia Communications

U.S. Mideast Region (Philadelphia and Erie Chapters, and surrounding areas)

  • Vice President: Keith Conaron, The Boeing Company

  • Regional Director: William Sunick, Leonardo Helicopters

U.S. Southeast Region (Aberdeen, Federal City, Patuxent River, Hampton Roads and Cherry Point Chapters, and surrounding areas)

  • Vice President: Dr. Mark Robeson, US Army DEVCOM, Aviation & Missile Center

  • Regional Director: Dr. Rajneesh Singh, US Army DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory

U.S. Southwest Region (Southwest Chapter and all surrounding areas)

  • Vice President: Layne Merritt, Intellisense Systems, Inc.

  • Regional Director: Christos Bais, Joby Aviation

U.S. Western Region (Los Angeles, San Francisco and Arizona Chapters, and all surrounding areas)

  • Vice President: Dr. Colin Theodore, NASA Ames Research Center

  • Regional Director: Scott Swinsick, The Boeing Company

In addition, the current appointed (voting) members of the VFS Board of Directors are:

  • Technical Director: Dr. Mahendra Bhagwat, US Army DEVCOM, Aviation & Missile Center
  • Appointed Director: Patrick Mason, Department of the US Army
  • Appointed Director: Prof. Marilyn J. Smith, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Appointed Director: Yolanka Wulff, Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI)

The next meeting of the Board will be at the VFS 79th Annual Forum & Technology Display, which is being held on May 16-18, in West Palm Beach, Florida:


Founded as the American Helicopter Society in 1943, the Vertical Flight Society is the global non-profit society for engineers, scientists and others working on vertical flight technology. For more than 80 years, the Society has led technical, safety, advocacy and other important initiatives, and has been the primary forum for interchange of information on vertical flight technology.


VFS is @VTOLsociety on social media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Mastodon, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube, and has @ElectricVTOL channels on Facebook, Mastodon and Twitter.

This press release is also available as a pdf.

The Vertical Flight Society
2700 Prosperity Ave, Suite 275, Fairfax, VA 22031 USA
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