Meet Our Executive Team!
We Are An Equal Opportunity Employer.
Barry is the creator and visionary leader of Avatar Airlines. As a successful entrepreneur, Barry has over forty years of business experience starting, running, and assisting others in numerous ventures & successful businesses across the country, some spanning the entire globe. Barry has spent the last 27 years of his life in practical observation and study of the domestic aviation market, with a focus on “low cost” airline models.
Barry started his career as a Doctor of Chiropractic in 1969 after earning his degree from the New York College of Chiropractic. He returned to school and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science (2005) and a Master of Public Administration degree (2007) from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Barry has been a candidate for the U.S. Senate and Congress as well as a frequent speaker at numerous airlines shows since 1993.
As Chief Executive Officer, Barry is responsible for vetting and providing the day-to-day leadership to Avatar’s c-level executives, identifying the myriad of issues Avatar faces as a startup airline, providing solutions and strategies, implementing numerous independent and parallel processes to ensure Avatar will meet the managerial, operational, financial and compliance requirements of the DOT to achieve certification.
Michael E. Zapin
Michael Zapin has been involved in Avatar Airlines for the past eight years, presently serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. Michael is admitted to practice law before the federal and state courts of New York and Florida, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
In his law practice, Michael is a staunch advocate of consumer and civil rights. A creative negotiator, litigator and transactional attorney, Michael has applied his skillset in helping to develop “win-win” scenarios for Avatar’s future passengers, strategic partners, and investors. Michael believes his “deal-making-not-deal-breaking” philosophy will help Avatar become a pioneering force in the new frontier of “truly low fare” air travel.
Randall “Randy” Lumia is a strategic, trusted, business-focused, and action-oriented Business Executive with over 35 years of experience in managing complex business issues with organization-wide and global implications. He has held leadership roles in privately held and publicly owned organizations experiencing change, whether through growth, transition, or strategy realignment. His broad and diverse background with demonstrated experience and successes in many facets of business activities, has been in domestic and foreign-owned multinational companies.
Randy’s most recent role was as the President, COO and People and Business Strategy Practice Lead at Paradise Workplace Solutions, LLC based in Jupiter, Florida. There, he assisted companies with meeting their business goals through Business and Management Consulting and meeting the companies People and Business Strategy needs. He worked with business leaders using his inquisitive fact-finding, pragmatic problem-solving, and fiscal discipline skills in a collaborative, responsible and compliant manner. He has been applying both tactical and strategic business solutions to help business leaders and owners resolve unmet business needs.
Prior to his involvement with Paradise Workplace Solutions, Randy held various positions of increasing responsibility where he has managed staffs in both Manufacturing Operations and Human Resources at C.R. Bard, Inc., CardioNet, BASF, American Cyanamid, and Novartis Pharmaceuticals, among others.
As Avatar’s VP of Culture and Organizational Efficiency, he will be working closely with the Avatar management team to skillfully craft and guide the evolution of a diverse Avatar culture, while pragmatically working to assure that the organization focuses on performance and efficiencies while assuring compliance in all aspects of the business.
He will also be exercising his leadership and management skills garnered in many Fortune 50 companies, and his broad-based experiences in domestic and global companies, towards leading the functions of Human Resources and Risk Management in addition to other staff related functions.
Randy has a unique educational background with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from The College of New Jersey and a Master of Science in Management / Human Resources from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
He is a Senior Certified Professional by the Society for Human Resources Management (CSP-SHRM) and has also been certified by the HR Certification Institute as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).
Randy has been recognized as an expert witness in the area of Human Resources by the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
Randy has a passion for helping and mentoring students and junior professionals as demonstrated by his support of the LeaderShape® Program, where he has been a guest speaker numerous times, and, with his past involvement with Junior Achievement, where he was both a classroom instructor as well as a regional JA Board member. He is also a Certified Mentor by SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives), a branch of the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), where he assists and mentors’ individuals with small business start-ups and management.
