North East Council of Air Shows

Meet our 2021 Board of Directors 

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.  

Bill Wagner
Niagara Military Affairs Council

Bill is a lifelong resident of New York's Buffalo-Niagara Falls area. He graduated from college with Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, while playing ice hockey. His hockey career reached a peak of semi-professional, and continued as a youth coach for 12 years achieving several State and a National Championship title. Bill is currently President of Wagner Management LLC  and offers his expertise to other local community Boards. Bill's life-long interest in aviation and 20th century military history has influenced his extracurricular interests, including graduating from the Niagara Military Affairs Council Commanders Program, serving as Vice Chairman of NIMAC, and serving as Civilian Chairman of Thunder of Niagara Air Show. Bill is the proud son of a former USAF Reservist from the 914th Tactical Dispensary and father of a current USAF Reservist 914th Security Forces.

Al Clark
Line Crew Chief at Waterloo Warbirds

Al’s fascination with airplanes started, like many, at a very young age and has continued through to today with his efforts to attend multiple airshows in Canada and the United States, NECAS conferences, ICAS conferences and ultimately to lead the ground crew of an active jet team within the airshow industry. His efforts have been well-recognized by colleagues and industry members alike, earning Al a strong reputation for his professionalism, consideration, and approach to safety in all aspects of aviation.

 The weekends may be filled with airplanes; but in the reality of the work week Al holds a leadership role as Chief Storesman in a London, Ontario-based corporation.  This role reflects Al’s inherent ability to lead people, strategize and plan actions required to achieve established goals, organize and prioritize tasks, provide clear communication of expectations, manage cost centres; and inspire team success. His 32-year tenure with the same company is a testament to key attributes of Al’s character. A character that his peers and colleagues have come to trust and depend upon. Consistently going above and beyond to help others; he is straightforward, decisive, reliable, effective, trustworthy and honest.

Al began volunteering with a jet Museum in 2007, also based in London, Ontario, which in-turn lead to an invitation to build a volunteer maintenance and ground crew from the starting blocks, for Waterloo Warbirds. In the last 6 years, he has led numerous achievements with the team; developed a highly skilled, professional crew of 6 and ceaselessly role-modelled the highest standard of safety in all aspects of the work involved. Al’s time within the airshow industry enabled him to build a strong network across North America and hone his insight into the forward movement of the industry as it works to continue redefining itself in an ever-changing marketplace. He welcomes an opportunity to expand his leadership skills and brings a proven record of rising above, and surpassing, challenges placed in front of him.

Although enjoying the sound of a jet engine tearing by is still the greatest thrill for Al, his passenger experience in the cockpit, maintaining aircraft, commanding the ramp, chasing propellers and tail pipes across numerous events, establishing a gold standard of safety for his own organization, and his experience on both sides of the industry, show production and show performer, combines to provide skills and experience that aligns with the needs of the NECAS board of directors.

Mike Tryggvason
Canadian Competition Aerobatic and Airshow Pilot

Mike Tryggvason has been a member of NECAS since 2010 and a member of the board since 2019. Mike is a Canadian pilot and began his airshow flying career in 2011- first in a Pitts Special, then transitioning to high performance monoplanes. He specializes in high energy, maximum performance aerobatic displays and is an active competitor in the North American aerobatic competition community. A professional pilot by trade, Mike also holds a BESC in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Western Ontario. His past experience includes work in aerospace engineering research and development, flight operations at a regional airline as a Training Captain, and most recently, major airline flight operations as a line pilot, Level D simulator instructor & Human Factors/ CRM instructor. After his start in aerobatics in 2006 with a Pitts Special S2A, Mike worked with coaching legend Sergei Boriak and began flying formal competition aerobatics in 2009, going on to compete at the US National Aerobatic Championships in 2014 and 2017. He began flying the Giles 202 in 2012, and has been flying airshows and competitions in it from Abbotsford to Oshkosh to Bagotville in the years since. His passion is showcasing precision, high energy aerobatics to the aviation community across the continent and sharing his experience with fellow aviators to help them achieve their goals. Mike now considers it a privilege to have the opportunity to give back to the NECAS family by sharing his time and expertise to support the group and its members."

Todd Cameron
Air Boss/Oncore Aviation, LLC

Todd is currently the Chief Flight Instructor at OnCore Aviation, LLC and Director of Flight Operations at National Warplane Museum - Geneseo Airshow

Dave Olmstead
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.

John Wallace
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.

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