This year's speakers for Ground Handling International

Tim Ornellas

Ground Handling International

Conference Chairman

Tim began his media career in 1976 with one of the largest UK publishing companies and became their youngest international manager at the age of 22. Prior to 1992 he developed specialist media products in English, Russian and Mandarin. The year 1992 saw the acquisition of Airports International and Ground Handling International was launched in 1995. A qualified engineer, he holds a number of patents for IT products developed. Tim was instrumental in the setting up of IAEMA - the international airport equipment manufacturers' association - and organised their bi-annual airport equipment show in the US for 6 years. He also serves on the Board of Directors for ASA - the Airport Services Association. Tim is chairman of the conference.

Max Gosney
Content Director

Ground Handling International

Conference Chairman

Max is an award-winning journalist who brings more than 13 years of experience across B2B brands in the food and drink, healthcare and manufacturing sectors. He believes in the importance of magazine brands championing the sector they serve and spreading best practice to their readers. His most recent initiative was the Manufacturing Champions Awards, which celebrates the people whose pride and professionalism enable British manufacturing success. The award scheme won a Highly Commended prize in the Event of the Year category of the Professional Publishers Awards (PPA)- the Oscars of the UK's media industry.

Max has extensive experience as an editor in roles at Works Management, Engineering Careers and as a news editor on pharmacy weekly, Chemist & Druggist magazine. His time at the latter saw the magazine force a U- turn from the UK government over plans to strip pharmacists of the right to sell common cold and flu remedies. The magazine's 'Stop the Switch' campaign delivered a 10,000 strong reader petition to the Department of Health and won multiple awards. When not tapping at the keyboard, Max appears as a host at industry conferences, roundtables and debates. He is a Biochemistry graduate who retrained as a journalist in 2003.

John Redmond
SVP, The Americas

Menzies Aviation

The Ground Handling International big debate: Creating a business strategy for the Americas


Javier Martinez
Regional Director


The Ground Handling International big debate: Creating a business strategy for the Americas

Javier graduated as an administrative industrial engineer from Universidad Santa Maria La antigua of Panama, with a Master of Arts in Business Administration from INCAE, Costa Rica.

He has managerial experience in the areas of projects administration, banking and insurance and airports administration. From 2003 to 2010 he worked for Tocumen International Airport in Panama, as Strategical Planning Manager.

Since 2010 he has held the position of Director General of Airports Council International Latin America and the Caribbean. Javier is the administrative officer, representing more than 60 airport operators in the region. His responsibilities are focused on the development of activities that defend the interests of the airports, and on the creation of programmes and services that promote excellence in airport management.

Gustavo Di Cio

Abiax Air Aviation

The Ground Handling International big debate: Creating a business strategy for the Americas

Gustavo is the Director of Abiax Air Aviation. Before co-founding Abiax Air in 2008, he was the Director of Strategy at the Latin American Airline Association, but also worked developing aviation projects for Canadian government. Before joining the aviation industry he held senior and CEO positions in the financial and insurance sectors within Latin America. Gustavo holds an MBA in Aviation Management from Concordia University, Montreal, a diploma in Sustainable Tourism and a degree in Business Administration. He teaches Evaluation of Investment Projects and Aviation Economics for Latin American civil aviation authorities. A writer, he has also participated in conferences as a speaker, moderator and chairman, and has attended more than 100 aviation and airport events.

Olga Svirskaia
Purchasing Manager, Airport Services – International, Cargo & Express Stations

American Airlines

The Ground Handling International big debate: Creating a business strategy for the Americas


Emilio Gonzalez
Director, Miami-Dade Aviation Department

Director of Operations – Miami International & four general aviation airports in Miami

Miami International Airport: Gateway to the Americas

Emilio Gonzalez is the Director of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, where he directs the operations at Miami International and four general aviation airports in the Miami area. Prior to joining Miami-Dade County, Emilio was President and CEO of NPI Advisors. Previously, he served as President and CEO of Indra USA, the US subsidiary of Spain's Indra Sistemas, a leading Europe-based international company specialising in IT solutions. Emilio has spent most of his career involved in foreign affairs and international security policy issues. He served as Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, an Under Secretary position within the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C.

Prior to these appointments, he was as Senior Managing Director for Global and Government Affairs at a major Miami law firm. Additionally, he has been Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House. He also completed a distinguished career in the US Army, retiring with the rank of Colonel. A graduate of the University of South Florida with a degree in International Studies, Emilio took an MA in Latin American Studies at Tulane University and in Strategic Studies and National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Miami. Emilio is also is a member of various boards in the banking, technology and social services industries, as well as the Council on Foreign Relations.