Randy has been an active member in the communities in which he has worked and lived. These volunteer activities include being both an Alumni Board and Foundation Board member for the College of New Jersey for over 20 years, where he has served multiple leadership level terms as Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson for the Foundation Board. He has also served on numerous Foundation Board committees, including, the Finance, Investment, Audit and Governance Committees. His dedication and commitment were recently acknowledged by the college with the TCNJ Distinguished Alumni Award.
Randy is a dedicated father/stepfather to a total of 5 grown children. Randy, and his wife, Susan Lyn O’Connor, reside in Jupiter, FL.
Graham has been involved in the aviation world for more than 40 years. Prior to Graham’s 20 plus year commercial career, he served in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for more than 18 years. During those years, Graham enjoyed both flying and ground/management roles. In his commercial career, Graham has flown almost every B747 model, from the “Classic” B747-200 through to the B747-8I and F versions. Graham has accrued more than 17,000 flight hours the majority during his 24-year time on the Boeing 747.
Graham has a long history in aviation education and training, starting in the RAAF in 1985 and continuing throughout his commercial aviation career. Graham has also gained experience in project management, flight testing, flight safety and Boeing performance engineering.
Graham has a Graduate Degree in Applied Science – Aero Systems as accredited by the Australian Capital Territory Accreditation Agency. He also has additional tertiary qualifications in administration and vocational instruction.
Kevin Walls is a licensed architect with substantial aviation design and construction experience during his 16 years with Ogden Corporation working directly with operations personnel finding creative solutions that increase productivity and increases customer satisfaction. Kevin was the Principal Architect at the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta steering a $6 billion capital program including the new international terminal. Kevin has been involved in projects that support the aviation efforts in retail, dining, infrastructure and moving large amounts of people.
Kevin graduated with a Bachelor’s in Architecture from the University of Nebraska with a major in Architecture and has been licensed to practice since 1979. He is NCARB certified and is a LEED Accredited Professional. He has been licensed in 22 states.
Dan J. Eikleberry
Dan Eikleberry is a retired United Airlines B-747-400 captain with more than 20,000 hours of flight experience. He has flown for commercial airlines, United States military, private aviation, flight test and experimental aviation. He also has flight operations management experience with airline and FAA offices, including dispatch, load planning, customer and onboard services, and gate and cargo handling.
Dan received his BS from the United States Air Force Academy in 1968 with majors in Aeronautical Engineering, Astronautical Engineering, Computer Sciences, Physics, and Engineering Sciences; and an MBA from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University as Master of Aviation Management in 1985.
Ankur is a global airline finance and revenue management professional having worked in various airlines around the world. He has a passion for low cost carriers and the mechanisms implemented to result in cost savings. Ankur has worked for IndiGo airlines in India, Emirates airline in Dubai and Spirit airlines in USA. Ankur has also worked in ICF (erstwhile SH&E), a management consulting firm specializing in airlines.
Ankur has also worked on several business projects for start-up airlines and has also worked on the IPO of one airline. Ankur has a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas El Paso and an MBA in Finance from the University of Texas Austin.
Elizabeth Abelairas is a driven, empathetic, trusted, visionary, “big picture” strategic thinking business executive with over 25 years of experience in leading organization-wide technology and business alignment efforts focused on the organization’s competitive edge, business operations, and voice-of-the-customer.
She has held leadership roles in government, privately held and publicly owned organizations through periods of growth, transition, mergers, acquisitions and/or strategy realignment. Elizabeth’s most recent role was as the Director of Information Technology for UnitedHealthcare in Minnetonka, Minnesota. There she led a team of both state and non-state-side professionals to help the organization meet the business goals applying both tactical and strategic business solutions. She is a servant-leader who uses emotional intelligence, continuous mentoring, and the rooting of a safe “failing forward” practice to encourage innovation. Her keen ability to identify areas that technology alignment would enhance business operations has proven time-after-time to be an intuitive success. In addition, her track record of success has been reinforced by the application of Lean-Agile principles, attracting/retaining of high-caliber talent, and encouragement of professional growth at all levels. She has a strong belief that you are only as good as the whole team!
