Keynote Speakers

Burt Rutan
Aerospace Legend

Aerospace entrepreneur and Virgin Galactic spacecraft designer Burt Rutan was described by Newsweek as “the man responsible for more innovations in modern aviation than any living engineer.” A bold visionary with a passion for the advancement of technology, he founded the aerospace research firm Scaled Composites and was named one of “the world’s 100 most influential people” by TIME. Rutan designed the legendary Voyager, the first aircraft to circle the world nonstop without refueling. He also created SpaceShipOne, the world’s first privately funded spacecraft, which won the $10 million Ansari X Prize, offered in an effort to spur the development of affordable space tourism. Rutan is currently working on two projects: the Stratolaunch — part airplane, part spaceship — with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and the SkiGull, an amphibious aircraft that runs on the same gas we use for cars and boats.

Mark Baker
President, AOPA

Mark Baker is a longtime general aviation (GA) pilot and only the fifth president in the 75-year history of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Prior to his appointment at AOPA, Baker served in numerous senior executive roles, including chief operating officer at Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, president and CEO of outdoor outfitter Gander Mountain Company, and chief merchandizing officer and executive vice president for The Home Depot. Most recently, he served as CEO of Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp., a leading retailer of home improvement and garden products.

Scott Shappell
Professor and Chair, Department of Human Factors and Systems
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Dr. Shappell is currently a Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Factors and Systems at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Before joining the faculty at ERAU in the fall of 2012, Dr. Shappell was professor of Industrial Engineering at Clemson University from 2005-2012. Before that, he was the Human Factors Research Branch Manager at the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. In addition, he has served over 16 years in the U.S. Navy as an Aerospace Experimental Psychologist. He has published/presented well over 200 papers, books, and presentations in the fields of accident investigation, system safety, spatial disorientation, sustained operations and fatigue. Dr. Shappell received a B.S. in psychology (1983) from Wright State University graduating Summa Cum Laude with honors in psychology and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1990.

John A. Kuhn

CEO/ Global Insurance, Sompo International Insurance

John “Jack” Kuhn is the Chief Executive Officer, Global Insurance, of Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sompo Holdings, Inc. He is responsible for the company’s U.S., Bermuda and London Market insurance operations, a role he has served in since joining the company in November 2012. Throughout his 29 year tenure in the insurance industry, Mr. Kuhn has built and led successful specialty insurance operations in the U.S. and internationally and has served in multiple senior underwriting and management roles. He is a former member of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society Board of Trustees and holds a BA degree from Wesleyan University.