2018 Conference Speakers
Jackson Airports District Office Manager, FAA
Rans has over 22 years’ experience with the FAA’s Airports Division, having served in staff and management positions in both the Atlanta and Jackson Airport District Offices. He has been the manager of the Jackson Airports District Office since 2003, overseeing the planning and development of the 150 airports in Alabama and Mississippi. His work experience also includes 6 years as an Army Officer and 2 years as an airport engineering consultant. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, a registered professional engineer, and a private pilot.
STATE AERONAUTICS DIRECTOR
Tommy Booth serves as the State Aeronautics Director for MDOT. He has been with MDOT since 1999. Prior to that he was with the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority, Waggoner Engineering, and Ergon, Inc. He is active with the National Association of State Aviation Officials where he serves as chairman of the Engineering Task Group and is a member of the AASHTO Standing Committee on Aviation. He graduated from Mississippi State University in Civil Engineering.
Scott A. Brockman
President and CEO, Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority Chairman, Board of Directors, AAAEDO, FAA
Scott Brockman joined the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority in June 2003. He was appointed the Authority’s President and Chief Executive Officer on January 2, 2014 after having previously served as its Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Over Mr. Brockman’s 32 year career, he has also held executive management positions with Tucson International Airport, Des Moines International Airport and Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. Prior to starting his aviation career, Mr. Brockman spent several years with a CPA firm in Sarasota FL. Mr. Brockman has a BS in accounting from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Mr. Brockman is one of approximately 500 active airport executives worldwide to be designated as an accredited airport executive (AAE). Mr. Brockman currently serves as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and on the International Association of Airport Executives (IAAE) Board. During his career, Mr. Brockman has served as President of the Southeast Chapter of AAAE, Chairman of the 2011 AAAE National Airports Conference, Chairman and Southeast Chapter representative of the AAAE Board of Examiners, Chairman of the AAAE Audit Committee, Chairman of the Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) Economic Affairs Committee, North America representative to the ACI World Economic Board and various Transportation Research Board Airport Cooperative Research Program panels. Mr. Brockman was awarded the coveted AAAE Distinguished Service Award in May 2013.
Sales & Marketing Director, Plan House
Cory Dewett is the Sales & Marketing Director for Plan House, with office locations in Tupelo, Hattiesburg and Gulfport, Mississippi. Cory is a graduate of Mississippi State University. After graduation, Cory worked as a Construction Estimator and Project Manager for 8 years before he began working with Plan House in 2010. As the Sales and Marketing Director of Plan House, he partners with Architects, Engineers, and governing authorities to assist with bid distribution and electronic bidding. Cory is married with 3 kids and lives in Tupelo, MS.
Central Commissioner, Mississippi Transportation Commission
After serving 24 years in the Mississippi Legislature, Dick Hall was appointed Central District Transportation Commissioner by Gov. Kirk Fordice in 1999 to fill the unexpired term of a former commissioner. Hall was elected later that year to his first full term as Commissioner and has been re-elected to four subsequent terms. He currently serves as Chairman of the Commission. As Commissioner of the Central District, Hall’s constituency includes a population of almost one million people who reside in 22 counties.
Hall’s experience in the Mississippi Legislature was extremely broad-based serving three terms as a Representative and three terms as a Senator. In both the House and the Senate, Hall chaired the Environment Committees of each chamber, respectively. Other chairmanships included the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee – the first Republican to occupy this position in over 100 years. He also served as President of the Mississippi Republican-Elected Officials Association and as state Chairman of the United Republican Fund. Other honors have included being the first recipient of the Hugh L. White Free Enterprise Award and Conservation Legislator of the Year.
An elder and former deacon in the Presbyterian church, Hall and his wife, Jennifer, live in the Brandon area.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE AVIATION OFFICIALS
Mark Kimberling was selected by the board of directors to be the President and CEO of NASAO in the fall of 2016. Mark first joined NASAO to lead the association’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures. He previously served as the National Director of State Government Affairs at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), where he successfully spearheaded several significant pro-aviation state tax reform and funding initiatives across the country and received the President’s Award – the organization’s highest honor for an employee. Mark also worked as an international aviation and airport analyst, authoring a comprehensive assessment report on the development of Brazil’s national system of airports and infrastructure. Prior, he worked on transportation, aviation and other policy issues in Congress on the staffs of Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) and Chairman Howard Berman (CA-28). Mark is a commercial rated pilot and certified flight instructor with international flight experience as a former First Officer for American Eagle Airlines based in Puerto Rico. Mark lives with his wife Fabi in Ellicott City, MD, and is a proud graduate of Boston College.
SOUTHERN COMMISSIONER, MISSISSIPPI TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
Tom King is entering his second term as Southern District Transportation Commissioner. He previously served as a state lawmaker since 1993 when he was elected to the House of Representatives where he remained until 1999. In 2000, he began his tenure in the Senate, where his leadership brokered many bills designed to better the lives of Mississippians. As Chairman of the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee, King authored resolutions that honored the achievements of persons throughout his district and the state. Most notably, King authored Senate Bill 3181, the $300 million bond bill for highways and bridges, and Senate Bill 3014, known as the John Paul Frerer Bicycle Act, which promotes safety for cyclists on roadways. King also authored Senate Bill 2514 that created the Mississippi Wireless Communications Commission, which ensures that the state’s emergency responders and law enforcement have the means to communicate regardless of any disaster that may occur.
King is a Veteran of the Vietnam War, having served his country in the Air Force as an Air Policeman. He is affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, American Legion and VFW. He has received many professional awards and honors including 2011 Mississippi Municipal League Legislator of the Year, 2010 Hattiesburg’s Veteran of the Year, American Legion Meritorious Service Award in 2007 and Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Legislator of the Year in 2002. In his position as Transportation Commissioner, King represents approximately one million citizens in the southern 27 counties of Mississippi. He is the first Republican to hold the post of Transportation Commissioner in the Southern District.