Elizabeth has a broad educational background; a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis on Management Information Systems, as well as, a Bachelor of Business Administration with a triple major in International Business, Management, and Marketing all from Florida International University. She is a Certified Project Management Professional by the Project Management Institute. Elizabeth holds a Scaled Agile Framework Certification by Scaled Agile, Inc. She is an Amazon Web Services Certified Cloud Practitioner earned from Amazon Web Services.
Elizabeth has been an active member in the communities in which she has worked and lived. These volunteer activities include feeding the homeless, assisting with animal food preparation at Monkey Jungle, and assisting her elderly neighbors in installing and removing shutters during hurricane season.
Elizabeth takes pride in having a balanced work/family lifestyle. She is a dedicated mother of an amazing son, wife, and has three dogs. She considers herself to be a foodie and plans every vacation event based on where she would like to have as culinary experience. Elizabeth resides with her family in Miami, Florida.
As Avatar’s VP of Information Technology, she will be working closely with the management team to identify technology solutions that will support the business operations while having the flexibility to support the evolution of Avatar’s culture and customer base. Her top priorities will be to design an adaptive infrastructure and develop an agile workforce that can quickly adapt to consumer wants and needs by utilizing available Internet of Things and artificial intelligence technology that are crucial to the survival of today’s organizations. She will be exercising her leadership and management skills garnered in many Fortune 50 companies, and her broad-based experiences in voice-of-the-customer towards leading the functions of technology for the organization.
Francine has 27 years serving in leadership positions in human resources, operations, marketing and finance in the federal government and private industry with most of her career in the aviation industry.Francine retired from NASA in 2020 as the Deputy Director of Human Resources at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Before joining NASA, she worked for the US Department of Agriculture in Washington DC where she was the HR Officer and Assistant to the Administrator for the Risk Management Agency. Prior to these federal government positions, she held several leadership positions in private industry.
Francine was the Vice President of Human Resources for Flying Food Group headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to that position, she worked for US Airways from 1996-2005 where she was the Director of Dining & Cabin Services responsible for the worldwide catering operations, and also held positions as the Manager of Inflight Sales and the Manager of Business Processes & Finance. Francine also held positions as the Director of Customer Service, Pricing Manager, and Human Resources & Organizational Development Manager for Caterair International, which was the largest airline caterer in the world.
Dr. Smith was also an Adjunct Professor for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for 15 years teaching undergraduate HR and management classes at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. She holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Aviation Business Management, an MBA in Aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a BS in Human Resources Management.
Brian Williamson has over 20 years of experience in strategy, leadership, customer relationship management and multi-channel marketing. He has served as a Senior Strategy Consultant for a subsidiary of AARP, creating data & analytic products/solutions and has technical expertise in the areas of: Database Marketing, Advanced Analytics, Multi- channel (Mail, Email, Targeted Display, Website Personalization, Social Media, SEO, & Mobile) platforms, and Agency Business Development.
Mr. Williamson brings his professional skillset as Avatar’s data and database expert, to manage Avatar’s data with knowledge and application of relevant regulations with a goal of maximizing the value of Avatar’s customer data.
As Vice President of Finance, Ivan Drusc joins Avatar Airlines with almost 15 years of experience in the Finance sector. Mr. Drusc has served in Finance as Chief Financial Officer, Controller and Analyst roles as well as many others. Mr. Drusc brings experience from many different industries.
Ivan is a seasoned accounting and finance professional with proven track record from various industries. He performed as a key player in businesses ranging in size from startup to a global publicly traded company. His efforts in cost cutting and risk mitigation brought significant improvements to the bottom line. Often quick to assess the problematic areas and bottlenecks, Ivan delivers actionable information that is ready to be executed upon. His success in leadership is due to practicing these main standards: Innovation – Accountability – Integrity.
Mr. Drusc’s experience will play a substantial role as he works to build the Finance team at Avatar Airlines as well as the policies, procedures, and fiduciary controls.
