The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority is governed by a nine-member Board, with three additional members serving ex officio. Board members serve 3-year terms and may be reappointed.
To contact or send information or materials to the Board, click here.
Board Member Bios (in alphabetical order)
Laurie Berman, Ex-Officio Member | District 11 Director CEA, Caltrans
Laurie Berman was appointed in November 2009 as the District Director for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 11, encompassing San Diego and Imperial counties. She has more than two dozen years of experience with Caltrans and is responsible for the daily operation of 1,300 employees and more than 1,000 highway lane miles. Ms. Berman oversees $1.3 billion worth of highway construction projects and programs throughout the two-county area. Prior to her appointment to District Director, Ms. Berman served as the district’s Chief Deputy Director of Project Delivery.
Ms. Berman earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering at Michigan State University in 1983 and began her career with Caltrans as a Junior Civil Engineer in bridge construction in Santa Barbara. Later, she worked at Caltrans Headquarters in Sacramento, and transferred to District 11 in 1994 to manage the seismic retrofit of the district’s bridges. Ms. Berman is a member of the Transportation Research Board’s Project Delivery Methods Committee and also serves as an Ex Officio Member on the San Diego Association of Governments.
C. April Boling, Board Chair | Appointed by Mayor, City of San Diego
Email - 619.400.2408
April Boling has a long record of public service and her expertise on budget matters has led to appointments to numerous boards and committees.
She was a member of San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy’s Blue Ribbon Finance Committee in 2002, which identified pensions and infrastructure as the key issues facing the City. She then chaired the city’s Pension Reform committee, which spearheaded major changes to the management of the city’s pension system.
She is a former board chair of the San Diego Convention Center and the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.
Ms. Boling began her career as a Supervisory Budget Analyst for the Department of the Navy, where she was responsible for internal budgeting and external negotiations. She developed and presented a seminar on the federal budget process as it relates to Naval Aviation. In 1985, Ms. Boling was hired by the San Diego office of Price Waterhouse as a tax manager for clients in the real estate development and emerging technology industries. She started her own private accounting practice in 1989. She has bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of San Diego.
In addition to her civic work, Ms. Boling also has helped lead a number of civic and charitable organizations, including the Patrick Henry High School Foundation, the Mission Trails Regional Park Citizens Advisory Committee and Orphan Kids Inc., a social service organization that provided food and school supplies to children in Baja California. The Mayor of San Diego appointed Ms. Boling to the Board for a term ending on January 31, 2018.
Greg Cox | Appointed by San Diego County Board of Supervisors
Email - 619.400.2408
Greg Cox joined the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 1995. He began his public service career as an educator in the Sweetwater Union High School District. He was elected to the Chula Vista City Council and later served two terms as Mayor of Chula Vista. The Governor of California appointed him Director of Local Government for the Office of Planning and Research from 1991 – 92. Mr. Cox also built successful businesses in the private sector.
Mr. Cox is the only elected official in California to have been elected by his peers to serve as both the President of the California State Association of Counties and the League of California Cities. Mr. Cox has also been acknowledged as “Legislator of the Year” by a number of state and local organizations throughout his career, and was recently appointed by California Assembly Speaker to the California Coastal Commission. The Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors appointed Supervisor Cox to the Board for a term ending on January 31, 2019.
Jim Desmond | Appointed by North Inland area mayors
Email - 619.400.2408
A thirty three-year resident of San Diego County and twenty four-year resident of San Marcos, CA, Mr. Desmond was elected Mayor of San Marcos in November 2006, 2010 and 2014.
He is a Navy veteran with a degree in Electrical Engineering from San Diego State University.
Concurrently with being a Mayor, Mr. Desmond since 1986, is a pilot for Delta Airlines as a Captain on Boeing 757s and 767s flying both domestic and international routes.
Mayor Desmond actively serves as a director on the SANDAG Board, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Board, the San Diego and Imperial County Boy Scouts of America Board, and since 2007 the San Diego Regional Airport Authority Board. He is appointed to the Airport Board by the North County Inland Mayors and his term expires on January 31, 2018.
Robert H. Gleason | Appointed by Mayor, City of San Diego
Email - 619.400.2408
Robert Gleason is president and chief executive officer for Evans Hotels, which owns and operates The Lodge at Torrey Pines, the Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa and the Bahia Resort Hotel, where he has been employed for nearly 30 years. In addition, he is a former adjunct faculty member in the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University.