Ashwin Noronha
Director: Aerospace and Defence


Financial and M&A Overview


Joe Phelan
Chief Operating Officer


Quality Every Time: Ground handling in the Americas

Joe joined Swissport in 2012, as SVP of Cargo. Within four months, he was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of North America responsible for Ground Handling, Fueling and Maintenance, in addition to Cargo. Effective January 2013 he was promoted to Executive Vice President and CEO - Americas, and became a member of the Swissport International Management Board with responsibility for all business lines in North America and Asia. Effective June 2016, Joe was promoted to Group Chief Operating Officer responsible for all regions and products worldwide. He is currently responsible for 280 locations in 45 countries with more than 65,000 employees.

He brings more than 35 years’ experience in the transportation, business services, and logistics industries.

Joe spent 25 years with American Airlines in various capacities, including Vice President for Global Cargo Operations and Managing Director of Customer Services – Europe, responsible for service delivery, security, customer service and operations in ten countries for both the passenger and cargo divisions.

While still at American Airlines, Joe was recruited by Deutsche Post DHL Global Mail as Senior Vice President of Marketing and quickly rose to Chief Executive Officer where he significantly grew its mail products, customer relationships, market share and revenues.

Joe is a native of southern California and currently resides in Zurich, Switzerland. He received an MBA from the University of Dallas in Texas.

Brian McGoldrick

ICF International

Market liberalisation across the LATAM region and what it means for ground handling

Brian is a Manager in the Aviation practice at ICF. Prior to joining ICF, he had six years of experience at United Airlines. At United Brian worked as an analyst in Domestic Pricing, was a senior analyst in International Revenue Management, as well as a senior analyst on a hybrid Network Planning and Scheduling team. Brian holds a degree in Aviation Management from Purdue University as well as an MBA. from the Yale School of Management.

Eric Toler

ICF International

Market liberalisation across the LATAM region and what it means for ground handling

Eric Toler is a Manager at ICF Aviation, one of the largest and most experienced global aviation and aerospace consulting organizations. His expertise includes aviation market analysis and due diligence, airline network strategy and fleet planning, airline alliance/partnership strategy, and air service development, with a particular focus on emerging markets. Eric has conducted numerous traffic and revenue forecasts in relation to airport privatization transactions for top-tier investment banks and airport operators. In network and fleet planning engagements, Eric helps airlines optimize routes, schedules, and hub operations, as well as evaluate partnership scenarios. Eric holds an M.A. in International Trade and Economic Development of Latin America from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Mike Pearson


What role must airports play in the regions development?

Mike is currently a Board Director at Helios and works across the domain of air traffic management. He has been instrumental in Heathrow’s third runway expansion plans and led the investigation into a new airport for London. Mike has also advised London First and the British Institute of Civil Engineers on matters of air transport capacity and infrastructure deficits in the UK, and has been active in debates on hub developments at Jeddah and Qingdao.

Since 2010 he has led the UK Government’s Airport Capacity Assessment work for the London 2012 Olympics, was Technical Director for Gatwick airport’s new midfield pier development, provided master plan leadership for the newly-built Medina airport and has worked on lenders’ advisory commissions for four Brazilian airports, Dakar’s new airport and the concession for Zagreb.

More broadly, Michael has more than 19 years’ experience in master planning, design and operation of major airports, including those of Budapest, Oslo-Gardermoen, King Shaka and Frankfurt.

Ryan Gibson


Special Interest Stream 1 – Electric Vehicles and the Airport

Ryan is a graduate of Arizona State University in Supply Chain Management Logistics. He has extensive knowledge and experience of the aviation sector and in particular of electric ground service equipment. He worked for American Airlines for four years and then fourteen years with Aerovironment out of Morovia, California where he was Global Sales Director. He now works as a consultant on Electric Vehicles and Charging systems for Airports and Airlines.

Helmuth Von Grolman

Colibri Energy

Special Interest Stream 1 – Electric Vehicles and the Airport

Helmuth studied Law at Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich. After subsequent positions in international consulting firms and leading positions in the Daimler Benz Group, in 1993 he founded the consulting group Grolman.Result, which focuses on supporting technical innovation and transformation processes of leading international private and public organisations. In 2009, out of a German academy of technical sciences (ACATECH) desire for an efficient co-operation between economy, politics and science, he founded the Deutsches Dialog Institut. In 2011 he bought into the battery development company Kolibri Power Systems, which through a management buyout in 2015 was turned into the product and solution provider Colibri Energy. Today he is CEO of the company.

Russ Evans
Director of International Sales


Special Interest Stream 1 – Electric Vehicles and the Airport

Russ joined Aerovironment/PosiCharge in July 2016 and has over 20 years' experience in international product sales. Prior to joining Aerovironment, Russ was the EVP for Harlan Global Manufacturing, where he led corporate business development and new client systems. He was involved in exploring joint venture opportunities with companies such as Guinault and Kocoverk and managed a diverse project portfolio. From 2004-2007, Russ was the Director of Sales Operations at Assembly Component Systems. Prior to that, Russ held various positions as Director of International Sales & Marketing, Manager of Business Development and Director of Operations. He holds a Business Administration degree in Business Management, and a BSc in Economics.

