Nicholas E. Calio is president and CEO of Airlines for America (A4A), the trade association for the country’s leading passenger and cargo airlines. Calio leads the organization, which advocates for America’s airlines as models of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives nearly $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and 10 million U.S. jobs.
Under Calio’s leadership, A4A rebranded and honed its focus on being an influential voice in helping to shape legislative and regulatory policies and priorities that improve air travel for everyone. Known for his ability to build consensus, Calio focused the re-launched association on working collaboratively with airlines, labor unions, Congress and the Administration to promote safety, security and a healthy U.S. airline industry.
Prior to joining A4A in January 2011, Mr. Calio was Citigroup’s executive vice president for Global Government Affairs and a member of its senior leadership committee.
Calio served President George W. Bush as Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs from January 2001 to January 2003. As the president’s principal liaison to Congress, Calio worked closely with the leadership and members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and had the primary responsibility for formulating and implementing White House strategy on all legislative issues. He held the same position during the administration of President George H.W. Bush.
Between the Bush Administrations, Calio was a partner at O’Brien*Calio, a law and lobbying firm he co-founded in 1993. A 1998 Fortune magazine survey of members of Congress, congressional staff, administration staff and lobbyists rated the firm as one of the “ten most powerful” in Washington.
Mr. Calio is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Ohio Wesleyan University. He also serves on the Board of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. He has received the Excellence in Business Award from the Sons of Italy Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the nation’s largest and oldest organization for people of Italian heritage; the Business Leadership Award from The Fund for American Studies; and the People Who Move America Award from the Boy Scouts of America.
Paul Archambeault was named Senior Vice President, Chief Financial and Operating Officer of Airlines for America (A4A) in September 2014. In this role, he manages support services; administration, treasury, information technology and business services (e-business, industry audit, high-density airport slot services, publications and the Airlines Clearing House). He also manages the A4A defined-benefit and defined-contribution plans. Archambeault joined A4A in 1991 as a staff auditor and has held management roles in finance, operations and aviation security. He also served as Director of the Aviation Millennium Project, the industrywide initiative to ensure that all airline operations were Y2K compliant. He was named Vice President, Chief Financial officer and Treasurer in October 2003. A native of Virginia Beach, Va., Archambeault holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Old Dominion University and a master’s degree in financial management from George Mason University. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.
In September 2011, Christine Burgeson joined Airlines for America (A4A) as Senior Vice President, Global Government Affairs. A key member of the A4A leadership team, Burgeson leads government affairs with a focus on increasing the advocacy reach and lobbying capabilities of the organization.
Burgeson served as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs on issues including budget, appropriations, tax, finance and foreign relations. During her tenure, Burgeson worked with Congress in the aftermath of 9-11 to establish the Department of Homeland Security and later to ensure enactment of the President’s 2003 Jobs and Growth tax legislation. After leaving the White House, Burgeson became Managing Director of Federal Government Affairs in Citigroup’s Global Government Affairs office. Burgeson began her career in Washington working for Mississippi Republican U.S. Senator Trent Lott serving on the leadership staff in both the Majority Whip’s office and in the Senate Majority Leader’s office.
Glatz brings vast international policy experience to A4A, having successfully negotiated agreements on behalf of the U.S. aviation industry, resulting in unparalleled market access for U.S. carriers worldwide. Before joining A4A, Glatz served as Senior Negotiator for Air Services at the Department of Transportation. Prior to 2004, Glatz held three Presidential Management Fellow positions, during which he worked at the Department of State in the Office of Aviation Negotiations and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as Deputy Director for Russia and newly independent states. Glatz holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Texas Tech University and a Juris Doctor and Master of Public Policy from the University of Akron.
Rebecca Spicer was named Senior Vice President, Communications at Airlines for America (A4A), in June 2018. She is responsible for communications initiatives that execute key public relations strategies, help advance policy priorities and achieve advocacy objectives. In March 2020, she was named to PRWeek’s Hall of Femme, which recognizes women who are “leaders in the communications industry who challenge the status quo, move the needle in business and strive to make a difference.” Prior to joining A4A, Spicer worked for nearly 12 years at the National Beer Wholesalers Association, where she most recently served as Senior Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs. Additionally, Spicer served in the George W. Bush White House as associate director of communications, where she produced televised presidential events. Earlier, she worked as a television producer at stations across the country, including six years at WJLA in Washington, D.C., where she produced the award-winning six p.m. newscast, in addition to stations in Houston, Texas; New Haven, Conn.; and Birmingham, Ala.; as well as CNN in Atlanta, Ga. A native of Nashville, Tenn., Spicer holds degrees from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. She serves on the Board of the National Council for Adoption and on the Advisory Council of the Salvation Army National Capital Region.
