Leadership


CAAFI activities are led by the Executive Committee of CAAFI, which is composed of:

Administrative Leadership Team

Steve Csonka

Steve Csonka
CAAFI Executive Director

Steve Csonka is a commercial aviation professional with 27 years of broad airline and aviation OEM experience. Steve's strong technical background, which spans the breadth of the commercial aircraft/engine life-cycle, from design through operations, has led to engagements in business development and in long-term strategic planning for the aviation enterprise. Such work has focused on the nexus of future product requirements, technology progression, and industry value propositions, including aspects of policy, advocacy, regulatory affairs, and environmental impact. Steve is a strong industry advocate who seeks pragmatic solutions to the challenges of aviation growth - resulting in his current focus on alternative fuels and the work of CAAFI.

Rich Altman

Richard L. Altman
CAAFI Executive Director, Emeritus

A 42 year aviation veteran, Rich spent 39 years with Pratt & Whitney initially as a propulsion engineer then in Advanced Technology Business Development. He is a founding member of the US Transportation Research Board Committee on Aviation effects on the Environment and a member of the PARTNER Center of Excellence Advisory Board.

Nate Brown

Nate Brown
FAA, Head Advisor for Strategy & Implementation

Nate is Head Advisor of CAAFI and provides management and strategy assistance to the Executive Director.  As a Policy Analyst with the FAA’s Office of Environment and Energy he also supports strategies and research to address aviation environmental impacts, energy needs and climate change impacts. He has previously worked on international climate change initiatives at the U.S. Department of State.

Dr. Kristin Lewis

Dr. Kristin C. Lewis
Volpe Center/U.S. DOT, Head Research and Technical Advisor

Kristin serves as the Head Research and Technical Advisor for CAAFI, providing technical and environmental coordination for the Executive Director. Kristin is an Environmental Biologist with the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. In addition to her work with CAAFI, Kristin participates in research on aviation impacts in the National Parks and the development of noise and emissions models for aviation.

Certification/Qualification Team

Mark Rumizen

Mark Rumizen
FAA, Certification Lead

Mark is the Aviation Fuels Specialist in the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Division and has been employed by the FAA since 1991. Prior to the FAA, Mark was employed by GE Aircraft Engines and Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in various engineering and marketing roles.


Environment Team

Dr. James Hileman

Dr. James Hileman
FAA, Environment Team Co-Lead

Dr. Jim Hileman is the Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Environment for the Federal Aviation Administration. Prior to this, he was the Associate Director of the Partnership for AiR Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction (PARTNER). Within the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, his research focused on modeling the impacts of alternative jet fuels and innovative aircraft concepts on energy efficiency, noise, air quality and global climate change. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. He was awarded the 2010 FAA Excellence in Aviation Research award for his team's work on alternative fuels and he was also the FAA Centers of Excellence Faculty of the Year Award recipient in 2010.

Nancy Young

Nancy Young
A4A, Environment Co-Lead

Ms. Young is the vice president, Environmental Affairs of Airlines for America (A4A). She directs A4A environmental programs, which includes climate change, the environmental aspects of fuel management, noise, emissions, land use, sustainability, waste management and other issues of significance to aviation. She has served for several years on key working groups of the International Civil Aviation Organization's environment committee and, when in private law practice, as co-chair of Beveridge & Diamond's climate change practice group.

Business Team

Todd Couper

Todd Couper
United Airlines, Business Team Co-Lead

Todd Couper serves as the Director of Operations at United Airlines, allowing him the opportunity to take part in some exciting projects related to alternative fuels and their commercialization within our industry. Supply logistics, pricing, storage and into-plane loading are some the operational aspects he is responsible for. Previously, Todd held jobs in airline sales, ramp operations, customer service, finance, communications, and marketing at United. Todd was also the GM for United at Midway Airport and worked as the Fueling Manager for Servisair & Shell Fuel Services at O'Hare.

Rob Myrben

Rob Myrben
A4A, Business Team Co-Lead

Rob Myrben joined Airlines for America (A4A) in July 2014 as Senior Managing Director, Fuel Optimization after spending 22 years at Southwest Airlines, where he led the Fuel Management and Procurement Departments. He began his career in the aviation industry in 1980 with Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) in San Diego and has supported strategic initiatives within the aviation fuel industry for over 30 years. Rob has been an active member with the A4A for most of those 30 years and a regular participant of the CAAFI Business Team. He earned his B.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Texas at Dallas in 1991.

R&D Team

Dr. Michael Lakeman

Dr. Michael Lakeman
Boeing, R&D Tri-Lead

Michael is Regional Director of Biofuels Strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes where he is responsible for helping to enable regional commercialization projects for sustainable aviation fuels, and performs due diligence on emerging biofuel feedstock technologies. Michael has over a decade of experience in plant and algae science and over four years of first-hand experience in the biofuel industry. He received his Ph.D from University of Washington.

Dr. Stephen Kramer

Dr. Stephen Kramer
Pratt & Whitney, R&D Tri-Lead

Dr. Stephen Kramer is the manager of Advanced Technology Group for the Combustors, Augmentors, and Nozzles at Pratt & Whitney. Dr. Kramer has over 14 years experience at Pratt and, prior to that, 9 years as a consultant in the field of combustion and fuels. He has over 10 patents and has won several P&W leadership awards. He received his BS, MS, and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University.

Dr. M. Gurhan Andac

Dr. M. Gurhan Andac
GE Aviation, R&D Tri-Lead

Dr. Andac currently holds a Senior Engineer/Technologist position in the Combustion Aero Technology & Design group at GE Aviation. His past responsibilities have centered on gas turbine combustor aerodynamic design and alternative fuels, encompassing the military, commercial, marine and industrial platforms. He is currently the leader for alternative fuels at GE Aviation Engineering. He has extensive engine/component testing and analysis experience with approved alternative fuels as well as with many current alternative fuel candidates. He received his Ph.D. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California, with combustion and fuels research specialization. Dr. Andac was recognized by GE as a finalist for the prestigious Brian H. Rowe Award for his efforts on alternative fuels.