Dave Hewitt, NECAS 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.
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.
Continental Air Show Productions/Behind The Scenes Productions
Dave had the privilege of serving as the Operations Director for Continental Air Show Productions since 2002 and now he is continuing Bill Bordeleau’s ( ICAS Charter Member #4) 51-year legacy of Continental Air Show Productions by purchasing the business at the end of their 50th season in 2019. CASP continues to provide live sound reinforcement and production assistance to air shows across North America.
Dave also owns and operates Behind The Scenes Productions which is an event production and marketing agency in Cincinnati, Ohio that he started in 2004. BTSP has clients throughout the air show industry as well as other local and national organizations they work with annually. Behind The Scenes Productions has received numerous awards for our video productions and is recognized as a “go to” event planner and production specialists within the Cincinnati market and beyond. Behind The Scenes Productions acquisition of Continental Air Show Productions allows a more seamless application of the varied resources and expertise that Dave can provide to his new air show clients.
Geronimo Skydiving Team
John is the Founder and director of GERONIMO! Skydiving Team. He has over 6,700 Jumps and has been parachuting for 43 Years. He holds both US and Canadian ratings and is an FAA Rigger.