Patricia Vercelli is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at Airlines for America. She brings to the association more than 20 years of experience in the airline financial services industry. Vercelli is responsible for A4A’s legal and corporate governance, overseeing the General Counsel’s office and providing corporate secretary functions. Vercelli joins A4A from Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP), the airline-owned travel payment system. UATP was formerly a division of A4A for 15 years. Vercelli managed the legal affairs of UATP, guiding them through multifaceted regulatory hurdles in the international arena relative to streamlining the payment processing of transactions between UATP airline members and corporate customers. Prior to joining UATP, Vercelli worked for Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP and Sallie Mae, Inc. A member in good standing with multiple bar associations, she holds a Master of Laws in International Law (LLM) from Georgetown University and a Juris Doctor (JD) from The American University.
Lauren Beyer is the Vice President for Security and Facilitation at Airlines for America. In this role, she is responsible for security, cybersecurity, cargo, and passenger facilitation issues. She oversees all aspects of interaction with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and other federal security agencies. Beyer joined A4A with 11 years of U.S. federal government experience. Prior to joining A4A, Beyer served as the Director for Aviation and Surface Transportation Security at the National Security Council where she was responsible for directing and coordinating national aviation security policies, including revision of the National Strategy for Aviation Security and spearheading efforts to obtain legislative authority to counter unmanned aircraft systems. Prior to the NSC, Beyer held several positions at TSA including as Europe, Africa, Middle East Bureau Chief, managing engagement with transportation security stakeholders across these regions. Prior to joining TSA, she served in various roles at DHS including as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Visa Waiver Program Office, as well as serving as the DHS Liaison to the European Union Presidency, stationed in Budapest, Hungary and Warsaw, Poland. Beyer holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in American Government from Georgetown University.
Andy Cebula is Vice President, Air Traffic Management & Operations for Airlines for America. Cebula manages A4A’s efforts to derive operational efficiency and effectiveness from the national airspace system and achieve benefits from NextGen as the Federal Aviation Administration implements modernization of the air traffic control system. He also advocates for members in safety and flight operations issues, and the integration of commercial space, Advanced Air Mobility, and unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.
A graduate of Auburn University’s Aviation Management Program, Cebula has four decades of aviation policy experience in safety, operations, security, and air traffic control. He joined A4A from RTCA where he served as Senior Vice President, Policy, and Programs. In that role, he managed the NextGen Advisory and Tactical Operations advisory committees addressing the future of the aviation system and key issues affecting airline and other aircraft operations. His professional experience also includes positions at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the FAA, the National Air Transportation Association and Eastern Airlines.
Katherine Estep is the Vice President for Communications at Airlines for America (A4A). In this role, she drives A4A’s strategic communications for policy, regulatory and legislative initiatives; rapid response efforts; and media relations to advance the industry’s advocacy priorities. Estep joined A4A in 2019 from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where she served as Associate Director of the Private Sector Office in the Office of Partnership and Engagement and managed DHS’ relationships with the travel and tourism industry, focusing on a wide range of security issues from biometrics to immigration. Earlier, Estep worked as a radio producer, which kick-started her passion for communications and engagement. She also worked for a major public policy think tank establishing strategic relationships with key stakeholders in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Estep holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Political Science from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.
John Heimlich joined Airlines for America (A4A) in April 2001 and currently serves as Vice President and Chief Economist. He is responsible for matters pertaining to economics and energy and frequently engages with members of the media. Prior to A4A, Heimlich spent five years at United Airlines in financial planning, financial analysis and international and regulatory affairs. In the latter role, he worked on competition matters, mergers, route cases and antitrust immunity for alliances. A native of Kent, Ohio, Heimlich holds a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Cornell University and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Robert Ireland joined A4A in 2012, drawing upon more than 35 years of aviation engineering experience. At A4A, he leads the safety, maintenance and engineering team, interfacing with member carriers, the FAA and other trade associations to ensure practical solutions that benefit the flying public and ensure safety. In his role, he oversees the Safety Council and the Engineering, Maintenance and Materiel Council along with their relevant committees tackling issues such as safety management systems; aircraft cabin air quality; airworthiness directive coordination with the FAA; and 5G telecommunications interference with radio altimeters. In parallel, Ireland has held volunteer leadership positions within SAE International, including long-time Board membership and as aerospace sector vice president, assuring the airline community voice is heard on product and process standardization issues. Prior to joining A4A, Ireland worked at United Airlines for 30 years, leading maintenance programs and flight simulator engineering, as well as the delivery acceptance team for 200 of the airline’s Boeing and Airbus aircraft. He was the principal developer of simulator models used across the industry since the late 1980s for pilot windshear training. Ireland started his career with Boeing and is a graduate of Princeton University.