Mr. Gleason is a long-time San Diegan who has played a leadership role with many community agencies and organizations, primarily in the areas of economic development, the arts, and civil rights. He is currently a Director of the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, a Trustee of Francis Parker School, and an Executive Committee Member of the Princeton University Alumni Council. Previous positions include service as Chair of the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture, Vice Chair of the Old Globe Theater, Chair of the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community Center and the San Diego LGBT Community Leadership Council, and Vice Chair of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
He received an A.B. in Economics from Princeton University and a Juris Doctor (summa cum laude) from the University of San Diego School of Law. Mr. Gleason was originally appointed to the Board by City of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and confirmed by the City Council in 2009, and reappointed in 2010. He was reappointed in 2014 by City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and confirmed by the City Council for a term ending January 31, 2017. He was named Chair by Mayor Sanders in January 2010 and reconfirmed to that position in 2014 by Mayor Faulconer.
Jim Janney | Appointed by South County area mayors
Email - 619.400.2408
James Janney is a 23-year resident of Imperial Beach. He served on the Imperial Beach City Council for 12 years and as Mayor from 2006–2014. He has previously served on the board of the San Diego Association of Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation System. He has been a board member of South County Economic Development Council since 2002, previously serving as its President and currently serving as Treasurer.
Since 1997, Mr. Janney, together with his wife Deborah, have owned and operated O.A.P. Packaging Inc.
Mr. Janney served six years in the Navy and worked for Naval Air Engineering Center/Naval Air Warfare Center for more than 15 years providing technical support for Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE). During his appointment as the Interim Pacific Air Program Manager, Mr. Janney was responsible for the administration and finances of ALRE throughout the western hemisphere.
The mayors of the south San Diego County cities appointed Mr. Janney to the Board for a term ending on January 31, 2018.
Mark Kersey | Appointed by Mayor, City of San Diego
Email - 619.400.2408
Councilmember Mark Kersey represents the City of San Diego's Fifth District. He was elected on a platform of rebuilding San Diego's infrastructure, modernizing government and keeping San Diego's economy competitive. He is currently serving his second four-year term, and has also been confirmed as the Council President Pro Tem.
As Chair of the Council's Infrastructure Committee, he orchestrated the development of San Diego's first comprehensive Multi-Year Infrastructure Investment Plan. He is also the author of the Rebuild San Diego measure which was approved by voters in June 2016. Mr. Kersey is also focused on utilizing technology to empower residents and streamline government. He introduced the City's first Open Data Initiative, which will make large quantities of City data available to the public. He led the Get It Done mobile app effort which gives San Diegans a single service point to report potholes, streetlight outages, graffiti and more.
In addition to the Airport Authority, Mr. Kersey sits on the board for the California League of Cities and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.
An alumnus of Northwestern University and the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management, Mr. Kersey is the founder and owner of Kersey Strategies, a technological research firm specializing in the telecommunications and high-tech industries. Councilmember Kersey was appointed to the Board by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and confirmed by the City Council in 2016 for a term ending January 31, 2019.
Eraina Ortega, Ex-Officio Member | Chief Deputy Director, Policy at the California Department of Finance
Eraina Ortega serves as Chief Deputy Director, Policy at the California Department of Finance. In this capacity, Ms. Ortega represents the Department of Finance on more than 100 boards and commissions. From 2008 to 2013, Ms. Ortega worked at the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) as a Senior Legislative Representative in the area of labor and employee relations. Prior to joining CSAC, she served for six years as a legislative advocate for the Judicial Council of California in a number of areas, including the state budget, court facilities, and employee relations. Previously, she was a fiscal and policy analyst for the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).
Ms. Ortega earned a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine.
Paul Robinson, Vice Chair | Appointed by the Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors
Email - 619.400.2408
Since 1982, Mr. Robinson has served as partner for the San Diego law firm of Hecht Solberg Robinson Goldberg and Bagley, where he was also an associate from 1980 to 1982. Previously, Robinson was assistant to San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson from 1978 to 1980 and was deputy city attorney for San Diego from 1973 to 1978. He is a member of the Real Property and Public Law Sections of the California State Bar and of the Real Estate and Land Use Sections of the San Diego County Bar Association.
Mr. Robinson is a member of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, Partners for Livable Places/San Diego, the Mission Bay Park Committee (Chair) and the City of San Diego’s Parking Advisory Board. He is active in the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and the San Diego Downtown Partnership. The Governor of California appointed Mr. Robinson to the Airport Authority Board for a term ending June 2011. He was reappointed by the Chair of the San Diego Board of Supervisors. His term expires on January 31, 2020.
Mary Sessom | Appointed by East County area mayors
Email - 619.400.2408
A 26-year resident of Lemon Grove, Mary Sessom served as mayor of Lemon Grove from 1996 to 2016. Not only was she the City’s first directly elected mayor, but also its first female mayor. Prior to her election to the Lemon Grove City Council in 1994, she was active in her community, serving as PTA president and vice president of the Lemon Grove Education Foundation.
