Here are a few of the College of Aeronautics (COA) professors that I have been lucky enough to have. They are all industry professionals that teach classes for all of the COA programs.
Dr. William Rankin
Want to talk to someone who is an expert in the airport industry? Dr. Rankin has gathered over 30 years of airport management experience through impressive positions such as Deputy Director of Aviation for Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, Director of Aviation at El Paso International Airport and Director of the Operation Division at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. This remarkable career has led him to countless awards and becoming an Accredited Airport Executive in the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). Dr. Rankin is actively involved in research projects on runway incursions, airfield safety, airfield security and commercial spaceflight! He is currently a member of NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors Program where he listens to NASA scientists about their missions of robotic space exploration. He also holds star parties at his observatory located at his house in North Carolina, and has even taught classes on commercial spaceflight.
Dr. Donna Wilt
Dr.Wilt’s engineering background and passion for aviation has led her to practically teach any type of class in COA. Her career has consisted of experience in the avionics industry with top industry companies like Harris Corporation and Rockwell Collins, plus over 20 years as an aviation professor. She currently holds her ATP Certification (Air Transport Pilot) and CFII (Certified Flight Instructor-Instrument). At Florida Tech, she has instructed various classes including ground courses for FAA pilot certificates, airport planning and design, avionics, aerodynamics, aviation safety and air transportation management. Also, just a fun fact about Dr. Wilt, she holds a patent for a self-calibrating ILS receiver!
Prof. Tolga Turgut
If you want to become a part of the international aviation industry, make sure you stay connected with Professor Turgut after graduation. He has over 15 years of experience developing skills in business development, multicultural network building, and aviation sales and marketing. His career prior to teaching at Florida Tech began with starting his own company at the age of 24 and after only three years, he sold it to a group on entrepreneurs. His career also includes being a marketing, business development and foreign affairs executive at several companies in Istanbul, Turkey. Prof. Turgut uses his knowledge of the international aviation industry to teach classes like air transportation management and aviation business simulation. These classes develop students’ understanding of airline operations, domestic and international markets, airline financing and strategic business planning.
Prof. Ulreen Jones
Planning and designing airports is Professor Jones’ expertise after years of experience in the industry. Over the past 15 years, she has been a senior planner with several contractors as well as for the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Her career has led her to teach several classes at the College of Aeronautics including airport design, aviation planning and airport development. Her knowledge of the subjects ensure that students finish the semester with understanding in the fundamentals of airport master plans, terminal planning, airfield designs and much more.
Dr. Stephen Cusick
Dr. Cusick began his career as a Naval aviator and is still an active pilot with multi-engine, instrument and helicopter ratings. After earning his law degree from the University of Louisville, he has served as a U.S. Government attorney for the Navy Office of General Counsel and as a corporate attorney for Harris Corporation, Intersil and DRS Technologies. His excellence in aviation and law have been used to teach students in classes such as aviation safety management systems and aviation law where he uses a textbook he co-authored. Dr. Cusick is also the Chair of Graduate Programs at COA and is working with the FAA to develop Florida Tech’s involvement with the FAA’s Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS).
Prof. Victoria Dunbar
After starting a career as a flight attendant, Professor Dunbar saw that flying was too fun and she needed to learn the controls. Since then, she has obtained her CFI, CFII and MEI ratings with over 2,500 hours of flight time, most of it dual given. Prof. Dunbar has also been an FBO manager and the Chief Flight Instructor at a busy flight school in Indiana. In addition to teaching several classes at the College of Aeronautics, Prof. Dunbar is the Faculty Adviser for Women in Aviation International Florida Tech Chapter, Faculty Adviser for Florida Tech Pilot’s Association and Co-Faculty Adviser for Falcon’s Precision Flight Team.
Check out the entire extraordinary College of Aeronautics faculty at their Florida Tech Faculty Profiles!