Graham Keithley was named Vice President and Associate General Counsel in August 2020. In this role, Keithley serves as legal counsel to member airlines on a range of regulatory issues at the international, federal, state and local levels, including safety, security, consumer protections, accommodations for passengers with disabilities, airports, public health and employee drug and alcohol testing. Keithley also serves as legal counsel for various A4A programs and member services. Prior to joining A4A in 2019, Keithley was an attorney in top aviation practices at major law firms, including Baker McKenzie and Jones Day. Earlier he served in the United States Navy performing aircraft maintenance administration. He is an active member of, and Sponsorship Liaison for, the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Forum on Air and Space Law, as well as Assistant Editor for the ABA’s Air and Space Lawyer publication. A native of Washington, D.C., he attended Georgetown University Law Center, is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and is active in the local community through leadership in his Freemason lodge.
Karen Keller was named Chief of Staff of Airlines for America (A4A) in April 2022 and manages the Executive Office and facilitates all aspects of strategic planning and general coordination across the association. Prior to joining A4A, Keller worked as the chief operating officer at PLUS Communications where she oversaw the operations, HR and IT functions of the firm. Earlier, she served as the director of the Office of Special Events and Protocol at the Smithsonian Institution where she oversaw the day-to-day operations and managed events. Additionally, Keller served as special assistant and personal secretary to President George W. Bush and oversaw Oval Office operations from 2005 – 2009. She also served as special assistant to the White House budget director and oversaw the operations of the Office of Management and Budget director’s office. Prior to her White House experience, Keller worked as the director of administration at the 53rd Presidential Inaugural Committee and served as the deputy to the CEO of the 2004 Republican National Convention. She began her career at Burson-Marsteller, overseeing the office of the Chief Operating Officer and working as an event producer. Keller is a native Washingtonian and graduate of Towson University.
Laura McKee currently serves as Vice President, Airport Affairs and is responsible for coordinating policy and industry matters regarding the business relationship between airlines and airport operators. McKee joined Airlines for America (A4A) as Managing Director, Airport Affairs in July 2007, was promoted to Senior Managing Director, Airline Services in June 2011, and then to Vice President Airline Services in May 2013. Before joining A4A, McKee served as Director, Risk Management for Centerplate, Inc. (a food and beverage concessionaire) where she was responsible for managing all insurance, safety and security functions of the company. She previously spent 10 years with Trans World Airlines and US Airways and began her career as an attorney with the law firm of Evans & Dixon in St. Louis. A native of Philadelphia, McKee received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Villanova University and earned a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis.
Doug Mullen is Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Airlines for America. Mullen previously served as Associate General Counsel, Regulatory Affairs for the association, serving as legal counsel to member airlines on a wide range of regulatory issues at the international, federal, state and local levels. His legal portfolio has included matters regarding safety and operations; airports; drug and alcohol testing; accommodations for passengers with disabilities; cargo operations; and pilot qualification, training and certification. As Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Mullen advocates before U.S. federal agencies and foreign regulatory bodies to ensure that legislative decisions and regulatory policies strengthen the aviation industry and maintain the highest level of safety. Prior to joining A4A in 2007, Mullen served as an Attorney Advisor in the Office of the Chief Counsel, Regulations Division at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and as an Attorney Advisor in the Office of the General Counsel, Ethics Division at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Kristine O’Brien is Vice President, Global Government Affairs. O’Brien joined A4A from the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure where she was Director of Outreach and Member Services for Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR). In that position, she developed and implemented political and legislative strategy with Members of Congress and external stakeholders surrounding infrastructure and transportation priorities. Previously, O’Brien served as a legislative aide for U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), where she worked on transportation, infrastructure and economic development issues. She was involved in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 which resulted in a five-year authorization of federal aviation programs and a three-year reauthorization of the TSA. Before working on Capitol Hill, O’Brien worked for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, the International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), United Airlines and Continental Airlines. O’Brien earned a Master of Planning from the University of Southern California and has a BS in Business Administration from Boston University.