King is no stranger to South Mississippi as he was born in Hattiesburg. He attended Petal High School and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree. He currently lives in Hattiesburg with his wife, the former Susan Lynn Patterson, and has two children and two grandchildren. King and his wife are members of Petal-Harvey Baptist Church, where he serves as a Deacon
FAA SOUTHERN REGION REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR
Michael O’Harra was appointed Regional Administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Southern Region in January 2018. Mr. O’Harra serves as the senior agency official within the eight-state region including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Mr. O’Harra serves as the FAA Administrator’s primary representative to Congressional, state, local and tribal officials, aviation industry, educational institutions, civic organizations and other Federal agencies, and spokesperson for the Agency within his geographic area of responsibility. He is responsible for outreach activities to stakeholders and local communities regarding environmental impacts and noise management issues, as well as information sharing on initiatives such as NextGen, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) integration, Commercial Space, airport improvements and airspace and procedure changes. Mr. O’Harra provides leadership for the 24/7 Regional Operations Centers (ROCs) that communicate information on aircraft accidents and other emergencies impacting aviation operations to appropriate internal and external entities.
Mr. O’Harra’s previous appointment was as the Deputy Regional Administrator for the FAA Southwest Region in February 2008, which included serving as the Regional Emergency Transportation Coordinator (RETCO) to ensure effective transportation emergency planning and response for incidents of national significance for the Department of Transportation’s Region 6.
His FAA career also includes various leadership positions as an acting Chief Information Officer and as the national Operational Integration Manager, where he was instrumental in the effective oversight of several major capacity initiatives. Mr. O’Harra also chaired the FAA Airport Obstruction Standards Committee (AOSC) working group that was responsible for developing corporate policy solutions to highly visible issues in the airport environment. He previously held positions in private industry for nearly a decade spanning both aviation and aerospace fields.
Mr. O’Harra graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. Michael and his wife, Cristy, have three daughters
EDITORIAL CARTOONIST AND AUTHOR
Marshall Ramsey is a two-time Pulitzer Finalist (2002 and 2006). His editorial cartoons are nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate and have appeared in The New York Times, USA Today and The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger. He is the author several successful books including three cartoon collections, two short story collections (Fried Chicken and Wine and Chainsaws and Casseroles) and the delightful children’s book Banjo’s Dream. Ramsey is also the host of the weekly statewide radio program, “Now You’re Talking with Marshall Ramsey” and the television program “Conversations” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
Ramsey’s also a cancer survivor. Diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2001, he has been honored by both the Melanoma Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society for paying his survival forward. He actively promotes skin cancer awareness and sun safety through cartoons, speeches, skin screenings and a 5K race. He even ran the Marine Corps Marathon to raise funds for melanoma research. (He completed the race, raised $13,000 and developed some wicked leg cramps). Ramsey, his wife Amy, their three sons and precocious dog Pip live in Mississippi, the best state for politics, storytellers, sweet tea and raising a family
AVIATION CIVIL ASSOCIATE, MICHAEL BAKER INTERNATIONAL
Elbert Rohrbough is an Aviation Civil Associate at Michael Baker International in their Moon Township office. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from West Virginia University. He is currently completing his Master’s Degree with a focus in asphalt technology. His thesis research topic is focused on the use of fibers to increase the performance of asphalt pavements with an emphasis on the prevention and prediction of top-down cracking.
Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Southeast Region, Ergon Asphalt and Emulsions, Inc.
Larry is a registered professional engineer in the State of Mississippi. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1995 from Mississippi State University. He has worked with Ergon Asphalt and Emulsions, Inc. for approximately 10 years and is currently serving as Secretary on the board of the International Slurry Surfacing Association. Mr. Tomkins has served as Past President of the American Society of Civil Engineers in Jackson, MS and is an active member in the Mississippi chapters of the American Public Works Association and the National Society of Professional Engineers
Shareholder, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz. P.C.
Jeff Wagner, a shareholder in the Firm’s Jackson office, focuses his practice on public/governmental law and commercial transactional work. Mr. Wagner has extensive experience in public law matters, including the financing of public projects, public procurements and construction matters. Mr. Wagner regularly works with airports on all types of procurement, contracting and regulatory issues. Mr. Wagner served as counsel to the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority for over twenty years and has served as special counsel to the March Joint Powers Authority and the March Inland Port Airport Authority (Riverside, California) on Federal Aviation Administration regulatory issues. Mr. Wagner is general counsel to the Mississippi Airports Association. Mr. Wagner also helps clients in complying with regulatory requirements in other transportation infrastructure projects.
In addition to his public/governmental law work, Mr. Wagner helps clients in structuring and closing all types of complex financial transactions. Mr. Wagner has significant experience working with lenders and borrowers using federal and state loan guaranty programs, including programs through the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and the United States Small Business Administration. Mr. Wagner also represents clients in all types of affordable housing development.
Mr. Wagner’s experience has allowed him to develop an understanding of the organizational and practical considerations necessary to the achievement of a successful and timely result in all types of large and complex projects.
Aviation Focal Point, National Weather Service Forecast Office
Thomas is originally from North Carolina and received his BS in Atmospheric Science from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and MS in Meteorology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is currently a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Jackson, where he has been serving as the Aviation Focal Point for the past year.
Federal Security Director, TSA
David has been the Federal Security Director at TSA in Jackson since 2007. He joined TSA from his previous position as chief of police in Hattiesburg. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a BS in Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration.