Captain LaPonda J. Fitchpatrick (Ret.), ACE Security
Owner and Senior Consultant/Instructor
LaPonda J. Fitchpatrick, Training and Consulting for the Real World(TM)

Captain LaPonda J. Fitchpatrick (Retired), was responsible for ensuring the safety, security, and regulatory compliance of the global gateway known as LAX and its satellite airports for over 30 years, retiring as a commanding officer within the Los Angeles Airport Police Department (LAXPD). After 9-11, LaPonda conceived and implemented the Los Angeles Airport Police Homeland Security Section to ensure multi-agency law enforcement and public safety activities and response was properly coordinated to reduce LAX’s vulnerability to a terrorist event or catastrophic emergency. This included the development of the nation’s largest airport law enforcement bomb detection K-9 unit, expedited multi-agency intelligence sharing, and an on-site tactical response unit tailored to the aviation environment. 

LaPonda is a nationally recognized aviation security and law enforcement consultant that has developed security systems, methods and procedures, and professional standards that are utilized by a myriad of local, state, federal, and international aviation security and law enforcement agencies that secure the global aviation environment. Understanding the importance of information sharing and training, she modernized and wrote the State of California mandated Aviation Security for Law Enforcement Officers training course as a consultant to the California Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission (POST) that certifies law enforcement officers. She created a training curriculum that addressed the multi-cultural and dynamic venue that a global system such as aviation presents with a concentration on terrorism and its global effect on aviation security. Post-9/11, taking this training curriculum nationwide, she has trained over 3500 police officers, TSA and other aviation security personnel, which included the entire law enforcement components for Atlanta-Hartsfield, Phoenix-Sky Harbor, Shreveport, and Jackson Evers Airport Police Departments. She created a variety of crisis emergency management and other aviation security-related courses. LaPonda also provides aviation security and public safety consulting services for Birdi & Associates, a systems engineering consulting and contracting firm based in Southern California. 

Intrigued by the jihadist phenomenon and its ability to influence ordinary people to participate in extraordinary and out-of-character violent acts, LaPonda returned to the classroom as a student to further her education in the field of Sociology as it relates to globalization and the effect on aviation and related workplace safety and security. She had a concentration in diversity, religion, and other issues that affect a global society. She received her B.A. from UCLA. She continues to be a life-long learner. LaPonda is a member of the AAAE Transportation Security, Training, Diversity, and Operations, Safety, Planning, and Emergency Management committees, ASIS, and is a Senior Certified Professional of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP). She received the National Black Police Association Outstanding African American Woman in Law Enforcement “Taking Charge of Change” Award in 2011, and the California National Guard Commendation, Post 911 Operation Safe Passage Training and Military Deployment to Airports in 2002.  

An avid sports enthusiast, LaPonda coached the men’s basketball and co-ed softball teams for the Los Angeles Airport Police and enjoys long-distance cycling. LaPonda lives in Colorado with her husband Bernard Fitchpatrick, a retired Los Angeles Police Department sergeant. They have three daughters, one son-in-law, and one granddaughter.

Douglas P. Joest
Aviation Consultant

Doug has approximately 35 years of aviation management experience, which includes management positions of FBO Treasurer and Chief Administrative Officer, Airport Authority Board Member, Airport CFO, and Airport Executive Director. In addition, he has substantial financial and accounting experience outside of the aviation industry. Doug is past president and board member of Aviation Indiana and a member of AAAE. He previously served on the Indiana Governor’s Blue Ribbon Transportation Infrastructure Panel and was the 2015 Executive in Residence at the Romain College of Business at the University of Southern Indiana. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Southern Indiana and is an instrument rated private pilot.

Doug’s most recent experience was serving as the Executive Director of the Evansville Vanderburgh Airport Authority (“EVAAD”). Prior to being promoted to the Executive Director position, he served as the Authority’s Treasurer and CFO. At EVAAD his experience included the development of aeronautical and non-aeronautical properties, management of large construction projects, air service development, and active involvement in regional economic development efforts. Previous to joining the Authority’s staff, he served as a member of the EVAAD board of directors for five years. Doug’s experience includes 13 years as the Treasurer and Chief Administrative Officer of Tri-State Aero, Inc., a full service FBO. His other finance and accounting experience includes large publicly held companies, as well as a small closely held business. Doug learned to fly while attending high school and put himself through college working in the line service department of an FBO.

Jeffrey C. Price M.A., C.M.
Leading Edge Strategies 

Jeff Price is a Professor at the Metropolitan State University of Denver, Department of Aviation and Aerospace Science, and the owner of Leading Edge Strategies, an airport management training company.  

Considered one of the leading experts in the world in aviation security and airport safety, Jeff is the former Assistant Director of Airport Security at Denver International Airport, and the former Airport Director at Jefferson County Airport, in Colorado (now known as Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport). Jeff is the lead author of two books: Practical Aviation Security: Predicting and Preventing Future Threats. The leading industry textbook on aviation security and Practical Airport Operations, Safety and Emergency Management: Protocols for Today and the Future. 

The lead Airport Security Coordinator trainer since 2003 for the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), he authored ACE-Security program and is the lead author of AAAE's Certified Member body of knowledge, the baseline knowledge for an individual to become an Accredited Airport Executive. Jeff has a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Colorado Christian University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Professional Pilot from the Metropolitan State University of Denver, along with some doctoral work at Capella University in Emergency Management. He is also an FAA Commercial/Instrument Pilot.  In 2000, he was appointed for a term by the Governor to serve on the Colorado Aeronautics Board. 

Jeff is frequently sought as an industry expert by the media and provides commentary (print, radio, internet and broadcast) to numerous media outlets including NBC, The Today Show, NPR, CNN, ABCNews, CBS, USAToday, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, AP and others. A certified trainer by both the Anthony Robbins company and the FranklinCovey corporation (7 Habits) Jeff has trained over 3,000 Airport Security Coordinators, 800+ TSA Transportation Security Inspectors and thousands of others in airport management, emergency management and airport operations. 

Jeff has authored 300+ articles for a variety of publications including Aviation Security International magazine, Airport magazine and Plane & Pilot. He has also authored three chapters on aviation security for three other texts. He is a Certified Protection Professional through the American Society of Industrial Security. Through Leading Edge Strategies he provides training, emergency exercise design and facilitation, and expert witness services. Jeff’s professional career began as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. He entered airport management in the Airport Operations at Denver’s Stapleton International Airport in 1992, where he developed the airfield manager training programs and was part of opening Denver International Airport. At Jeffco Airport, he served as the Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Property Management prior to being appointed the airport manager. 

Bryan Fountain, ACE
Technical Sales Support Engineer
Navaid Lighting Associates, Inc.

Bryan Fountain holds an Unlimited Master Electrician License and is ACE certified with more than 20 years of experience in electrical installation and management for projects ranging in size from 10k to 4mil on Design Build, Private, Federal, State, and municipal projects. Mr. Fountain now works with MALMS NavAid providing airfield photometric testing, commissioning, and other support services in North America and abroad since 2016.

Seward E. Ford 
Visual Aids Services, Inc. 

Seward Ford is a graduate electrical engineer and has been associated with the airport lighting industry for over 40 years. He was employed by Crouse-Hinds Airport Lighting Products for a number of years holding various positions during his tenure including Manager of Engineering and Marketing Manager. 

Mr. Ford is currently President of Visual Aids Services that provides various support and consulting services for the visual aids industry. Seward's current activities include providing services to Global Engineering and Management Services (GEMS) of Washington, DC. GEMS is supporting the efforts of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Technology Development in an effort to develop an LED Runway Status Light System (RWSL). 

He currently also works as an ACE instructor for the AAAE Airport lighting Maintenance Course and is an associate of Navaid Lighting Associates, providing specialized training and consulting in all phases of the airport lighting industry. 
He was technical advisor for 10 years to the United States IEC subcommittee TC 97 which is generating recognized worldwide standards for airport lighting. 

Mr. Ford is a member emeritus and past chairman of the Illuminating Engineering Society Airport Lighting Committee. He chaired the IES subcommittee that formulated with FAA the industry third party testing program for certification of airfield lighting products to FAA advisory circulars qualification requirements. He has worked on the upgrading and development of various FAA Advisory Circulars and has contributed a number of technical papers during his career.

Chief (Ret.) James “Jim” Nilo, C.M., ACE
JRN Consulting 

Jim started his airport career as a Crash Fire Rescue crewman in the United State Marine Corps in 1984. While serving on active duty he also became a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician in Northern Virginia. At the end of his tour of duty in the Marines, Jim went to work for the newly created Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire Department as a Firefighter/EMT and was stationed at the Washington National Airport.

In late 1990, Jim continued his career and went to work for the City of Manassas Fire and Rescue Services in a municipal role. During this time Jim became highly involved with local fire training and also became an Adjunct Instructor for the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Fire Programs where he continues to teach as a part time instructor to this day. Jim’s passion for training was strong and in 1994 he began working full time for the Virginia Department of Fire Programs as a regional training manager where he coordinated state sponsored training programs for over 30 localities. Part of his duties included course development and with his ARFF background he worked on the development of the states ARFF Program where he was instrumental in the acquisition of Virginia’s first mobile aircraft live fire trainer, the first of its kind. Jim was later moved to the Richmond office where he ran the ARFF program and coordinated much of the training program development for the Agency. During this time Jim was recognized for his work in the ARFF field and received several awards including Virginia Aviation Person of the Year in 1998.

Near the end of 1999, Jim accepted a position with the Capital Region Airport Commission as the Fire Chief for the Richmond International Airport in Richmond, Virginia. Post 9/11 the ARFF department was needed to perform many airport operations functions and in 2004 Jim’s job duties were greatly expanded to include oversight and management of the airports ARFF, Communications, Grounds, Equipment Maintenance, Communications, and Operations Departments. With this expanded role Jim supervised much of the airports daily operation which included many safety and security related duties.

Jim held the position of ARFF Chief and Airport Operations Manager at RIC for the next 13 years and retired from active public service in early 2016.

Jim has attained numerous airport plus Fire and EMS certifications and has even taught at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. His service career included involvement in many organizations such as the Virginia Fire Services Council, National Fire Protection Association, and the Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Working Group (ARFFWG) where Jim was a board member and one time Chairman.

Jim and his wife and two Great Danes reside just south of Fredericksburg, Virginia.