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JoAnn Painter, President
A love of aviation and the welcoming opportunity to build hangars, start a business, and fly airplanes brought JoAnn Painter to the Mojave Airport in 1980, where she owned and operated a flight school, Jowen Aviation, for several years. JoAnn’s background includes property and business management, real estate and aircraft sales, and flight instruction. She holds FAA ratings as an Airline Transport Pilot, Certified Flight Instructor (airplane and glider) and an Airplane and Powerplant Mechanic; as well as an Aerospace Technology Degree earned in the Antelope Valley. Serving as Board Director since 1998 and seeing the growth in the District and Mojave Air and Space Port has been an exciting and rewarding experience.
Dick Rutan, Vice President
Dick Rutan received both his solo pilot’s license and driver’s license on his sixteenth birthday. But it was Voyager Aircraft’s non-stop and un-refueled flight around the world in December of 1986 that placed him in the history books. Four days following the historic flight of the Voyager, President Ronald Reagan awarded Dick the Presidential Citizen’s Medal of Honor. Since Voyager’s world flight, Dick has been traveling the world on the lecture circuit, telling his tale of adventure.
More about Dick Rutan at DickRutan.com.
Marie Walker, Secretary
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fiberset Incorporated since 1980, Ms. Walker operates her growing composite manufacturing company at the Mojave Air and Space Port. Specializing in five product lines employing a growing staff of 35. An active member of the business community of East Kern, where she received federal recognition as the NASA Woman Owned Small Business of the Year Award and Special Recognition from the Kern County Board of Supervisors and Congressman Bill Thomas.
Known for her abounding energy and focus on youth career development, Ms. Walker has been instrumental in founding the Mojave High School Engineering Academy and is the founder of the Mojave Unified School District’s Intermediate Space Challenge (ISC) annual competition modeled after the Ansari X Prize.
An alumni of Mojave High School Ms. Walker resides in Mojave with her two sons, Cody and Tyler.
Jim Balentine, Treasurer
Jim was born in Mojave, CA and grew up working in his father’s grocery store. He graduated from Mojave High School in 1973 and began flying light aircraft at the age of 14. At the age of 17 he earned his private license. In the 1970′s Jim began a career in CB radio installation and repair along with towing gliders and sailplanes. Currently Jim owns two RADIO Shack stores and continues with Jim’s C.B. Radio and Electronics. Jimmy was elected to the EKAD Board of Directors in 1994. Jimmy is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys living in Mojave with his wife, Elizabeth and their three children, Jeremy, Julie and Jacob.
Dr. Allen L. (AL) Peterson was born and raised in the midwest where he achieved success in academics, athletics, the arts, and was an Eagle Scout. He was selected to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1982. Over his twenty plus year Army career that followed, Dr. Peterson served in numerous assignments including the Commander of an Apache Attack Helicopter Unit, an Experimental Test Pilot at Edwards AFB, the Exchange Test Pilot to Her Majesty’s Forces in the United Kingdom, the Chief Test Pilot of the Aviation Applied Test Directorate, and an Assistant Project Manager for the Apache Helicopter. In his spare time he earned a Master of Science in Systems Management and Doctor of Science in Management of Engineering and Technology. Retiring from the Army in 2002, Dr. Peterson joined the Sierra Nevada Corporation where he served in numerous positions ranging from Test Pilot to Director to Vice President. Dr. Peterson joined the National Test Pilot School (NTPS) in 2011 and was appointed as the President and CEO of NTPS by the Board of Trustees in July 2011. Dr. Peterson has numerous FAA qualifications, has worked on over 80 flight test programs, and is an Associate Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. Additional information about Dr. Peterson can be found at www.ntps.edu
Born in Bakersfield, California and raised in Onyx. Graduate of KV High School, 1970 & 1974 Graduate of California State University Northridge; 1997 Graduate of the Naval Aviation Schools Command; 1980 Graduate of the Naval Fighter Weapons School; (TOPGUN) and 1996 Graduate of the University of Maryland’s Center for Creative Leadership. His military career took him to sea as a carrier based F-14 Tomcat pilot with VF-14 and as an FA-18A project pilot at the Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake California.
Post Navy, 1985, Stuart joined Westinghouse Electric Corporation, currently Northrop Grumman, for nearly nine years as an Engineering Test Pilot on the B-1B, F-16C and F-23. Stuart joined CTA as a Program Manager in 1993 where he managed a $100M Range Development contract. After successfully completing this project and winning the follow-on competition, Stuart was promoted to Vice President/Western Region Director, then to Executive Vice President, Director of CTA’s nationwide State and Commercial practice.
In 2004, Mojave Spaceport was designated the nation’s first inland spaceport and played host to the world as Scaled Composites qualified and won the $10M Ansari XPrize at Mojave Spaceport and furthermore gave birth to the first man rated commercial space program in the world. These efforts have generated commendations by California’s Governor Schwarzenegger, along with the State Assembly and State Senate, Kern County’s Board of Supervisors and Congressman Bill Thomas.
Stuart is married to the former Susan Etoch and resides in Ridgecrest, California. They have three grown sons.
Stuart is Trustee, representing area 2, on the Kern Community College Board of Trustees, a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and a founding member and Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.