The Air Force Association Nominating Committee met on May 6 and selected candidates to send forward for five national officer positions and three elective National Director positions on the Board of Directors. The committee comprises three most recent past Chairmen of the Board, one person selected by each of the two Vice Chairmen of the Board, two persons from each geographic area, and one person each from the Total Air Force, Air Force veterans, and aerospace industry constituencies. The slate will be presented to the delegates at the National Convention in Washington, D.C., in September.
Chairman of the Board
S. Sanford Schlitt, Sarasota, Fla., nominated for a second one-year term. Schlitt founded and led CyberPatriot, AFA’s national high school cyber defense competition. He served for three years as Vice Chairman of the Board for Aerospace Education, chaired the Aerospace Education Council, and was a member of the Board’s Executive Committee. Schlitt, a Life Member and Gold Wings Club and Thunderbird Society member, served as a Trustee for the former Aerospace Education Foundation and, after the merger with AFA, was on AFA’s Board of Directors. He was a member of the afa21 Governance Team. He served on the AFA Constitution and Strategic Planning Committees, was Co-chair of the AFA-AEF Audit Committee, Chair of the AEF Audit Committee, and was on the AEF Nominating and Program Committees. Schlitt was commissioned in the Air National Guard, transferred to the Reserve, and served for 34 years, mainly in contracts management and acquisition. He retired as a brigadier general. He holds degrees from American University and also attended Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, Air War College, and the Leadership Institute at Eckerd College. He established or purchased and sold or successfully merged several businesses, also serving as Chairman of one firm and Board Member of a NASDAQ-listed company. Schlitt served on the staffs of Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey and Sen. Walter Mondale. He is Senior Managing Director of a mortgage investment trust with daily involvement in financial portfolio management.
Vice Chairman Field Operations
Justin M. Faiferlick, Fort Dodge, Iowa, nominated for a second one-year term. He is a Life Member and chartered the Fort Dodge Chapter and has served as Chapter President, VP, Secretary, and Treasurer and as a State VP and President. On the national level, Faiferlick was a National Director at Large; chaired the Membership Committee for two years; and served on the Transition Review Team, Nominating Committee, and Field Council and now chairs that council. Faiferlick was recognized as State and Region Member of the Year and has received the AFA Medal of Merit and Exceptional Service Award. In Iowa, he received the Governor’s Volunteer Award and was one of the Top 40, under the age of 40, outstanding community leaders. Faiferlick received a bachelor’s degree from Buena Vista University and a master’s degree in management, with a concentration in organizational leadership, from American Military University. He started his military career as an enlisted member in the active duty Air Force. Now an officer in the Iowa Air National Guard, Faiferlick is the Director of Operations with the 133rd Test Squadron, with more than 20 years of total service.
Vice Chairman Aerospace Education
George K. Muellner, Huntington Beach, Ca., nominated for a second one-year term. He is a Life Member and has served as a National Director, member of the Compensation Committee, and on the Aerospace Education Council, leading development of the Aerospace Education Strategic Plan. He received the 1997 AFA Theodore von Karman Award. Muellner retired from Boeing in 2008 as President of Advanced Systems and had been VP-GM of Air Force Systems and President of Phantom Works. He served for 31 years in the Air Force, retiring as a lieutenant general, as Principal Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. Key Air Force assignments included Program Executive Officer for the Joint Strike Fighter program and Deputy Chief of Staff for Requirements, Air Combat Command. Muellner flew combat missions in Vietnam and commanded the Joint STARS deployment during Desert Storm. He is past President of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Illinois; master’s degrees in engineering from the University of Southern California and from California State University; and an MBA from Auburn University. Muellner is an aerospace industry consultant.
Edward W. Garland, San Antonio, nominated for a first one-year term. A Life Member, he has been active in AFA since 1987 and has served as the Alamo Chapter President, Texas State President, Texoma Region President, and National Director. He has served on the Constitution, Membership, and Development Committees and on the Field Council. Garland now serves on the Aerospace Education Council. His awards include Member of the Year for the Alamo Chapter, both Civilian and Military Member of the Year for AFA Texas, the AFA Medal of Merit, Exceptional Service Award, and the Presidential Citation. Garland’s military career included nearly 30 years of active duty and Reserve assignments as a pilot, flight instructor, operational staff member, and commander of the 433rd Airlift Wing. In his civilian career, he worked as an Air Force civilian employee in numerous engineering and senior management positions. He is currently a Senior Development and Cockpit Integration Engineer for a small business supporting the Air Force on several aircraft projects. Garland has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tulane University, a master’s degree in systems management from St. Mary’s University, and is a distinguished graduate from both ACSC and AWC.
