In Recognition of Leadership

The 2011 Ground Support Leaders of the Year awards acknowledged five individuals for their contributions to the industry.


Great leadership deserves a nod — not only to commend the individual but to inspire others. 

In an effort to recognize and inspire the GSE community, Ground Support Worldwide presented the Leaders of the Year awards at Cygnus Aviation Expo in Las Vegas. Nominations were submitted by the industry and voted upon by our editorial advisory board. Held during a luncheon at the convention center, five individuals were recognized for the contributions.

And this year’s recipients are…

Safety Leader of the Year: for a person or company who has introduced a new method, procedure or product to improve industry safety records

Don Redwine, reliability analyst, Southwest Airlines

Don Redwine envisioned a career in aviation at a young age. “On my first flight in the early 1970s, I informed my mother I would be in this business somehow,” he says. “It was just way too cool.” He has since spent 26 years in the industry, which initially began at Horton Aero Service in Lubbock Texas in 1978 where he was an apprentice A&P for three years. He then worked outside aviation before returning in1988 as a production painter at E.B.A. in Texas, where he eventually became a production manager building small-scale GSE for corporate and commuter markets. Redwine then took on the position of field service technician when E.B.A was acquired by DevTec. When the company became known as TLD, Redwine led a team of field service technicians that covered North and Central America, as well as English-speaking countries in the Pacific Rim.

Redwine transitioned into an airline career with Southwest in 2005 as a reliability analyst. He has since become involved in many aspects of airline ground safety, sitting in on several internal committees and groups focused on safety and reducing injuries. He has also been involved in the SAE G12 and AGE2 groups and the ANSI A92.7 working group. Redwine also has responsibility for creating and facilitating safety/technical training programs for the Southwest GSE group worldwide.

Introducing him at the reception, Rick Waugh, regional GSE manager at Southwest, says Redwine “does a tremendous job of working with our end users of our equipment.” He adds, “He explains the error in their rationale at times, or gives credit where credit is due when they come up with something that has merit.”

Redwine says, “I owe much of my success to the exceedingly competent group of people I have the pleasure of working with here at Southwest Airlines.”

Engineer/Innovator Leader of the Year: For a company or a person who has introduced a revolutionary product

Gene Velazquez, president and founder, One Mile Up Inc.  

Gene Velazquez is president and founder of One Mile Up Inc., a software company that has developed graphic solutions. In 1998 the company stepped into the aviation market, developing software to for aircraft interior rendering, paint scheme design, instrument panel layout, and also a software program for parking and stacking of aircraft called Hangar & Ramp Planner. One Mile Up’s Hangar & Ramp Planner was designed for better planning of aircraft parking to improve both profits and safety.

According to Velazquez, about 500 companies have purchased the software to assist in parking of aircraft. In 2010, One Mile Up implemented a beta testing site at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colo., for a new web-based version of Hangar & Ramp Planner.

Introducing Velazquez at the reception, Mike Zimpel of Vail Valley Jet Center spoke about the benefits of the program. “Valle Valley Jet Center uses the One Mile Up Hangar Planner as a helpful tool for planning aircraft moves, ramp and hangar stacking,” he says. “We look forward to the latest version and improved levels of safety and efficiency this will bring.”

Green Leader of the Year: for a person or a company who has introduced environmentally friendly equipment or processes

Ryan Gibson, GSE general manager at AeroVironment Inc.

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