Major Indira Thackorie, NECAS President
Indira entered the air show community more than 20 years ago through the Canadian International Air Show in Toronto, Ontario, by working as a volunteer with the Media and Public Relations Committee. Since then she has contributed event management, public relations and marketing skills to numerous events and other organizations.
Indira is as a proud member of the Canadian Armed Forces and worked full time for 24 years. Having joined the Canadian Army at the age of 17, she attained the rank of Sergeant before commissioning as a Public Affairs Officer in 2008. She has operationally deployed twice; first with the United Nations in the Golan Heights, Israel (2002); and to Kandahar, Afghanistan under Operation Enduring Freedom (2006).
Beginning in 2010, Indira had the honour of serving as the Public Affairs Officer for the Canadian Forces Parachute Team, the SkyHawks, for three consecutive seasons. In this time she announced more than 70 air shows and public events across North America. Indira has also presented at other marquee events, including the Canadian Forces' Musical Salute at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto; and Fortissimo (military music spectacular), the premiere event of the summer tourist season in the National Capital Region.
Born in Trinidad & Tobago she moved with her family to Canada in 1990 and has since traveled extensively. She has also worked as a part-time professor at Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. Indira's passion is people. Her enthusiastic speaking style comes from a professional communications background that is energized by a love of air shows. When you hear the sound of her voice, you'll know you're in the right place.
Dave Hewitt, NECAS Vice President
Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team
Dave was born and raised in Woodstock, Ontario. He married his high school sweetheart and is a proud father of two teenage boys. Graduating in 1993 with a BASC in Mechanical Engineering Degree and a minor in Organizational Behaviour from Waterloo University, Dave’s entrepreneurial spirit found him Founder of a Metal Stampings Plant at age 25, expanding 5 times and finally being sold in 2015. He is also the Founding President of an automotive tubular parts plant which is still growing today.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Dave became a private pilot in 1989. He soloed in a Harvard two months later and started his formation career immediately, presently having a Commercial License and over 1600 hours PIC. Developing his piloting, formation and aerobatic skills he eventually co-founded the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team (CHAT) Inc. in 2000. Currently, Dave is #2, Right Wing and Coordinator of CHAT and also flies, when time allows, a Boeing Stearman, Expeditor 3NM (Beech 18), Citabria 7KCAB, Piper J3 Cub, Hawker Hurricane, Yale, and other aircraft. Dave has been a part of the aviation community for 27 years, a member of ICAS for 15 years and joined the NECAS Board in 2017.
John (Jack) McMahon, NECAS Treasurer
Air Heritage Museum
Jack McMahon graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in December 1968 and entered USAF pilot training in January 1969. After completion of pilot training in January 1970, came F 102 school and then F 106 school. During the next 4 years of flying the “6” came assignments first to the 94th FIS, then the 2nd FIS and finally the 49FIS. After a tour in Korea, Jack left active duty and joined the Air Force Reserves in Pittsburgh where he flew the C 123 Provider, then the C130A and finally the C130H2. During the next 20+ years there were Panama rotations; Caribbean hurricane relief missions; and a Desert Shield Deployment, in addition to numerous training missions. These all lead to retirement in 1995.
After retiring from civilian employment in 2006 and moving back to Pittsburgh, Jack joined the Air Heritage Museum. After an almost a 30 year absence, he was back to flying the Air Heritage Museum C 123 known as “Thunder Pig”. Currently, Thunder Pig is the last flying C 123 in the US. He says the expression of the Vietnam veterans that board the aircraft make all the effort to keep it flying worthwhile. Jack is Air Show Manager for the museum. His job is arranging air shows and negotiating with production companies on the use of our aircraft in TV and movies.
Melissa Minshall, NECAS Secretary
Community Charity Airshow
Introduced to aviation at the age of 3, Melissa has been keen on airplanes, airports and airshows for many years. Beginning with the Brantford Airshow in 2003, Melissa started by volunteering to make dinner tickets, and after many years of growth and learning, she evolved into the top role as Airshow Director in 2009. With experience ranging from port-o-potties to performer hospitality, Melissa enjoys most aspects of event planning (except making site plans). Her training in Communications, Marketing and Event Planning has landed her a career in Ancaster, Ontario as an event manager. After retiring from her Airshow Director role, she now enjoys more free time to volunteer with the Community Charity Airshow, and other airshows in Ontario, specifically enjoying performer hospitality and logistics. She loves to pretend that her baking is edible, taking long walks with other people’s dogs, and flying in anything that can be airborne. As a past board member of NECAS, she is keen to offer her experience to serve on the board for another term.
Dave "Huggie" Cooper
Rochester International Airshow
Dave Cooper is a native of Pennsylvania, who attended his first airshow in 1982 in Cleveland, Ohio while taking private pilot lessons. He was hooked after watching Bob Hoover’s performance in the “Shrike Commander.” At the time, he was a consulting petroleum engineer in the oil and gas business in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In 1985, he formed “Just Plane People”, a traveling airshow novelty company that participated in over 550 events nationwide from 1985 until 1999. In 1990, Dave moved to Geneseo, NY to independently manage the gift shop and away airshow novelty operations for the National Warplane Museum. In 1994, he was back on the road as a novelty vendor and airshow operations consultant throughout the U.S. In 1998 and 1999, Dave was a consultant to the Promotional Management Group and principal advisor to the March Airfest at March Air Reserve Base in California in the conduct of airshows at a military base. In 2000, he joined Beau Productions as the airshow coordinator for the Rochester International Airshow. Dave is now the Managing Director of PEC Management, LLC, which was awarded the contract to produce the Rochester International Airshow through to 2020, with extensions. In his free time, Dave collects antique glass and serves on the Board of Directors for the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Dave holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing/Finance from Ohio University.