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NGPA Education Fund Board of Directors and Executive Staff

David Pettet — Executive Director (Minneapolis, MN)

David’s passion and dream to be a pilot started at a very young age, when his parents would take him to CLE (Cleveland Hopkins Airport) to B concourse observation deck and watch airplanes. That passion and determination to fly never stopped and upon graduation, David left direct to Florida to embark on his dreams.
David excelled through his aviation education quickly, becoming a flight instructor at the age of 18, and then flying for his first Part 121 air carrier at 19 years old, becoming one of the youngest airline pilots. Through out his first 5 years of flying, and several regional aircraft and airlines due to the economic downturn, he landed his break at the age of 23 as a First Officer on the 757/767 at Omni Air International, fulfilling a childhood dream of piloting his favorite airplane. In 2012, at the age of 25 David joined the Hawaiian Airlines ohana (family) where he was a First Officer on the Airbus 330 and Boeing 717 based in Honolulu, HI. In late 2016, he returned to the mainland full-time to join American Airlines as a First Officer. 
David Pettet joined NGPA in 2008 while attending his first Winter Warm-Up in Palm Springs, CA, and quickly became involved serving on committee’s and joining the Board of Directors in 2010. In 2014, David served as Vice-Chairman of the board along side Chairman Scott Shatzer, and was elected as NGPA’s Executive Director late 2014. During David's tenure at NGPA, the membership has nearly quadrupled, and with the help of the leadership and volunteers, has brought on dozens of sponsors to support the vision and mission of NGPA.
David resides in Minneapolis, where his partner of over five years, Brandon Richards, primarily lives and works as a Senior IT Consultant.


Kit Warfield — Chair (Seattle, WA)

Kit Warfield is lucky enough to fly seaplanes in the Pacific Northwest. As a CFI and charter pilot, she flies out of Lake Union, in the heart of Seattle.  Originally from Montana, Kit joined NGPA in 2012, thanks to the persuasive powers of our beloved Steven Moore. 


Kit and her wife, Nancy and a very spoiled cat live in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.

Greg Sumner — Vice Chair (Phoenix, AZ)

Greg Sumner has been flying commercially since 1997 and has captain experience on the Beech 1900D and Learjet at Part 121 and 135 opera-tors.  He has flown the Airbus A320/319 as well as Boeing 727, 737, 757 and 767 models at United Airlines. He was a flight engineer line check airman on the 727, and currently flies as first officer on the Boe-ing 747. Greg has been fortunate to work in other areas in the aviation industry to get a well-rounded perspective of the operation; he has experience as a customer service rep, ramp worker, airport construction inspector, and as a flight ops supervisor at O’Hare International Airport. Greg is grateful for the opportunity to give back to the aviation and LGBT communities, and currently serves on the boards of the Western Michigan University Alumni Association and the NGPA Education Fund as Vice Chair.

Gregg Smith — Treasurer (Norfolk, VA)


Gregg has spent 12 years as a board member and officer in the NGPA and the Education Fund, most recently as chair of the Education Fund.  Gregg grew up a Navy brat and called half-dozen cities across the country home before attending the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.
After college, Gregg earned his wings as a Navy Pilot and spent a decade flying helicopters for the Navy and Coast Guard.  Flying mostly off small ships, Gregg flew search and rescue and anti-submarine missions in a variety of aircraft.  He was awarded Pilot of the Year in his Squadron in 1983.  After earning his Master degree from the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, he came back to Norfolk, flying off helicopter carriers.
He left the Navy in 1987 and become a Private Wealth Adviser and franchise owner of Ameriprise Financial.  He didn't resume flying again until 2000, after encouragement from a friend and CFI.  He bought a Cessna 182 in 2006 (N65PK), and has logged about 4500 hours flying for both business and pleasure.  Gregg has logged many hours doing non-profit work and support various causes, including Access AIDS Care in Norfolk, Equality Virginia, and Hampton Roads Pride.
While on the ground, he lives in Norfolk with his partner of 25 years, Troy, and their pet: a 95-pound Weimaraner named Cooper.  They are avid boaters and spend a lot of quality time on the rivers and Chesapeake Bay surrounding Norfolk.  Gregg's favorite aspect of NGPA: strong, effective mentorship.  Several NGPA members have logged time in his airplane gaining hours toward their ratings and eventual aviation careers!  Favorite event: Provincetown Cape Cod Classic.



Steve Tustin — Secretary (Long Beach, CA)

Steven caught the aviation bug early in life when frequently traveling between his birthplace of Athens, Greece to visit relatives and Southern California where he grew up. It was the heyday of commercial aviation when TWA and Pan-Am 707s brought the world closer and sparked his dreams of becoming an airline pilot.


After earning his degree at the University of Redlands, Steven held various jobs in construction and aircraft manufacturing, but knew he wanted to fly, so one day after work he went on a demonstration flight and was hooked. A few months later he soloed at Corona Municipal airport near Riverside, California and set off on an adventure that would eventually lead to becoming a captain at a major airline. While flying was his dream job, being a gay airline pilot could sometimes be isolating.


Joining NGPA opened up a whole new world of supportive LGBTQ friends in aviation and now he looks forward to helping aspiring aviators live out their potential through the NGPA Education Fund. Steven and his husband, Christian Juel, live in Long Beach, California with their two horrible cats.

Mitch Hamilton — (Jacksonville, FL)

Mitch Hamilton has represented the Education Fund as a Board member since January 2015. In his current role, he serves as the Marketing Chairman. He's constantly on the move, working to identify opportunities to share information about the NGPA Education Fund. 


Mitch's passion for aviation began at a young age, and he gives credit to his grandfather. His grandfather flew "right seat" with many U.S. Navy Admirals. Mitch learned about aviation from the ground up, literally. He watched his grandfather hand build several airplanes, and he flies one of those, today. After serving more than 9 years in the U.S. Air Force, Mitch attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach, FL campus. His focus concentrated around Aviation Law, Homeland Security, business administration and Flight. Mitch currently holds a Multi Engine Private rating, and tail wheel endorsement.


Mitch currently is based in Newark, NJ (EWR) assigned to inflight services with United Airlines. This career opportunity allow Mitch to be on the front lines in the aviation community.  When he's not working or volunteering, he prefers to be in the air. He's always in the mood to fly!

Diane Helly — (Salt Lake City, UT)

Diane Helly is currently a Captain with Skywest Airlines, with over 20 years of aviation experience. From flight instructing, traffic watch, to tours over the Grand Canyon; she is still in love with the view from her office window. She is inspired to share an elevated perspective with others, and is actively involved in various mentoring programs. Diane is proud to give back and support the achievement of others in this competitive industry.


Connecting with the diverse group of passionate peers in the NGPA has been one of the most rewarding networking experiences of her career. Diane is thrilled to be serving this organization, which has given her such great friendships and support.

Paul Smith - Atlanta, GA

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