Leadership

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

Administrative Leadership Team

Steve Csonka

Steve Csonka (2012 - present)
CAAFI Executive Director

Steve Csonka is a commercial aviation professional with 35+ years of broad airline, OEM, and fuels 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 sustainability—resulting in his current focus on alternative fuels and the work of CAAFI.

Prem Lobo

Dr. Prem Lobo
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Head Advisor for Strategy & Implementation

Prem is Head Advisor of CAAFI and provides management and strategy assistance to the Executive Director. He has over 20 years of experience in the aviation sector focused on fuels, technologies, and emissions. As the Energy Division Manager with the FAA’s Office of Environment and Energy, he responsible for managing a broad portfolio of research, development, and deployment projects associated with sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and novel energy sources to mitigate the environmental and climate impacts of aviation. His primary focus on SAF is on supply chain development, life cycle assessment, emissions, testing, analysis, and policy. He coordinates FAA’s engagement with SAF Grand Challenge interagency working group. Prem is a nominated member of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) Fuels Task Group where he co-leads the Technology, Production and Policy subgroup.

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 has led the development of the Freight and Fuel Transportation Optimization Tool (FTOT) and supports the FAA’s participation in the ICAO Alternative Fuels Task Force (AFTF). Kristin has also participated in analyses on assessing impacts of aircraft noise on National Park visitors, environmental implications of hydrokinetic energy technologies, and impacts of fracking on motor vehicle carrier crash incidences, among others.

Joe Ellsworth

Joe Ellsworth
Projects Director

Joe serves as a Projects Director responsible for crafting, leading, executing, and reporting on projects assigned by CAAFI’s Office of the Executive Director (OED). In addition to his work with CAAFI, Joe is Head of Business Development for Carbon Removal Solutions at Boeing and is responsible for developing new business opportunities directed at catalyzing carbon removal commercial scale-up. Prior to his current role, he was Head of Business Development for Sustainable Aviation Fuels at Boeing. Prior to that role, he served as a Patent Portfolio Manager on Boeing’s Intellectual Property Management team where he managed outside counsel in patent drafting and prosecution for materials, chemicals, and sustainable fuels. Prior to Boeing, he was a chemical patent attorney focused on biologics, pharmaceuticals, small molecules, catalysis, and fuels processing/upgrading. Joe has a PhD in chemistry from the University of South Carolina and his thesis focused on organic and inorganic synthesis of metal-organic frameworks for hydrogen storage and catalysis applications. He is an author/co-author on 18 peer reviewed publications.

Timothy Hughes

Timothy Hughes
Projects Director

Timothy joined the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) as a Projects Director in April 2024. Tim served as the Senior Trade Advisor for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) from 2019 through 2023. He moved to this position after serving three years as KDA’s Deputy Executive Director for the Office of Marketing and immediately before that the Director of Biofuels for the Kentucky Energy & Environment Cabinet. Prior to these roles, he served as the Senior Policy Analyst of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy where he also held various other roles in agricultural development since 2004. Tim and his wife Lori own TLC Farms in Simpson County. He is a graduate of Western Kentucky University where he also served as their farm manager in 2002 and 2003. Tim has served as the state chairman of two young farmer groups and has played leadership roles in various national farm organizations.

Peter Herzig

Peter Herzig
Volpe Center/U.S. DOT, CAAFI Program Specialist

Peter serves as CAAFI's Program Specialist providing a variety of technical and coordination support. Peter is an Environmental Protection Specialist with the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. In addition to his work with CAAFI, Peter provides geospatial analyses for a variety of transportation infrastructure projects, including taxiway analyses and FAA's unstaffed infrastructure. Prior to joining Volpe, Peter worked on a number of projects aimed at the corporate adoption of responsible business practices for a more sustainable global economy.

R&D Team

Dr. M. Gurhan Andac

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

Dr. Andac is the Engineering Leader for Aviation Fuels and Additives at GE Aviation. His past responsibilities have centered on gas turbine combustor aerodynamic design, fuels, and additives, encompassing the military, commercial, marine, and industrial platforms. He has extensive fuel testing and evaluation experience, and is deeply immersed in fuels certification, qualification, and specification development arenas. He holds M.S. and PhD Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California.

Joshua Heyne

Dr. Joshua Heyne
University of Dayton, R&D Co-Lead

Dr. Heyne is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Dayton, Ohio, where he works to ignite passion and make a difference in students and society. Over the last five years, Professor Heyne has focused on aligning efforts and delivering objective criteria to help streamline the approval process of alternative jet fuels as part of the National Jet Fuels Combustion Program’s (NJFCP) 40 institutions and 150 members. Outside of the NJFCP’s integration and coordination role, Professor Heyne has worked on drop-in high-performance fuel (HPF) formulation for SAFs as well as other more fundamental combustion problems. The long-term aim of all this work is to marshal greater environmental and national security. He holds four degrees from three institutions, including a BSE from the University of Dayton, an MS from Penn State, and a PhD from Princeton.

Dr. Stephen Kramer

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

Dr. Kramer manages Combustor Technology at Pratt & Whitney. He has over 21 years of experience at Pratt where he has been involved with the development of combustors for Pratt’s current military and commercial jet engines. His previous experience was as a consultant in the field of combustion and fuels. He has over 25 patents and has won several P&W leadership awards. He received his BS, MS, and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University.

Executive Director, Emeritus

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. He now collaborates with various CAAFI constituents and SAF project activities, but as an independent contractor.

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