Kevin Burke - Speaker Bio
Kevin M. Burke joined Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) as President and Chief Executive Officer in January of 2014. Since he joined ACI-NA, Burke has expanded ACI-NA’s reach and influence as the Voice of Airports® in North America by amplifying the important role airports play in our everyday lives, unifying the industry behind shared priorities, and advancing a common cause with non-traditional allies.
In addition to his proven government relations background and immense experience managing associations, Burke is a visionary leader who serves the airport industry as a passionate advocate for legislative and regulatory policies that strengthen the ability for airports to serve their passengers, customers, and communities.
Ben Minicucci - Speaker Bio
Ben Minicucci serves as president of Alaska Airlines and incoming CEO of Alaska Air Group, which carries over 45 million guests a year to more than 115 destinations on 1,300 daily flights across the U.S. and to Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica.
Minicucci will become CEO on March 31, 2021, succeeding Brad Tilden, who will retire.
As president of Alaska, Ben is responsible for both operations and commercial functions. He’s leading the execution of the company’s strategic plan including a focus on Alaska’s network, flight schedule, sales, revenue management, safety and operations, marketing and real estate.
Ben has contributed in various roles of increasing responsibility at Alaska since starting in 2004 when he joined the company as staff vice president of maintenance. He was promoted to president and chief operating officer in 2016.
Ben was named CEO of Virgin America Airlines upon Alaska Air Group’s acquisition of the company in December 2016 until the airlines merged under a single operating certificate in January 2018. He oversaw the integration of Alaska and Virgin America’s operations, processes and work groups, which is now nearing completion.
In 2007, Ben became the vice president of Seattle operations. He implemented an operational management process called the turn timeline which dramatically increased Alaska’s on-time performance and reliability. In 2009, he was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer. During this time, he directed the implementation of a customer service guiding framework which empowers employees to deliver personal and kind-hearted experiences to guests, recognizing their unique circumstances instead of being bound by rigid company policies.
Before joining Alaska Airlines, Ben spent seven years serving in a variety of roles at Air Canada’s technical operations and, ultimately, vice president of heavy maintenance. He served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 14 years prior to joining the private aviation sector.
Ben holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada. He’s currently on the board of directors for Alaska Air Group and the University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business Center for Leadership & Strategic Thinking.
Sara Nelson - Speaker Bio
Sara Nelson has served as the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO since 2014, and she is currently serving her second four year term. She first became a union member in 1996 when she was hired as a Flight Attendant at United Airlines and today she represents nearly 50,000 of aviation’s first responders at 17 airlines. The New York Times called her "America's most powerful flight attendant" for her role in helping to end the 35-day Government Shutdown and InStyle Magazine placed her on their 2019 Top 50 Badass Women list.
When COVID-19 decimated the airline industry this spring, Sara worked closely with Chairman Peter DeFazio, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, and more to secure the Payroll Support Program (PSP), the federal payroll grants that kept aviation workers employed and connected to healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic while banning stock buybacks and capping executive compensation through March 31, 2021. She also served on the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force as co-chair of the Economy Task Force with Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), during the 2020 Presidential Election.
Sara has served as a leading voice on issues facing women in the workplace and across the country, encouraging women everywhere to "Join Unions, Run Unions." In addition to the New York Times, CBS Sunday Morning, The Nation, The New Republic, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Salon, and PBS Newshour have featured her work.
Sara is passionate about AFA's continued mission to achieve fair compensation, job security, and improved quality of life for aviation's first responders as well as a safe, healthy and secure aircraft cabin for passengers and crew alike. She believes Flight Attendants can play a pivotal role in strengthening the Labor Movement with more public contact than almost any other job and access to every corner of the earth.
Sara grew up in Corvallis, Oregon and earned a bachelor's degree from Principia College with majors in English and Education. She resides in the DC area with her husband, David Borer and son Jack.
Phil LeBeau - Speaker Bio
Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based at the network's Chicago bureau. LeBeau has reported one-hour documentaries for the network, including "Dreamliner: Inside the World's Most Anticipated Airplane," "Ford: Rebuilding an American Icon" and "Saving General Motors" and "Failure to Recall: Investigating GM," which won a 2014 Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) Award.
Previously, he held general assignment reporting positions at KCNC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Denver, and KAKE-TV, the ABC affiliate in Wichita, Kan. LeBeau began his career as a field producer at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, where he wrote, produced and researched consumer stories. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism with a bachelor's degree in journalism and broadcasting.