John has over 30 years of airline industry professional experience. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. John also attended Graduate school at the University of Maine, Orono.
Having lived and traveled abroad for 9 years in Europe, he began his aviation career in West Berlin, Germany in 1985.
Upon his return to the USA, he joined Continental Airlines in January of 1987, working in all aspects of airline operations. In 1990 John joined the Cargo Division of Continental Airlines, where he became a leader in the Cargo Sales Department.
While there, John developed a reputation, nationwide and globally, for his impeccable work ethic, innovative work style, and as an expert in several specialty cargo products. He had a dramatic positive impact on cargo revenue consistently year after year while in this role. John’s enormous contribution to help Continental Airlines Cargo become a world class cargo carrier is legendary.
After a 30 plus year career, John retired in late 2017. In 2018 John joined a cargo vendor as General Manager in West Palm Beach, FL. John Joined Avatar Airlines in August 2019.
John is a dedicated family man with an extensive family located in several parts of the USA and Canada
David Marcus is an accomplished and innovative executive who has consistently combined strategic thought, partnership development skills, experience, and insights to deliver value to corporate partners and clients. David has 25 years of experience in the travel industry, most recently working as a vice president for ABC Global Services, a provider of support solutions for business and leisure travel agencies. In addition to leading ABC’s sales and account management teams, David launched and built out a start-up division called hotelCONNEX Strategic Solutions, which delivers customized hotel programs for corporate clients.
Before joining ABC, David was a Director at American Express’ Global Business Consulting (GBC) division leading travel and expense management consulting engagements for corporate clients supporting their air, hotel, and car rental programs. David also held several management roles in American Express’ Global Supplier Relations group where he focused on deepening relationships with American Express’ airline and hotel partners throughout the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. His responsibilities included revenue management, revenue and contract optimization, business development and new revenue stream development. David is noted for developing ROI-driven supplier value propositions that were described by AmEx airline and hotel partners as “miles ahead of the competition.”
Before joining American Express, David was Managing Editor for Business Travel News. He earned degrees in Political Science and International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces.
Mike has extensive sales experience with luxury products and automobile components. He has been recognized for strong sales management and execution, marketing innovation, building strategic business relationships, and his ability to empower highly engaged employees, which increases sales, profitability, market position, quality, and customer satisfaction.
Currently, Mike’s expertise is utilized across Avatar’s varied departments. He provides key input in the development of Avatar’s messaging, he coordinates high level meetings with Avatar’s potential strategic partners, he is a team educator of sales strategy, and will be a point of contact for individual high net worth (accredited) investors to obtain information about Avatar’s investment opportunities.
Glenn E. Wichinsky
Glenn Wichinsky is a Gaming and Business Law Attorney based in Boca Raton, Florida. As a licensed attorney in the states of Florida and Nevada, his legal and business practice guides, assists, and advises domestic and international companies in their development and successful entry of their company and products into new markets of the global gaming industry.
Glenn attended the University of Miami where he was conferred a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. He thereafter attended the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California while also working as a Legislative Assistant for the Majority Floor Leader of the California Assembly in the California Legislature.
Upon being conferred his Juris Doctor degree from the McGeorge School of Law, he decided to specialize his legal practice in the newly developing field of Gaming Law. Having a gaming business background as a second-generation Gaming Executive prior to entering law school, Glenn fashioned his practice to provide legal and business guidance to his clients who seek to expand their product market base and seek successful entry in new international markets while doing so in strict compliance with gaming laws and regulations which govern licensed land based and online gaming activities in targeted gaming and business jurisdictions.
During his accomplished career as a Gaming Industry Executive and Gaming Law Attorney, Glenn has realized notable success and achievements and a positive recognized reputation while working with public and private gaming companies as their President, General Counsel, Director, Compliance Officer and in International Business Marketing and Development to meet and exceed their corporate goals and objectives. He also successfully operated and managed two licensed casinos in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada and has been a licensed manufacturer, distributor, and operator of electronic gaming equipment in the State of Nevada. His client following is international in scope including representation of corporate clients based in North America, Central and South America, Europe, China, India, and Southeast Asia.
