MEET THE BOARD OF NMAAA:
Bill Shuert – President
Bill started his aviation career over 35 years ago when he enlisted in the United States Air Force as an F-15 Aircraft Mechanic in 1981 where he served until joining the New Mexico Air National Guard in 1984. He served a total 12 years in the enlisted ranks until commissioning in 1992. Upon commissioning, he subsequently served as the Chief of Field Maintenance, Commander, Logistics Support Flight, Officer in Charge of the Transportation Branch, Commander, Maintenance Squadron, Commander, Logistics Readiness Squadron, Deputy Commander of the Mission Support Group, 150th Fighter Wing, Commander, 64th Civil Support Team, Director of Plans and Interoperability, New Mexico Joint Forces Headquarters, Chief of Wing Plans and Programs, and the Mission Support Group Deputy Commander, 150th Special Operations Wing, New Mexico Air National Guard, Kirtland AFB, NM.
He retired with over 34 years in uniformed service.
Today, Bill works for Sandia Aerospace as the Manager of Production and Product Support. In his spare time he is a private pilot and enjoys flying and working on his own airplane. He also is a certified FAA airframe and power plant mechanic.
Bill holds a B.S. in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Lowell Whitten – Treasurer
Lowell has been an active member of the aviation community for more than 45 years. He started his aviation career in the U.S. Air Force. During his enlistment, he spent one year in Viet Nam serving as a Crew Chief on a F100D Super Sabre. His service in Southeast Asia was highlight by an award of the Air Force Commendation medal for his efforts in the successful launch and recovery of more than 2,000 sorties by his unit. After returning from Viet Nam, he served as a Crew Chief on the “still” fastest airplane in existence: the SR-71 Blackbird. While working as a member of the 9th OMS at Beale AFB in Marysville Ca, he attended Sacramento City College studying aviation courses that resulted in him obtaining his FAA Airframe and Powerplant license.
After returning home from his service to his country, Lowell went to work for the Kirtland Aero Club, Sandia Aviation and ultimately Cutter Flying Service in April of 1972. Lowell held the position of an A&P mechanic with those companies. At Cutter, he went on to obtain his Inspectors Authorization License and became the Shop Foreman and Chief Inspector for the repair station. He was then promoted to the position of Service Manager and spent the next 15 years leading that department. In 1982, the Beechcraft Factory Management named him the “Beechcraft Service Manager of the Year”. In 1984 he was promoted to Vice President and General Manager of Cutter Aviation Albuquerque Inc. Lowell is a member of The Executive Association of Greater Albuquerque and has served on the board as their Treasurer. He is also a member of the Aviation Maintenance Technicians Society, NATA and NBAA.
Dennis Schmidt – Secretary
Dennis Schmidt began his avionics career in 1965, attending the U.S. Navy Avionics School in Memphis, Tenn. After his tour of duty in the Navy, Schmidt began his civilian avionics career with King Radio. At King, Schmidt was a DME and transponder technician before moving into the customer service supervisor position. In 1976, he joined Foster AirData in Columbus, Ohio, as service manager, moving later into the position of VP of Sales and Marketing. In November 1993, Schmidt joined Terra Avionics in Albuquerque as VP of Sales and Marketing. In September 1997, he founded Sandia Aerospace in Albuquerque, N.M., to design and market niche products for the general aviation market.
Schmidt is a member of AOPA, NBAA and AEA. Dennis Schmidt has served as Chairman of the AEA Educational Foundation and served on the AEA board of directors for six years. His company, Sandia Aerospace, was named AEA Associate Member of the Year in 2003 and again in 2013.
Dennis and his wife, Judy, have three daughters and four grandsons.
Marshall Puckett – Co-Founder
Marshall Puckett is a co-founder of the New Mexico Aviation and Aerospace Association and a member of its board of directors. He is also founder and President of AvReps International and has spent 47 years in the aviation business. His work experience includes 17 years as President of a national distribution chain specializing in avionics, helping to formulate strategic plans for over 20 of the best companies in the aviation industry, working with NASA contractors helping to commercialize NASA technologies (most notably weather data links), is an active member of the Aircraft Electronics Association since 1967 and has served on its board of directors for 19 years.
Marshall is a private pilot with 5,000 total flight hours and, prior to his aviation career, spent 6 years in the United States Navy submarine service.
John Uczekaj – Co-Founder
Aspen Avionics’ President and CEO, John Uczekaj, has over 30 years of experience in the avionics industry, starting out as an engineer at Boeing and moving into key management positions at Sperry and Honeywell. While at Honeywell, John was made Executive VP and General Manager of the Aerospace Electronics Systems division, including the Bendix/King line of general aviation (GA) avionics. Immediately prior to joining Aspen, John was President and COO of The NORDAM Group, an aviation parts manufacturer and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company.
John now brings his unique blend of broad avionics experience and world-class management expertise to grow Aspen Avionics into a key player in the general aviation industry. Mr. Uczekaj holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Oregon State University and an MBA from City University, Seattle, Washington. John is an instrument rated private pilot and flies a Diamond DA40.
In January, 2013, John was named Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year by the Living Legends of Aviation.
Forty Six years and counting in Commercial/Corporate Aviation. Pilot, Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic with Inspection Authorization, FAA Designee-Designated Mechanic Examiner.
Associate Science in Aircraft Maintenance Technology from Mt. San Antonio College.
Bachelor of Science in Technical Management with minor in Aviation Safety along with National Security Administration Certificate-Cum Laude from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
Defense Threat Reduction University IRNIR Certificate from Defense Nuclear Weapons School
2009 Who’s Who recipient of Aerospace Professionals.
Bill McMillan – Past President
Bill began his career in business development, risk management & aviation insurance more than 15 years ago, where he grew up in Ft. Worth, Texas and has worked in the aviation arena over 24 years. Bill’s Aviation career began with the Ft. Worth Fire Department as a training officer in Crash Fire Rescue at Meacham & Alliance Airports and was the liaison on several municipal aviation development projects. Bill holds his Commercial and CFI certificates.
As a co-founder and President of the NM Aviation Aerospace Association, a majority of his efforts have focused on developing and implementing solid policy & tax reform measures, as well as developing education curriculum and “centers of excellence” for NM’s aviation/aerospace industry. In addition, Bill has worked extensively with Tribal/Native American Pueblos and business entities, developing strategies/business plans and standing-up companies. Bill has worked closely with Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs, the NM Airport Manger’s Association, State of NM Aviation Department and the NM Legislature on legislative issues that impact the aviation industry. Supporting passage of NM’s “Informed Consent” legislation was critical to SpacePort America, Virgin Galactic and future aerospace companies electing to do business in NM. In addition to serving the NM Aviation Aerospace Association, Bill sits on a national association policy committee for the ASA-Aerospace States Association, Board Member with YESWECANNEWMEXICO, Daniels Fund and the SAMS Academy.
Bill earned his BA in Business from LeTourneau University and is currently completing an MBA from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.