Our Team of Consultants

We have the resources and capability to provide the best and brightest experts the industry has to offer. We have a diverse group of subject matter experts (SMEs) standing by to meet the needs of our clients. A team of consultants is assembled based on the client's statement of work and mission needs. We can support mission objectives from routine contractor support to highly complex NextGen initiatives.


Jerry Whittaker

CEO & Principal Consultant

Jerry is the principal consultant and founder of AvVets.  He is a U.S. Navy veteran, corporate member of ATCA and NATCA, and has over 35 years of air traffic related experience with the U.S. Navy and the FAA.  He has past experience working as a certified professional controller (CPC) in towers, TRACONS, and centers, as well as extensive FAA Headquarters experience. He has worked extensively with NextGen program elements, and the Single European Sky ATM Research Program (SESAR).  Jerry has led teams that successfully collaborated on a variety of technical programs aimed at improving the National Airspace System capacity and provided consensus-based recommendations to the FAA.  He was most recently involved in systems engineering with the FAA’s SETA II and SE2020 contracts.

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Don porter

Senior Air Traffic Consultant

Don is a U.S. Navy veteran and has over 30 years of experience in air traffic control and air traffic management.  His areas of special interest include performance based navigation (PBN); terminal, arrival, departure, and surface operations; integrated airspace and procedures; safety analysis; human factors analysis for flight deck and controller procedures and phraseology; and human-in-the-loop simulation. Don is an expert in the field of air traffic control having certifications at Chicago O'Hare and other air traffic facilities in addition to extensive FAA Headquarters contract support.

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Rick palace

Senior Air Traffic Consultant & Systems Engineer

Rick is a veteran of the U.S. Air force and has over 30 years of air traffic control and large-scale system development experience. He is a subject matter expert on Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Integration, and was a senior systems engineer on the SE2020 and eFAST contracts.  Rick also conceived, designed and produced concepts for the Next Generation Air Transportation System and the integration of UAS into the NAS.  He has tower and radar approach experience as a air traffic controller at airports of various complexities, and is also a trained data system specialist who has lead and worked on small and major air traffic control systems as a software engineer, systems engineer and scientist.

Rick has been involved in the development of the functional/physical program level requirements and concepts for the FAA advanced automation system tower control computer complex. He also participated in the initial research and development of the runway status lights system, examined the control logic algorithms for insertion into the FAA Airport Surface Detection Equipment, helped engineer the initial aircraft situation display to industry, performed traffic flow management analysis for the FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC), and helped develop the core structure and operational concept of the System Wide Information Management (SWIM) system.

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joe monohan

Senior Air Traffic Consultant

Joe is a U.S. Navy veteran and has over 38 years of experience in the field of air traffic control.  His areas of expertise include air traffic control processes and procedures, traffic management, and national transportation safety and risk management.  He has made extensive contributions to FAA Terminal Architecture and TRACON Evolution programs.

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John foggia

Systems Engineer & Aviation Consultant

John is a U.S. Air Force veteran and has been engaged in integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the National Airspace System for the past seven years. He authored Appendix B of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Airspace Study, where he presented next-generation techniques for addressing the New York metroplex airspace challenges. He was Chief Aviation Technologist for the Chicago Airport System Strategic Technology Initiative, directing seven next-generation aviation technology implementations at Chicago O’Hare International and Midway Airports. John has planned, organized, and flown flight test operations for UAS Surrogate aircraft, LAAS, AILS, RIPS, and others, and was lead aircraft pilot in NASA’s flight demonstrations of Optimized Approach Spacing utilizing ADS-B, MODE-S and LAAS.

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Ralph Yost

Aviation Engineer & Consultant

Ralph has over 34 years of leadership experience in UAS-NAS Integration, aviation communication, and navigation and surveillance systems as a senior engineer and team leader.  He has extensive interagency government experience, and is an expert in NAS and NextGen Systems, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and airport security systems.  He originated aviation’s Airborne Internet/Networking concept, and is a noted author and public speaker.

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Joel brown

Air Traffic Consultant

Joel has over 25 years of experience in the field of air traffic control as a certified controller in towers and TRACONs, as well as considerable FAA Headquarters experience.  His areas of expertise include performance based navigation (PBN); terminal airspace, operations, and procedures; automation systems; the Terminal Modernization and Replacement Program (TAMR); and Optimization of Airspace and Procedures in the Metroplex (OAPM).

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Gary schaffer

Systems Engineer & Avionics Consultant

Gary has over 40 years of experience and involvement in a wide range of aviation-related operations including: Commercial Pilot, Systems Engineering, and various management and technical positions in the aviation industry. Gary logged more than 18,300 hours of flight time and earned 14 complex jet aircraft type ratings. He has extensive experience in aviation management and Systems Engineering in both commercial and non-commercial jet aircraft airframes.  Supporting the FAA’s NextGen effort, he possesses a broad range of experience with Systems Engineering and Integration of emerging avionics systems. He provided subject matter expertise (SME) of operations in the National Airspace System (NAS) with specialized experience in Air-to-Ground Integration of NextGen technologies for both commercial and non-commercial jet aircraft.

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JIM SMITH

Air Traffic Consultant

Jim is a U.S. Air Force veteran with over 30 years of experience in air traffic control specializing in en route and oceanic operations.  He has been a controller and front-line manager for the FAA in a variety of facilities including centers, approach control, military towers, and RAPCONs, as well as training experience with FAA developmentals and air traffic control students in the classroom environment.  Jim has also been involved with several prestigious projects that continue to set standards within the today's industry such as the Metroplex I task force, and the conversion of Broadband Radar to Narrowband Radar for New York Center.

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