Glenn is an author of numerous published industry articles including “Ethics in the Gaming Industry” and “The Casino Gaming Industry – A Generational Perspective,” among other publications. He also authored one of the earliest studies on the subject of legalized gaming and its economic impact upon communities with his published work in 1975 entitled, “Legalized Gambling as a Means of Solving Some Fiscal Urban Problems.” Glenn has been invited to speak and has presented before many professional Gaming Law forums and conferences sponsored by the American Bar Association.
Glenn is a long term invited member of the International Masters of Gaming Law and is also a member of the Adjunct Faculty at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law teaching Gaming Law and Regulation to law students of his former law school alma mater.
Glenn is an AV Rated Preeminent Attorney as recognized by Martindale-Hubbell.
Brian Eichelhart has combined experience in the legal, human resources and risk management fields. As an HR Consultant, Brian handled testing and evaluation for quality assurance and job satisfaction. He is well-versed and can educate in matters of safety improvement, customer service delivery, workplace harassment sensitivity training, bullying and violence. Brian has also conducted blind audits of random Performance Appraisals to assess results for organizational risks.
Brian has a situational awareness as to the kinds of conduct and circumstances in a workplace environment that can lead to unwanted legal consequences, and how best to avoid them in the first place. His knowledge and experiences will help Avatar to implement its employee handbook and other administrative policies on a company-wide basis. Brian will proactively lead the implementation of prevention-focused risk and safety programs, establish risk and safety objectives including sexual harassment prevention and professional development, develop and effectively communicate to leadership risk and safety strategies and interface with regulatory bodies (OSHA, DOT, Homeland Security) as well as State and local agencies.
Tommy has been flying heavy transport airplanes for over 35 years. Prior to commercial flying, he operated the C141 aircraft in the USAF for 10 years. He has accumulated over 15,000 flight hours with many airlines in regions throughout the world, of which 5000+ hours have been on the B747 aircraft as Flight Standards or Line Captain in both cargo and passenger operations. He has logged another 3000+ flight simulator hours of instruction and evaluation.
With a strong background in Flight Standards in the USAF and with various Part 121 Air Carriers or Part 142 Training Centers, he has also formulated or revised operating manuals at many airlines, to include the addition of new aircraft at startup operations.
Juan is a seasoned bilingual advertising, marketing, and branding, specialist. He has worked in the advertising and marketing field since 1991. He has worked with well known worldwide advertising agencies like, Ogilvy, Young & Rubicam, and Havas in Colombia, South America.
He has also led sales teams, as well as all the marketing and branding background for Mobile companies and Geofence technology. As an advertiser, Juan was honored with 3 Anda awards in Direct Marketing and Public Relations categories, currently known as EFFIE Awards.
Juan has a passion for teaching, helping and mentoring students and has worked as an Adjunct Professor for more than 20 years in well-known local universities in Colombia as Universidad de la Sabana, Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Universidad Central, Universidad Católica de Manizales, Politécnico Gran Colombiano, and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.
Juan moved to the United States in 2019 as he calls “a leap of faith” and has a deep passion for music, drums, and photography.
Juan has strong advertising experiences to leverage corporate potentials, enhance advertising solutions, and provide innovative branding strategies.
Eric Verdon comes to Avatar with more than 46 years in the aviation industry. Eric Joined the US Air Force in 1973 and served his country for 26 years. He held many positions while moving up in the enlisted force and serving his country; including aircraft hydraulic mechanic, Manager of the Hydraulic and EGRESS, (Emergency Ground Rescue and Survival Systems) shops, Chief Maintenance Inspector, Production Supervisor, Support Staff Manager and Director of Maintenance.
Eric retired from the Air Force in 1999 as an E-8, Senior Master Sergeant, which is the top 3% of the entire enlisted force. While serving, he went to night schools and weekend seminars to receive an Associate Degree in Aircraft Pneudraulic Technology, a Bachelor Degree in Professional Aeronautics graduating with a GPA of 3.6, and, a Master’s Degree in Aerospace/Aviation Management, graduating with a GPA of 3.8. He also earned his A&P License.