Leonard R. Vernamonti, Clinton, Miss., nominated for a second one-year term. An AFA member since 1964 and a Life Member since 1984, he has served as a Chapter, State, and Region President and was on the Board of Directors. He has been active at the national level since 1989, having served on the afa21 Field Structure Team, Field Council, and Constitution and Nominating Committees. He was Chairman of the Audit Committee and is currently Chairman of the Finance Committee. He has received the Exceptional Service Award and two Medals of Merit. Vernamonti’s more than 40-year military and civilian professional careers have focused on management and finance. He was the Comptroller for all USAF ballistic missile programs and President, CEO, and CFO of a nonprofit with an operating budget twice that of AFA. He currently serves as a Senior Consultant to the aerospace industry, specializing in strategic planning, acquisition, and budget and cost analysis. Vernamonti has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Air Force Academy and a master’s degree in systems engineering from the University of Florida. He is a graduate of the National War College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
National Director East
Donald R. Michels, Lawrenceville, Ga., nominated for a three-year term. He was appointed to a one-year term as National Director, replacing Leonard Vernamonti, who became National Treasurer in 2010. Michels is Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee and previously served as a member of the Field Council, 2009-2010. He is a Life Member, served as Southeast Region President for three years, and currently serves as Southeast Region Vice President for Leadership Development. Michels previously served as Georgia State Vice President and as Vice President for Programs for the Carl Vinson Memorial Chapter. Michels is a member of the Dobbins Chapter. He has received AFA’s Exceptional Service Award and Medal of Merit and the Georgia State AFA Medal of Merit. He served for more than 40 years with the Air Force, retiring as a senior civilian executive in 2003 and as a senior officer in the Air Force Reserve in 2002. Following retirement from the Air Force, Michels worked as a Business Development Manager for a small business that supports DOD supply chain management activities, and as a consultant to aerospace defense companies. He has a bachelor’s degree in management from Metropolitan State College, Denver, and a master’s degree in logistics from Georgia State University.
The Nominating Committee submits four names—Rick Hartle, Donald Taylor, James Kurt Vogel, and Stephen Wood—for National Director at Large. Two will be elected.
National Director at Large
Rick Hartle, Layton, Utah, nominated for a first three-year term. An active member since 1998, he is a Life Member and was Chapter President when the Ute-Rocky Mountain Chapter was the Gross Award winner in 2003. He is Utah State Vice President and Utah Aerospace Education Foundation President. He served on the national-level Strategic Planning and Transition Constitution Committees. He has also chaired the AFA Focus on Defense committee. Hartle is a Senior Manager with a major aircraft manufacturer, responsible for growing its strategic systems business. He joined the company in 1980 after earning a bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University. He has continued education through leadership and executive development curricula. Hartle’s community service activities include Past Chairman of the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee, Vice Chairman of the Davis Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Trustees, Board of Governors for the Davis Chamber, and Co-Chair of the St. Rose Capital Campaign. Hartle is an Air Force Memorial Foundation Charter Sponsor and a Wings Club and Thunderbird Society member.
Donald Taylor, San Antonio, nominated for a first three-year term. Taylor is President of an engineering firm in San Antonio, supporting Air Force engineering and logistics missions worldwide. He has served on AFA’s Veterans/Retiree Council since 2007 as a Health Policy Advisor and serves as Chairman of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s annual Celebrate America’s Military week. A retired colonel, Taylor served in USAF’s Medical Service for more than 27 years and retired as Vice Commander of Wilford Hall Medical Center. He has commanded military hospitals, including the Air Force trauma hospital in Balad, Iraq, in 2006. Taylor was Health Benefits and Policy Advisor to the Air Force Surgeon General and was instrumental in developing the Tricare for Life benefit with the retiree coalition and legislators. He has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Texas, Arlington, and a master’s degree in health policy from Penn State University.
James Kurt Vogel, Alexandria, Va., nominated for a first three-year term. He is the Director, J-5 International Affairs, National Guard Bureau, in Arlington, Va., where he develops, manages, and provides oversight for international activities for the National Guard. Vogel was previously the Deputy Director of Air, Space, and Information Operations for the Air National Guard at the National Guard Bureau. Vogel entered the Air Force through ROTC from the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1985. A veteran of Operations Just Cause, Desert Storm, and Deny Flight, Vogel logged 300 hours of combat and combat support time. He is a Command Pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours in KC-135 and C-40 aircraft.
Stephen G. Wood, Reston, Va., nominated for a first three year-term. Wood has been an AFA member for more than 30 years. He has served in many chapters and at the national level on committees to enhance membership and industry partnerships. Wood is Senior Vice President for Government Business for a major defense contractor. He joined the company in 2009. Before then, Wood served for more than 33 years in the Air Force, retiring as a lieutenant general, as Deputy Commander, US Forces Korea and 7th Air Force Commander, Republic of Korea. During his military career, he commanded units at many levels, including the Air Warfare Center and a numbered Air Force. He served twice as a USAF Legislative Liaison to Congress and was the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs. During Operation Desert Storm, he flew 49 combat missions and later, during Operation Enduring Freedom, served as the Director of the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in Southwest Asia. Wood graduated from the University of Washington in 1974 and holds a master’s degree in International Relations from New Mexico State University and a master’s degree in International Security Policy from the National Defense University, Washington, D.C.