Board of Directors

RED TIE

Rick Garcia, Chairman

ACE Board Chairman Rick Garcia is President of Gulf Coast Avionics Corp. in  Lakeland, FL and Pacific Coast Avionics in Aurora, OR.  Rick was born and raised in Miami, Florida.  Rick graduated from South Miami Sr. High School in 1978.  After graduation Rick served in the U.S. Air Force from 1978-82.  During Rick’s time in the Air Force he worked on avionics for the F-4 and F-16. 

In 1984, Rick founded Gulf Coast Avionics Corp., which has grown to 19 offices worldwide.  In 1997 Rick founded Pacific Coast Avionics. In 2007 Rick founded Central Florida Aerospace Academy, which he serves on the Advisory Board.

Rick currently serves on the Board of Directors for SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo as Treasurer, Salvation Army Advisory Board and Aircraft Electronics Association.  Rick previously served 12 years as Trustee for Polk State College and assisted in the start of the Aerospace Program at Polk State College.

Ahearn

Chuck Ahearn, Treasurer

“Chuck” Ahearn was James Ray’s CEO, Ray Foundation Director, and friend for nearly 15 years. The two formed a great team and shared a passion for aviation, investments, technology, and more. Chuck served as venture capital analyst, office manager, portfolio manager, pilot, and yacht engineer. He continues to represent James Ray and the Foundation by serving on several charitable boards including the EAA Foundation, AOPA Board of Advisors, UND Aerospace Foundation, and Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In. Chuck was often referred to by James as “My Wingman”, a title he is proud to carry.

Prior to joining Mr. Ray, Chuck was a Vice President and Portfolio Manager for The Northern Trust Company. As President of Ray Foundation, he is responsible for the day to day management of Foundation business, portfolio management of financial assets, and the continuation of Ray Foundation philanthropy with his fellow Directors. “As James’ Wingman, it is an honor and a privilege to carry on the mission.” Chuck resides in Naples, Florida with his wife, Katie, and has three children.

Education:

UMass Amherst, 1988 BA Economics

University of Toledo, OH 1991 MBA Finance

ICFA, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), 1995

Photo of John Schafer

John Schaefer

Dr. John Schaefer is currently a First Officer for Southwest Airlines.  Prior to Southwest Airlines, he completed a 24-year career in the United States Air Force.  While in the Air Force, he held numerous positions as an F-15E instructor pilot and commander.  Dr. Schaefer also serves on the Advisory Board for the Professional Aviation Program at Lone Star College in Conroe, Texas.  Additionally, he serves as an Accreditation Visiting Team Chair with Aviation Accreditation Board International.

Beaty

Bob Beaty, Vice-Chairman

Bob was born in Columbus, Mississippi in 1948. Following high school graduation he attended Ole Miss receiving a BSPh in Pharmacy in 1972. He also completed Advanced Studies in Management from the University of Southern California. He served as President of the Mississippi State Pharmacists Association in 1984. He currently serves on the advisory board of the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy.  Bob practiced community pharmacy until 1987 when he took a position with Pharmacy Corporation of America which became PharMerica, a Fortune 500 company.  He was promoted to Senior Vice President of Operations in 1995.  Bob left PharMerica in 2001 to become Partner of Senior Care Pharmacy, a national provider of pharmacy services to long term care facilities. He retired from SCP in 2014. 

Bob has been an avid aviator for 45 years during which time he built 4 experimental airplanes and is currently in the process of a plans built 5th construction project called the Hatz Classic, a 1920’s era biplane. He is a long term member of the Experimental Aircraft Association and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. 

Bob became a volunteer with SUN ‘n FUN in the mid 1990’s and has enthusiastically served in many leadership positions including Chairman of the Board, Vice Chairman of the Board, Board Secretary and Co-Chairman of Fly By Showcase. He currently is Vice Chairman of the Board of SUN ‘n FUN, Vice Chairman of The Board of Aerospace Center for Excellence, Chairman of the Master Planning and Site Committee and Chairman of Camp Duffy. 

Bob is married and has 4 children and 5 grandchildren. He is a devout Catholic and is a member of Saint Joseph’s Parish in Lakeland, Florida.

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Elizabeth Tennyson

Elizabeth Tennyson is the executive director of AOPA’s You Can Fly and is responsible for programs designed to get people flying and keep them flying, including the development of a rigorous four-year aviation STEM curriculum for high school students.

Tennyson is an instrument-rated private pilot who holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, and undergraduate degrees in Broadcast Journalism and International Relations from the University of Southern California. Her past positions at AOPA have included vice president of Publications, senior director of Communications and vice president of Aviation Program Operations.

Before coming to AOPA, Tennyson was a journalist, working for the Associated Press and later serving as editor-in-chief for a collection of legal magazines. In addition to her work on the board of the Aerospace Center for Excellence, Tennyson serves on the Aviation Accreditation Board International, the official accrediting body for collegiate aviation programs.

Kincart

Jeff Kincart, Secretary

Jeff Kincart is Executive Vice President of A·C·T Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc., a multidisciplinary firm specializing in environmental consulting, contamination remediation, and hazardous materials response. He is also President of Kincart Construction Company, which focuses on government construction projects, including airport and hangar construction.

At 12, Jeff developed a love for aviation and aspired to become an airline pilot. Jeff attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University before completing his engineering degree at University of South Florida. He is a multi-state structural and environmental professional engineer, and a Florida-licensed general contractor. Jeff is also a licensed multi-engine, seaplane, instrument, and drone rated pilot.

A graduate of Leadership Lakeland, Leadership Bartow and Leadership Polk, Jeff recognizes that it takes all of us, pulling together, to achieve great things. In addition to the Aerospace Center for Excellence, Jeff also serves on the Boards of Directors for SUN ’n FUN, the Central Florida Aerospace Consortium, the Central Florida Regional Planning Council, and Polk State Corporate College. He also serves as a structures specialist on Florida’s Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 8.

Jeff lives in Lakeland, with his wife, Julie, and their three children.

Richards

Harley Richards

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Dr. Harley Richards grew up in Lakeland, Florida. His father was a general dentist and his grandfather was a general surgeon. As such, he was exposed to medicine and dentistry at an early age. His father could fix anything and enjoyed planes, motorcycling and boating so Dr. Richards was exposed to all of these activities in his youth.

Dr. Richards has been an innovator in implant dentistry, and has operated a successful practice in oral and maxillofacial surgery in Lakeland, FL since 1980. He is board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and has served at Lakeland Regional Medical Center as Chief of the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. He also offers his skills regularly to the community at no cost through many hours of volunteer work.

Dr. Richards has a love for aviation and is an accomplished pilot. He has a commercial pilot rating, single engine – land and sea rating, multiengine – land, and sea rating as well as instrument and rotorcraft ratings. He currently owns and flies his 1946 Aeronca Champ classic aircraft. He currently serves as the chairman of the board for the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo, the second largest civilian fly-in in the country. He has never lost his love for motorcycles and in addition to his Harley Davidson Road King he also owns several vintage Honda motorcycles.

Dr. Richards is married to Martha and has three children. They reside in Lakeland, Florida.

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