Andrew Alexander
Senior Manager GSE Enginerring / Fleet Strategy

United Airlines

Special Interest Stream 1 – Electric Vehicles and the Airport

Andrew began his aviation/GSE career as a technician for Hudson General in 1988, at Chicago O’Hare International airport. During his time with Hudson General he acquired his ASE certification in the diesel and automotive arena, along with his FCC General Operators' licence. In 1998 Andrew joined United Airlines as a GSE technician, before moving on to become a building maintenance technician. He accepted a corporate position as a Senior Staff Analyst with United in 2005 for the facility/building maintenance division. Between 2007 and 2012 Andrew was involved in a GSE engineering and fleet transportation role, where he managed all GSE movement within United, as well as restructuring GSE specifications and the maintenance programme to meet airline merger compliance criteria. In 2014 he was promoted to Senior Manager of GSE Engineering and Fleet Strategy.

Len Sloper
Executive Director

Airline Service Providers Association (ASPA)

Special Interest Stream 2 – Labour laws and relations in North America

Len has been in the industry for over 25 years, starting out with his own small airline in Oregon, through increasingly important airport operations roles at Alaska Airlines and Corporate Real Estate/Airport Contracts (with Virgin America). He was also Worldwide Airports' GM for Air Pacific/Fiji Airways. He joined the Airline Service Providers Association as Executive Director in 2012 and has helped the organisation grow across the US.

Rob Delucia
Vice President Labor and Employment and Assistant General Counsel

Airlines for America

Special Interest Stream 2 – Labour laws and relations in North America

Rob joined Airlines for America in 2012 as Vice President – Labor & Employment and Assistant General Counsel. In fact, his arrival at A4A coincided with the creation of A4A’s Labor & Employment Council. Prior to this, Rob spent 29 years with the Airline Industrial Relations Conference, in Washington, DC. Rob has appeared at several airports to testify regarding ground handling issues, and has been deeply involved in litigation resulting from labor union campaigns at airports. He is a graduate of Georgetown University Law School and the University of Delaware.

Liz Doherty

Jones Day

Special Interest Stream 2 – Labour laws and relations in North America

Liz Dougherty is a Partner in the Washington office of Jones Day. Her practice focuses on transportation labor, and she has extensive experience in airline and railway labor issues. She advises airlines, railroads, and other transportation-related clients on a wide variety of legal, regulatory, and policy labor issues, including matters relating to National Mediation Board proceedings, collective bargaining, Railway Labor Act interpretation, federal labor law preemption, and state and local regulations. Earlier in her career, Liz was a White House policy advisor and Chairman of the National Mediation Board, the independent agency that oversees airline and railroad labor relations.

Roberto Gomes
Senior Manager, Safety and Standards


KPI’s and Operations Excellence


Garret Malone
Chief Operating Officer

Sky Airlines (Chile)

The Low Cost Carrier Handling Model


Marva Richards
Operations Manager

Airport Services Antigua

Challenges of ground handling in the Caribbean

Marva has been employed in the ground handling industry with Airport Services (Antigua) Ltd for a little over 30 years. Marva began as a passenger services agent and then spent many years as a load control agent and then operations duty officer. In 2006, Marva was promoted to Operations Manager managing the contractual obligations of the ground handling agency to various clients, as well as the day to day management of passenger services, ramp and maintenance teams ensuring a safe and efficient operations.

Marva holds a MSc. International Business from the University of Liverpool class of 2016.

Christopher San Giovanni
Director Ground Safety

JetBlue Airways

Special Interest Stream 1: Preventing Ground Damage

Christopher is currently the Director Ground Safety at JetBlue Airways, based in NYC. Christopher developed the original Ground, Environmental, Health and Safety Programs for the airline shortly after its start-up in 2000. In his current role, he oversees the Ground Safety, Safety Quality and Assurance, Health and Safety, Injury Management and Reduction, Communicable Disease / Pandemic Planning, Dangerous Goods, Environmental Services and Passengers with Disabilities programs for an airline with over 18,000 employees. He is additionally a key part of the Senior Leadership Safety Management System roll-out team.

Christopher was also in a senior leadership role at Menzies Aviation, where he had oversight of not only safety but also security, operational training and quality assurance as the VP, Operational Support and Compliance, Americas. He additionally has experience of the maritime industry as a Director of Safety.

Nick Heemskerk
Director Global Product Development - GSE

JBT Aerotech

Special Interest Stream 1: Preventing Ground Damage

Nick is Director of Global Product Development for JBT AeroTech - GSE. He is responsible for the development of JBT's aircraft loaders, de-icers, conventional and towbarless tractors, transporters and passenger boarding steps, and directs engineering teams in Orlando, Madrid and Kunshan in China. Nick was born and raised in the Netherlands, where he obtained his BA in Engineering and an MBA. He joined JBT (called FMC at the time) in 1997 at the European headquarters in Brussels and moved to Orlando to join the GSE business in 2000.


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