Eric was the recipient of several awards, including 3 Air Force Commendation Medals and 2 Air Force Meritorious Service Medals. Eric served in Operation Northern watch and Operation Eldorado Canyon.
Upon “retirement” in June of 1999, he immediately went to work for Dee Howard in San Antonio TX as an A&P mechanic. At the end of 1999 Eric went to work as a line supervisor for United Airlines in LAX, Los Angeles California, one of the nation’s busiest airports.
In 2006, Eric left United to work for American Airlines, (AA), as a Manager of line maintenance, also at LAX. In 2011, still with AA, Eric went to work at JFK in New York and then in 2014 went to Ft Worth to work at TAESL, (Texas Aero Engine Service LLC), a joint venture with Rolls Royce and AA overhauling aircraft engines, Trents and RB-211’s.
Eric received numerous awards from the FAA, including a Ruby and Diamond Training Award and a Management Certificate. In 2015 Eric moved to Tampa to work for PEMCO Air World Services, now Airborne. In October 2019, Eric became the Director of Maintenance for Sky Palace Air until March of 2020 when Sky Palace closed.
Eric is from The Bronx, New York and now resides in Seffner, Florida with his wife Cathy, daughter Jennifer
and 2 grandsons, John and Gabriel.
George has over 35 years as a Technical Writer. George has set up and written manuals for four startup airlines.
As an experienced airline technical publisher, George brings an extensive library that will be shared with Avatar’s FAA committee to develop and prepare all required safety, flight, training, and operations manuals needed by the Company to obtain FAA certification.
Hal joined Avatar Airlines after serving five years as a contractor in Central Africa and the Middle East, doing “secret stuff” for the DoD and DoS. He has hands-on experience with missiles, small, medium, and large aircraft, and several types of rotary wing aircraft. He previously helped start another major US airline and worked for three other 121 carriers, as well. He spent another third of his career in the MRO world, leading major conversions while working with regulatory authorities for approval.
The other third of his career was in aircraft manufacturing, eleven years of which were in engineering, mostly R&D. He calls that experience “a toy store for big kids.” He launched items into windshields, wings, and stabilizers to test impact damage. He bent wings until they failed or pressurized fuselages until they exploded. Data he collected from Major Static and Major Fatigue tests helped win the Type Certificate and Production Certificate of a popular business jet and also for the world’s first composite airliner.
Hal holds an A&P with extensive systems, structures, and avionics, experience. Constantly updating or adding new education or experience, he attended actual FAA classes with other ASIs. He gained his FAA IA, FCC GROL, AS9100 Aerospace Auditor, ISO 9001 series, Six Sigma Black Belt and Project Management, and numerous other licenses and professional certifications. Hal is currently working to finish a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Hal is married with two daughters. All three women in his life are into modeling and acting. He truly hopes they get discovered and jokingly says he will “serve as their agent, get rich, and retire.” He enjoys motorcycles, photography, archery, and shooting. He’s a Divemaster and Master Scuba Diver, so it doesn’t take a lot to convince him it’s time to get all wet!
James most recent role was as General Manager for American Airlines in Dayton, Ohio. James also spent five years at US Airways in Philadelphia, PA, and then in Oakland, CA., where he was a Shift Manager, Duty Manager of Ground Operations and then a Station Manager in Airport Customer service.
James has an Associate degree in General Studies from Colorado Technical Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Greg Bond brings almost 30 years of Human Resources leadership and Operations experience to Avatar Airlines. Mr. Bond has broad Human Resource experience working in Employee Relations, Benefits, Compensation, Performance Management and Safety and Risk Management. Mr. Bond has served in Human Resources leadership roles in Customer Service, Automotive Manufacturing and Service organizations.
Mr. Bond will play a key role in setting Avatar Airlines’ people culture. That will start with the substantial upfront staffing requirements and developing the organizations people strategy.