During her 20 years as a practicing attorney, Ms. Sessom served as a Judge Pro Tem of the Superior Court (1990–91), Past President of the Foothills Bar Association (1995) and Trustee to the Board of Trustees for the San Diego County Law Library (1995–96). She served as a Board member of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (2003–2006; 2013–) and as a member of the Salvation Army Ad Hoc Committee for the Kroc Community Center.
When not working at City Hall, Ms. Sessom is coordinator for the Business and Professional Studies Department at Cuyamaca Community College. She also serves as a director on the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Executive Board and is one of the organization’s past chairs. Currently, she serves as that agency’s chair for the Regional Planning Committee. The mayors of the east county cities appointed Mayor Sessom to the Board for a term ending on January 31, 2019.
Michael Schumacher | Appointed by North County Coastal Area Mayors
Michael Schumacher serves on the Carlsbad City Council and on several regional and local committees, including the SANDAG Board of Directors, Encina Wastewater Board of Directors, as well as the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Schumacher previously served as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Carlsbad and is past Chairman. He also served on the Design Review Board for Carlsbad’s redevelopment district and as Vice President of the Board of Directors of New Village Arts Theatre. He has been active in various professional associations such as Urban Land Institute (ULI), International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and the National Association of Industrial Office Properties (NAIOP) as well as community organizations such as Bread of Life, Rotary, Junior Achievement and the YMCA.
He is founder and President of Enact Partners, a real estate investment firm that works with both public and private companies. His clients range from individual investors and family trusts to large publicly-traded institutions.
Previously, Mr. Schumacher served as Vice President of Commercial Development for Kilroy Realty Corporation (NASDAQ: KRC), a publicly-traded REIT. He has helped develop strategies and direction for numerous private real estate development and investment companies throughout the United States; also assisting as an expert witness on commercial real estate matters.
Mr. Schumacher earned a Master’s of Science in Administration with an emphasis on tax increment financing from Central Michigan University and a Bachelor’s degree from North Dakota State University. He holds a California real estate broker’s license as well as a Private Pilot’s license.
North County coastal mayors met on January 10, 2017 and unanimously selected Mr. Schumacher to represent North County coastal cities on the Airport Authority Board.
He lives in Carlsbad, California with his wife and two children.
Colonel Jason G. Woodworth, Ex-Officio Member
Colonel Jason G. Woodworth assumed command of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in August 2015. His military career began when he was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1993 upon graduation from Colgate University and designated a Naval Aviator in 1996.
Over the last 17 years, Colonel Woodworth’s military service has included tours with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323 and several deployments onboard the USS Stennis. Colonel Woodworth was also an instructor at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona and spent two years assigned to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Darmstadt, Germany.
From 2011–2013 Colonel Woodworth commanded Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323, during which time the squadron deployed onboard the USS Nimitz. In 2014, Colonel Woodworth reported to the Royal College of Defence Studies in London, England for Top Level School.
Colonel Woodworth and his wife Renee have three children: Jake, Lily, and Sophia.
Thella F. Bowens | President/CEO
In March 2003, Thella F. Bowens was appointed President/CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, the owner and operator of San Diego International Airport as of January 1, 2003. As President/CEO, Ms. Bowens is responsible for management oversight of the Airport Authority and the Airport Authority’s annual operating budget and five-year capital budget. According to the most recent economic impact study, San Diego International Airport generates more than $9 billion annually in economic impact for the region.
Prior to 2003, when the San Diego Unified Port District operated the airport, Ms. Bowens was the Port’s Senior Director of Aviation for seven years. From September 2001 through December 2002, simultaneous with her position at the Port, she served as Interim Executive Director/President of the new San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, as required by the state legislation that created the Airport Authority. In that capacity, she performed the monumental task of planning and implementing the transfer of the airport to its role as an independent entity.
Prior to coming to San Diego, Ms. Bowens served as the Deputy Executive Director of Kansas City’s Aviation Department, which included Kansas City International Airport and the city’s two general aviation airports. She previously served as Budget Administrator for the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport in Texas. She has acquired 30-plus years of experience in public administration, with the last 25 years in the aviation field.
Ms. Bowens holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College of Columbia University and has done graduate work at the University of North Texas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is also a graduate of the Executive Leadership Institute sponsored by the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.
Ms. Bowens is a member of the California Airports Council Board of Directors, a member of the World Governing Board of Airports Council International, and a board member of the American Association of Airport Executives Policy Review Committee. In 2010 she served as a member of the Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s Future of Aviation Advisory Committee, and in 2012 she was the Chair of Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA).
Locally, she is a member of boards of the San Diego World Trade Center, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and Kyoto Symposium Organization.
Ms. Bowens has previously served on the boards of the San Diego United Way, the San Diego Symphony and the National Conflict Resolution Center.