Our Leadership

Nicholas E. Calio
President and CEO
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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 more than 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 executive branch to promote the safety, security and health of the U.S. airline industry. He has led multiple FAA reauthorization negotiations and was instrumental in avoiding total crisis during the 2022 5G C-Band implementation.

His leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic helped save the industry from ruin, working closely with Congress to create the Payroll Support Program that kept airline employees on the job and pilots certified. Bringing together labor partners and commercial carriers, Calio secured nearly $60 billion in financial assistance as part of the CARES Act. 

Simultaneously, Calio partnered with Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to implement a robust, multi-layered strategy to effectively reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during air travel.

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. He was responsible for the company’s government affairs globally.

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.

Prior to joining the Bush administration, 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 Washington lobbyists rated the firm as one of the “Ten Most Powerful” in Washington. Calio started the firm after leaving the first Bush administration.

An active civic leader, Calio was honored with the 2024 Hermes Air Transport Organisation’s Katerina and George Iatrou Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the global airline industry. Calio was honored by Vaughn College in 2023 for his efforts during the pandemic and his leadership in the industry. He has also received the Fund for American Studies Business Leadership Award; the Excellence in Business Award from the Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF), the philanthropic arm of the nation’s largest and oldest organization for people of Italian heritage; and the People Who Move America Award from the Boy Scouts of America.

Mr. Calio is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He is currently chair of the Ohio Wesleyan University Board of Trustees. He is also a trustee of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce.

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.

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.

Sharon Pinkerton was named Senior Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Policy for Airlines for America (A4A) in February 2011, and leads policy development on legislative and regulatory matters, working with Capitol Hill and the administration. Pinkerton joined A4A as Vice President, Government Affairs in April 2006, where she was responsible for overseeing all aviation-related issues before federal, state and local governments. Before joining A4A, she served as Assistant Administrator for Aviation Policy, Planning and Environment at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Prior to her appointment at FAA, Pinkerton was transportation counsel to House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman John L. Mica (R-Fla.) and served on Capitol Hill for nearly 10 years. She began her professional career at Price Waterhouse. A native of Vero Beach, Fla., Pinkerton received a Bachelor of Science degree from Cedarville College in Ohio, and earned a law degree from the University of Florida. Pinkerton is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Rebecca Spicer was named Senior Vice President, Communications at Airlines for America (A4A) in 2018. She is responsible for communications initiatives that execute key public relations strategies, help advance policy priorities and achieve advocacy objectives on behalf of the leading U.S. airlines, both passenger and cargo carriers.

PRWeek recognized her achievements by inducting her in the Hall of Femme, which honors women who are “leaders in the communications industry who challenge the status quo, move the needle in business and strive to make a difference.”

PRNEWS named her an Industry Champion, which recognizes “supportive, innovative and inspiring women who are making strides within their organization,” honoring Spicer for her leadership on the airline industry’s Save Our Jobs campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign generated significant media coverage, helping build strong bipartisan support for the Payroll Support Program which Congress passed three times, saving thousands of airline jobs in the U.S.

Also under her leadership, A4A’s 5G Interference Won’t Fly campaign received the Power of Associations Award from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and was named a finalist in PRWeek’s Best in Crisis Award. A4A launched this aggressive campaign to educate the federal government, media and the public about safety concerns amid the deployment of new 5G service near some airports. These efforts generated widespread media coverage and helped drive an agreement, allowing for the safe continuation of seamless air service.

Prior to joining A4A, Spicer worked for 12 years at the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), where she most recently was Senior Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs. While at NBWA, she was named to PRWeek’s “40 Under 40” edition and received the ASAE Rising Star Award.

She also served in the George W. Bush White House as associate director of communications, producing televised presidential events. Earlier, she was a television producer at WJLA in Washington, D.C., where she produced the award-winning six p.m. newscast; KTRK in Houston; WTNH in New Haven, Conn.; and WVTM in Birmingham, Ala. She began her career as a production assistant at CNN in Atlanta.

A native of Nashville, Spicer is a graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where she has served on the Board of Trustees, volunteered as Class Alumni Chair and received the Distinguished Young Alumna Award. She also holds a degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., earned a certificate from Harvard Kennedy School's “Persuasive Communication: Narrative, Evidence, and Impact” executive program and is a member of Page, the world's leading professional association for senior communications executives.

She currently serves on the Board of the National Council for Adoption, volunteers as a troop leader for the Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital Council and previously was 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.

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.

Haley Gallagher assumed her current role as A4A’s Vice President of Security and Facilitation in January 2024.  She is responsible for representing and defending the collective interests of the A4A membership on airline security, cyber, cargo and facilitation issues. Ms. Gallagher brings over 20 years of public and private sector experience to the position, most recently serving 11 years with the Transportation Security Administration where she specialized in international engagement and counterterrorism activities aimed at risk mitigation. Throughout her government career, Ms. Gallagher has been successful in building productive relationships and coalitions across government and industry stakeholder groups, coordinating policy or technical positions, and reaching consensus on issues with international impact. Ms. Gallagher holds a Bachelor of Arts from Messiah College and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. 

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.

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.

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.

Kevin Welsh is Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer at Airlines for America. In this role, he leads A4A’s sustainability and environmental advocacy and policy initiatives. He works closely with A4A member airlines to support efforts that help achieve the sector’s ambitious climate and environmental goals. Kevin joined A4A in 2023 from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) where he served as the Executive Director of the Office of Environment and Energy. He also served as Director for Climate and Environment at the National Security Council in the White House from 2015 to 2017, where he helped advance U.S.-international climate and energy objectives. Kevin began his career practicing environmental law in Washington, D.C. A native of Connecticut, Kevin received his law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Tufts University.

Sean Williams joined Airlines for America as Vice President of State and Local Government Affairs in April 2013. In this role, he uses his unique knowledge of state and local government and grassroots engagement to advocate on behalf of the airline industry. Williams has extensive experience in state and local government, including six terms representing the 68th House District in the Connecticut General Assembly. At different points during his tenure, Williams served as the Ranking Member on the tax-writing Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, Ranking Member of the Energy and Technology Committee, and as a member of the Insurance and Real Estate, Commerce and Education Committees. He also served as a member of the State Bond Commission. A recipient of several legislative awards for his advocacy for a stronger business climate, 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. Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and an MBA in Finance, both from the University of Connecticut.

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