Dr. P. Barry Butler
President, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Dr. Vascar Harris
Professor of Aerospace and Science Engineering, Tuskegee University

Beth Powell
Board Advisor, Sisters of the Skies, and First Officer, American Airlines

Annie B. Andrews
Assistant Administrator for Human Resource Management, Federal Aviation Administration

Dr. P. Barry Butler - Speaker Bio

In 2017, P. Barry Butler became the sixth president of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s leading institution of higher education focusing on aviation and aerospace. 

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers more than 100 bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering, and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates more than 34,000 students annually at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona, through the Worldwide Campus at more than 135 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and through online programs.  

Under his presidency, Embry-Riddle continues to expand discovery-driven degree programs and its research park is home to new aerospace patents, technology transfer and startups. Butler has encouraged collaboration with industry, resulting in expedited hiring initiatives with leading aviation and aerospace industries. He is expanding the university’s interest in aviation cybersecurity, aviation data analytics and autonomous vehicles. The university also created new partnerships to prime the aviation/aerospace pipeline. 

As a strong advocate for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, Butler supports a dual-enrollment program with the Gaetz Aerospace Institute. The institute offers more than 40 university courses to students in 84 Florida high schools. At the Arizona Campus, the STEM Education Center serves as a hub of enrichment for students, faculty, researchers and the community. 

Previously, Butler was Executive Vice President and Provost of the University of Iowa. He was responsible for more than 100 academic programs in 11 colleges. For ten years, he served as Dean of the College of Engineering. 

Butler is on the board of the Hoover Presidential Foundation and The Wings Club. He is a member of The Civic League of the Halifax Area. He is a private and glider pilot. 

He earned three degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: a bachelor’s and master’s in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.

Dr. Vascar Harris - Speaker Bio

Vascar G. Harris is a professor in the department of aerospace science engineering at Tuskegee University. In 1974 he received a Ph.D. in Mechanics, an M.E.S. in Mechanics in 1965, and his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1962—all from Johns Hopkins University.

His began his career in 1974 at Howard University’s School of Engineering as an associate professor. He then became associate dean of the school in 1980.  In 1982, he became the Dean of the School of Engineering and Architecture at Institute now Tuskegee University where he served until 1992. He worked as a professor in the Aerospace Science/Mechanical Engineering department since 1982 and served as the department head from 2002-2011.

Dr. Harris’ areas of profession are within stochastic processes, turbulence, energy efficiency and propulsion, university linkage programs with secondary schools and other colleges and organizations: Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) “Preparation for Tomorrow”; (Freshman Accelerated Start-up Training for Retention in the Engineering Curriculum (FASTREC)) at Tuskegee University; capacity building and housing in Republic of South Africa and hurricane resistant housing.

Dr. Harris is a published engineer and has presented at several professional conferences. He has served as a consultant for the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and currently holds part-time adjunct faculty positions at the University of Fort Hare in Alice, Eastern Cape, South Africa and Kansas State University. He also served in the U. S. Naval Reserve as Captain.

Beth Powell - Speaker Bio

Jamaican-born Integrated Operations Duty Pilot, Beth Powell, recalls her mother’s dream for her three daughters to have a better life and education, and her dad’s attitude and positive outlook in life.  

In the parish of St. Mary, Jamaica, where she was raised, First Officer Powell broke that mold with the assistance of her parents. Her first step was completing high school at the age of 16, whilst also taking her first solo flight. She obtained her private pilot license at 17 and her commercial license at 18. By 19, she graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Aeronautics and a Minor in Aviation Safety. At 21, she was hired by American Eagle, eventually becoming a captain on the ATR42/72 and EMB. 

In the year 2014, Beth achieved her goal and joined American Airlines as a First Officer on the B737. This move was a joyous achievement for both Powell and her late mother. Her mother inspired her to attain her goals and to dream big. This encouraged her to give back to others who were told their lives would be ordinary and stick to the status quo. In 2015, Powell started a scholarship to mentor children in aviation in honor of her mother. 

Her message today is “Know what you want at a young age. You will discover this based on the activities and subjects that you are passionate about. Dream big and dream loud then set your goal. Your passion will propel you through your journey. And in the end”, the saying is true – “you will never feel you worked a day in your life because you are doing what you absolutely love.” 

Powell understands the purpose of hard work and has graciously reaped the rewards. She stands here today an island girl with nothing, but a dream and has risen as one of the first African-American female pilots in management with American Airlines. 

Annie B. Andrews - Speaker Bio

Annie B. Andrews is the Assistant Administrator for Human Resource Management at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). With a mission: “We take care of the people who make it safe to fly,” the Office of Human Resource Management engages in strategic partnerships across the FAA to provide personnel recruitment, retention, and accession; employee accountability, employee relations and labor relations; career and leadership development; employee compensation, benefits, and worklife; and workers compensation services to over 44,000 federal personnel across the nation. 

Under her executive leadership, her office has increased cross organization efficiencies by enacting a collaborative-shared services in the areas of workers compensation and learning management systems with other modes in the Department of Transportation; launched improved employees services systems in the Benefits Operations Center; and initiated efforts to shape the future FAA workforce through innovative Strategic Workforce Planning and Succession Planning programs. She is also leading efforts to enhance the nation’s aviation workforce through Diversity Recruitment efforts and initiatives to encourage the growth of women and youth in aviation. Her organization is also actively exploring the use of Robotic Process Automation and other efforts to streamline paperwork and processes.   

A retired rear admiral, Ms. Andrews is the third African American female to achieve this rank in the United States Navy. Her distinguished naval career is highlighted with previous roles including: commanding officer of Boston Military Entrance Processing Station, Navy Recruiting District San Francisco, and Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes; Chief of the Requirements Branch & Joint Manpower Planner for the Washington D.C. Joint Chiefs of Staff; Executive Assistant & Naval Aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower & Reserve Affairs; and Senior Fellow on the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group at the Naval War College. 

Ms. Andrews’ 32-year naval service culminated as the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command. As the Navy’s top recruiter and principle advisor to the Chief of Naval Personnel on recruitment strategy and objectives, she led recruitment efforts for officer and enlisted programs in both the Active Duty and Reserve components. 

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Savannah State University, a Master of Science in Management from Troy State University, a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Command and Staff; she is also a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College. She has been conferred honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from both Wilson College in Pennsylvania and Savannah State University. 

Ms. Andrews has received multiple awards and honors including the: 2014 “Stars & Stripes” Honors for Leadership; 2015 Savannah State University Award of Excellence for Noteworthy Leadership; 2015 Women of Color Lifetime Achievement; 2016 Court of Honor of “Distinguished Daughters” of the Philadelphia High School for Girls Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award; 2017 Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Trail Blazer Award; and in 2018 Ms. Andrews was inducted into the  National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame for outstanding achievement in Government and Law.