Riva Khoshaba Parker is Vice President, Labor and Employment/Litigation. Parker is an expert litigator in all areas of labor and employment law, bringing years of litigation experience to A4A. Parker joined A4A in 2019 from the Pentagon’s Office of The Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army where she advised senior leadership, developed and executed strategies for enterprise wide challenges and created the Army’s first nation-wide labor litigation team. Prior to the Pentagon, Parker served in the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and worked at several law firms in Washington, D.C., most recently at Ifrah Law Firm, LLP. Parker holds degrees from the University of Chicago and Yale Law School.
Tim Pohle was named Vice President, Environmental Affairs for Airlines for America (A4A) in November 2021. An environmental attorney, Pohle leads A4A’s environmental sustainability programs on behalf of A4A’s member airlines. Since joining A4A in September 2005, Pohle has led the A4A Environment Council in developing policies on domestic environmental issues of national significance, including water quality, air quality, aircraft noise and climate change. Pohle has also represented A4A members for over a decade at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection negotiating aircraft and aircraft engines standards. Pohle works to address local air quality and noise issues at the state and local level, engaging regulators to reach practical and reasonable approaches to achieving environmental progress. Pohle has been instrumental in providing leadership and counsel as the aviation industry deepened its commitment to the environment and sustainability initiatives. A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Pohle received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and a Juris Doctor cum laude from University of Michigan Law School.
With extensive policy, legislative and management experience, Shelley Rubino joined Airlines for America (A4A) as Vice President, Global Government Affairs in April 2012. Before joining A4A, Ms. Rubino spent four years on Capitol Hill, where she served as Chief of Staff to Rep. John Larson (D-CT), Chairman of the Democratic Caucus and as a liaison between Rep. Larson and House Leadership, Members of Congress and the administration. Previously, Rubino served as Director of Government Law and Strategies at Brown, Rudnick, Berlack, Israels, LLP of Hartford, Conn. She also served as a top aide to Connecticut House Speaker Thomas Ritter. Rubino received her bachelor’s degree in communications from Eastern Connecticut University. She serves on the Executive Board of the National Democratic Club, the Board of the Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange and is involved in numerous civic and charitable organizations. Ms. Rubino previously served as Vice Chairman of the Connecticut Judicial Selection Commission.
Josh Saltzman joined Airlines for America (A4A) as Vice President, Global Government Affairs in June 2012, following 12 years on Capitol Hill. Saltzman has extensive management and legislative experience and, prior to joining A4A, was Chief of Staff to Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), Vice Chairman of the House Rules Committee and Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process. Saltzman served as Chief Policy and Political Aide, and primary liaison between Rep. Sessions and Republican Leadership offices, Members of Congress and their staffs. Previously Saltzman served as Deputy Chief of Staff/Rules Committee Associate for Rep. Sessions, and worked as legislative aide to Rep. Edward Royce (R-CA) and as a staff member to Rep. Patrick Toomey (R-PA). Saltzman received a Master of Philosophy degree from Trinity College, Dublin, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of William and Mary.
Jarrod Thompson was named Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Policy in February 2015. In this role, he utilizes his policy expertise in transportation, particularly economic regulations governing commercial aviation, as A4A continues to address the tax, regulatory and infrastructure challenges facing the industry and its customers. Prior to joining A4A, Thompson served as Director of Congressional Affairs at United Airlines. He also has extensive airline-related policy experience working on Capitol Hill as Republican Senior Professional Staff Member for Aviation for the Senate Commerce Committee. A native of Laurel, Mont., Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science from Montana State University in psychology.
Sean Williams joined Airlines for America (A4A) as Vice President, State and Local Government Affairs in April 2013. In this role, Sean uses his unique knowledge of state and local government and grassroots engagement to advocate on behalf of the airline industry and for a National Airline Policy. A native of Connecticut, Sean has extensive experience in state and local government, including six terms representing the 68th Assembly District in the Connecticut House of Representatives. Sean served as Ranking Member of the tax-writing Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. He previously served as Ranking Member of the Energy and Technology Committee and as a member of the state Bond Commission. He also had stints as a member of the Education, Insurance and Real Estate, Labor and Public Employees and Commerce Committees. A recipient of several prominent awards for his advocacy for a stronger business climate during his tenure in the legislature, he was widely recognized as a leader willing to cross party lines to forge strategic partnerships on a number of key pieces of legislation in Connecticut. Sean holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut.