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Board Members

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority is governed by a nine-member Board, with three additional members serving ex officio. Board members serve three-year terms and may be reappointed.

To contact or send information or materials to the Board, click here.

Board Member Bios

Guillermo (“Gil”) Cabrera, Board Chair | Appointed by Mayor, City of San Diego
Email - 619.400.2408

Board Chair Gil Cabrera has been an attorney in San Diego for over twenty years, starting his legal career in San Diego right out of law school. He met his wife, Krista, here in San Diego and they have two daughters.

Board Chair Cabrera has been an engaged member of the San Diego community serving as a wish granter and on the Board of Directors of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego and ultimately on the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America National Board of Directors. He began his public service in the late 1990s when he co-chaired Chief David Bejarano’s San Diego Police Department Use of Force Task Force, which reviewed the department’s use of force procedures and made one hundred recommendations to improve police interaction with the public. In 2005, Mr. Cabrera was appointed to the San Diego Ethics Commission where he served for five years, two as its Chair. During his chairmanship, the Commission ushered in the largest overhaul of the City’s lobbying laws increasing transparency of lobbyist activity. Between 2013 and 2020, he served on the San Diego Convention Center board of directors, serving as Chair in 2017 and 2018. Between 2013-2018, he served on the San Diego LGBT Community Center Board of Directors. Since 2017, Board Chair Cabrera has served on the Alliance for Hope International Board of Directors. Since 2018, he has served on the Sharp Healthcare Board of Directors, currently serving as its Immediate Past Chair.

Board Chair Cabrera started practicing at Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP - one of the then oldest law firms in the City. From Luce Forward, he was recruited to Cooley Godward, one of the top law firms in the country. At Cooley Godward, he specialized in securities litigation and complex business litigation. Since 2007, he has run his own law firm, The Cabrera Firm. Presently, Board Chair Cabrera specializes in business and employment litigation and serves as general outside counsel to a number of local and regional businesses. He has been named one of the top attorneys in San Diego since 2012 by the San Diego Daily Transcript, San Diego Business Journal and Super Lawyers.

The Mayor of San Diego appointed Chair Cabrera to the Board for a term ending on January 31, 2027.

Whitney Benzian

Whitney Benzian | Appointed by South County Mayors
Email - 619.400.2408

Board Member Whitney Benzian is a real estate agent and advisor with Douglas Elliman. Whitney represents clients focused on acquiring and selling real estate throughout California with a particular focus on coastal properties in the City of Coronado and San Diego.

His background includes marketing, public relations, land-use and government affairs developed from his time working for a leading San Diego public relations and marketing firm. He was an executive for the California Apartment Association, establishing and leading the San Diego office for 11 years before opening his real estate practice.

Board Member Benzian served as a Coronado City Councilmember and Mayor Pro Tempore from 2016 to 2020.

He was raised in Coronado, where he has lived and worked since moving back. Following graduation from Coronado High School he went on to pursue his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Sarah Lawrence College and Pepperdine University, respectively. He received his Masters in Public Policy and his B.A. in Liberal Arts.

Board Member Benzian is married to January Benzian and has three children: Emma, Annie and George.

The South County Mayors appointed Mr. Benzian to the Board for a term ending on January 31, 2027.





Lidia S. Martinez | Appointed by Mayor, City of San Diego
Email - 619.400.2408

As Manager of Community Outreach for Southwest Airlines, Lidia was responsible for the local and regional community outreach across the country.

Lidia established and maintained a portfolio of highly respected strategic partnerships with civic, business, and philanthropic organizations, as well as major universities, to achieve mutual strategic objectives. For almost 20 years, she worked with stakeholders across the country to ensure that Southwest Airlines maintained a visible leadership position within key communities.Lidia set the standard for Southwest’s outreach and corporate social responsibility.

In 2020, Lidia retired after 30 years of service to Southwest Airlines.She served in the Marketing and Communications departments in Dallas, Chicago and San Diego.In recognition of her service to the State of California and the San Diego region, Lidia has received various proclamations from the California Assembly, the City of San Diego, and her member of Congress.Lidia’s impact in the San Diego region was recently celebrated by being honored with the San Diego Business Journal’s 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award; the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Herb Klein Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021; and the Latino Leaders Network Inaugural Champion Award in 2021.In 2022, The California State University Board of Trustees and San Diego State University (SDSU) President Adela de la Torre bestowed the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (LHD) degree upon Lidia for her passion and commitment to the San Diego region as well as the State of California.

Lidia continues to mentor leaders across the country, especially women in the nonprofit world and emerging leaders.She continues to pay it forward by being involved with a variety of organizations dedicated to empowering underrepresented communities.San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria recently appointed Lidia to a three-year term on the San Diego Regional Airport Authority Board of Directors. She also serves on the Board of Directors of For All of Us, SDSU’s The Campanile Foundation and Latino Leaders Network, a national organization based in DC.Lidia is on the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board, the San Diego Center for Children CEO Advisory Council, and The San Diego Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund Leadership Council Executive Committee.Lidia chairs the San Diego Unified School District’s Schools Naming Committee.

Lidia takes great pride in serving as Special Advisor to the CEO of Promises2Kids (a foster youth organization) and as Executive Leadership Advisor to MAAC (an anti-poverty agency).

Born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua and raised in El Paso, Texas, Lidia studied at the University of Texas in Arlington where she received a Business Administration degree with a focus in Marketing. She and her husband Ted have two adult children, Melyna (36), Teddy (32) and grand-puppies Marley (14) and Rho (2). They currently reside in San Diego, CA.

The Mayor of San Diego appointed Ms. Martinez to the Board for a term ending on January 31, 2026.



Monica Montgomery Steppe | Appointed by the Chair of the Board of Supervisors and confirmed by the Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Monica Montgomery Steppe was elected to the County Board of Supervisors in December 2023 to represent District 4.

She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Spelman College and a Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law.

In November 2018, Montgomery Steppe was elected as San Diego City Councilmember for District 4 and served as Council President Pro Tem. As a San Diego City Councilmember, Montgomery Steppe served on several outside agency appointments, including: MTS Board of Directors, San Diego Workforce Partnership, the City-County Reinvestment Task Force, and the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.

Prior to that, Montgomery Steppe worked for the American Civil Liberties Union as an attorney, focusing mostly on bail reform. She also worked as an attorney helping families avoid foreclosure during the Great Recession.

Montgomery Steppe worked as a staffer for Councilmember Todd Gloria during his term as interim mayor, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and Councilmember Myrtle Cole.

For her leadership, Montgomery Steppe has received many notable accolades and awards, including 2018 Voice of San Diego Voice of the Year, the 2019 San Diego Democratic Party Making a Difference Award and the 2021 Ashley L. Walker Social Justice Award from Alliance San Diego.




Rafael Perez | Appointed by the Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors
Email - 619.400.2408

Rafael Perez is a Realtor and Adjunct Faculty Member with broad community experience and service on several boards and commissions.

As a Real Estate Professional, Rafael has over 18 years of experience working with homeowners and home buyers in most corners of San Diego County. Rafael has experience in both finance and as a Realtor. Rafael is also an instructor in the Real Estate Department at Cuyamaca College, where he teaches Real Estate courses in Principles, Practice, Finance and Internship.

Rafael has been named two time Realtor of the Year recipient at the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (2017, 2020) where he currently serves on the board of Directors. Rafael was also recognized as a 2022 Fair Housing Champion by the National Association of Realtors where he serves on the Fair Housing Policy Committee. Rafael is an active member in the real estate community and has presented around the country as an expert in fair housing and small housing.

Mr. Perez has served in board leadership roles for several nonprofits, working on issues ranging from hyper-local to National in scope. Rafael serves as Board Chair of the Sherman Heights Community Center, which services thousands of people in the surrounding communities each year providing programing for youth, Seniors and other populations in need. Rafael has Chaired the facilities committee for two years and has overseen major publicly and privately funded Capital Improvement Projects in this capacity.

In 2013-2014, Mr. Perez served as President of the San Diego Chapter of NAHREP (National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, a trade association with the mission to “advance sustainable homeownership.” Under his leadership, NAHREP San Diego emerged as a civic leader in the housing space and partnered with other similar organizations. Rafael has also served several terms on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors since 2015, as the organization advocated for private property rights and maneuvered providing access to the critical need of housing through the Pandemic. Rafael is also a Board Member at the Casita Coalition where he has advocated for Federal Finance reform and worked with stakeholders to continue to tackle California’s housing shortage.

Mr. Perez was appointed by San Diego’s Mayor to an at-large position on the City’s Citizens’ Equal Opportunity Commission, which addresses the cities Equal Opportunity program. Through the Commissions advocacy, the City funded the first disparity study in decades and the commission has overseen the implantation of several of the recommendations that were identified as a result of the study. He has served in that role since 2013 with his term concluding at the end of 2022. Mr. Perez is a 2004 graduate of San Diego State University.

The Chair of the San Diego County County of Supervisors appointed Mr. Perez for a term ending on January 31, 2026.


Esther Sanchez  | Appointed by North County Coastal Area Mayors
Email - 619.400.2408

Esther Sanchez is the first woman, first Latinx Mayor of Oceanside and first Latinx Mayor in North San Diego County. Daughter of an immigrant, Esther is also part of a 5 generation Oceanside family.

Esther is an attorney and past President of San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association. She earned her BA in Urban Studies from Brown University and JD from UC College of the Law, San Francisco. 

Esther served as Deputy Public Defender, San Diego County, for 20 years. In 2000, she ran for city council in her hometown of Oceanside, where she was born and raised. Esther grew up in the Eastside barrio community, the same neighborhood as her dad, and her first language was Spanish.

Esther won her first race and has consistently won re-election, supported by neighborhoods, environmentalists, labor, business and community leaders. Esther served 20 years as a city council member before winning her position as mayor. 

Esther has been successful in creating systemic change. She led in transitioning her city into a community policing model reflective of the diversity of her city, created over a thousand affordable housing units, led on a Climate Action Plan, and worked to increase and protect open space and public parkland. She successfully led on a referendum to protect rent control for mobile home park residents, protected senior housing, and helped create after school programs for at-risk youth.

Esther has a lifelong commitment to addressing social, racial, economic and environmental justice and equity/equality issues and creating livable cities/neighborhoods for all.

The North County Coastal area mayors appointed Mayor Sanchez to the Board for a term ending on January 31, 2026.

James Sly, Headshot

James Sly | Appointed by East County Area Mayors
Email - 619.400.2408

James Sly is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the East County Economic Development Council (EDC). Sly is responsible for defining and implementing the East County EDC’s ambitious project portfolio, which cuts across education, industry, workforce, and government. Additionally, Sly leads many of the organization’s strategic partnership and business development efforts, working to make the EDC a locus of economic activity in San Diego.

Sly joined the East County EDC in 2012, initially as a Program Manager tasked with helping the Department of Defense (DoD) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) fine-tune their procurement systems to make government solicitations more attractive to American manufacturers. After leading the development of a new supply chain software solution, he expanded his attention to include the EDC’s other flagship projects: the East County Small Business Development Center, the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Pipeline, and the “Connectory” SAAS platform.

Prior to joining the East County EDC, Sly worked as a management consultant, servicing startup and mid-size businesses throughout San Diego’s private sector, and as a sought-after workforce expert for the One-Stop Career Center Network and San Diego’s CalWORKS Welfare-to-Work and Refugee Resettlement programs. He has been able to leverage this multifaceted skillset to the EDC’s benefit, coordinating resources from across the spectrum to drive the organization’s mission and support stakeholders throughout East County and the larger San Diego region.

Sly was born and raised in San Diego, California. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from San Diego State University, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification from the University of California, San Diego, and leadership certifications from the San Diego Public Leadership Institute and Harvard Business School.

The East County area mayors appointed Mr. Sly to the Board for a term ending on January 31, 2025.

Steve Vaus | Appointed by North County Inland Mayors
Email - 619.400.2408

Steve Vaus is currently serving his third term as the Mayor of Poway after being elected in 2014, 2018 and most recently in 2022. Prior to his time as Mayor, he served on the Poway City Council beginning in 2012.

Mayor Vaus sits on the San Diego Association of Governments Board of Directors as well as on SANDAG’s Executive Committee. He served as Chair of SANDAG from 2018 to 2020.

Steve is a Grammy Award winning recording artist, having won Emmy Awards for his work in television, and has performed several times at the White House. The multi-award winner has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and several times at the White House.

His music has appeared in popular television programs and movies, and he has created theme music for the America’s Cup and the US Navy Blue Angels. His musical collaborations include work with artists Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, the Commodores, Randy Travis and others.

Steve is the founder and executive producer of Carols by Candlelight - an annual Christmas concert (founded in 1990) that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Rady Children’s Hospital and other charities serving children.

The North County Inland Mayors appointed Mr. Vaus to the Board for a term ending on January 31, 2027.

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Marni von Wilpert | Appointed by Mayor, City of San Diego
Email - 619.400.2408

Councilmember Marni von Wilpert represents District 5 on the San Diego City Council and was previously a San Diego Deputy City Attorney. She is proud to serve as Chair of the Committee on Active Transportation and Infrastructure, Vice Chair of the Committee on Environment, member of the Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods, and member of the Committee on Rules. Councilmember von Wilpert was also appointed to the San Diego Regional Airport Authority Board, the San Dieguito River Valley Regional Open Space JPA, and the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. 

Councilmember von Wilpert now lives in Scripps Ranch, just miles from her childhood home. She received a B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley and served in the Peace Corps in Botswana, Africa where she helped improve access to healthcare and worked on treatment, prevention, and care for children and adults living with HIV/AIDS. 

After returning from Botswana, she obtained her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in New York and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 2011 and was awarded the Skadden Fellowship for Public Interest law, where she worked with the Mississippi Center for Justice to create the first HIV/AIDS civil rights law practice in the state. She provided free legal services to people facing discrimination based on race, HIV-status, and LGBTQ identity. 

Councilmember von Wilpert served as a Law Clerk from 2013 to 2014 for Hon. James E. Graves, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, and worked as an adjunct professor at Mississippi College School of Law teaching legal writing, research and analysis. From 2014 to 2017, she was a litigator in the National Labor Relations Board’s Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Branch, where she represented the federal agency in the United States Courts of Appeals. During 2016, she served as an attorney in the U.S. House of Representatives for Congressman Robert C. Scott, drafting national legislation to promote workers’ rights on the job. Councilmember von Wilpert then served as an Associate Labor Counsel for the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., drafting state legislation and regulations affecting workers’ rights, wages and working conditions. 

After she was admitted to the California Bar, Councilmember von Wilpert became a Deputy City Attorney in the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit of the San Diego City Attorney's Office. She represented the City and people of the State of California in court, enforcing laws that protect consumers, employees, and the environment. She initiated legal action to protect public health and safety, restore environmental quality, and sustain economic vitality in San Diego. 

Councilmember von Wilpert will continue serving on the boards of several community organizations, including San Diego Youth Services, Teen Health Mississippi, and the National Women’s Political caucus.

The Mayor of San Diego appointed Councilmember von Wilpert to the Board for a term ending on January 31, 2025.

Col. Thomas M. Bedell, Ex-Officio Member

Colonel Thomas M. Bedell graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1993 with degrees in English Literature and Sociology, and from the University of Manchester, UK in 1994 with a Master’s in Economic and Social Studies. He then spent two years fighting forest fires with the US Forest Service.

Colonel Bedell completed The Basic School and the Infantry Officer Course in 1997, primary flight training in 1998, jet training in 1999, and AV8B training in 2001. From 2002 to 2005 Colonel Bedell served with VMA-214 “The World Famous Blacksheep” as Logistics Officer, Powerline Officer, and Airframes Officer. He deployed to Al Jaber, Kuwait in 2003 in support of Iraqi Freedom, and to Al Asad, Iraq in 2004 as part of the 11th MEU. After attending the Expeditionary Warfare School he joined VMA-211 “The Wake Island Avengers” from 2006 to 2009 where he served as Quality Assurance Officer, Pilot Training Officer, Weapons and Tactics Instructor, and Maintenance Officer. He deployed with the Avengers to Iraq in 2006, and to Japan in 2009 as part of the 31st MEU.

From 2009 to 2011 Colonel Bedell served as Aide de Camp to the Deputy Commandant for Aviation and as Harrier Requirements Officer. He then attended the Naval War College earning an M.A. in National Strategic Studies. He then completed a Joint tour serving as the Operations Officer for the United States Special Operations Command Wargame Center from 2012-2014.

Colonel Bedell commanded VMR-1, “The Roadrunners”, from 2014 to 2016 followed by a year as the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Current Operations Officer. He attended the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies as a CMC Fellow, earning a Master’s of International Public Policy. He was then assigned to Marine Forces Korea where he served as the Liaison to the 7th Air Force at Osan Air Base, South Korea. He previously served as the Director of the CMC Safety Division before taking command of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Colonel Bedell has been awarded the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with Strike/Flight Numeral 14, Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various unit and campaign awards.

Gayle Miller, Ex-Officio Member

Gayle Miller serves as the chief deputy of policy at the California Department of Finance. Ms. Miller has been senior policy advisor for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration since 2018. She was deputy controller, and director of policy in the Office of the State Controller from 2017 to 2018. She served as a principal consultant in the Office of the California State Senate President pro Tempore from 2016 to 2018. She held several positions in the California State Senate, including consultant in the Office of Research from 2014 to 2016, staff director for the Governance and Finance Committee from 2006 to 2014 and principal consultant at the Revenue and Taxation Committee from 2001 to 2005. She was director of government affairs at Anthem Blue Cross from 2005 to 2006, legislative director in the Office of Assemblymember Alan Lowenthal from 1999 to 2001 and legislative aid and Assembly fellow in the Office of Assemblymember Tom Torlakson from 1997 to 1999.

Ms. Miller earned a Master of Business Administration degree in strategy and communications from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Business Administration degree in economics and finance from Columbia University.

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Kimberly J. Becker | President/CEO

Kimberly J. Becker is President and CEO of San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, the owner and operator of San Diego International Airport (SAN). Ms. Becker is responsible for fiscal management and operational oversight of the San Diego International Airport.

Ms. Becker has been in the role since 2017, overseeing several capital improvement projects including the $3 billion New T1 program that will replace Terminal 1 with a larger, more efficient facility and other improvements that enhance the airport experience.

During Ms. Becker’s tenure, the airport has experienced record-high passenger growth and expanded the airport’s nonstop network to more than 70 destinations worldwide. Under her leadership, SAN has been recognized for its environmental and sustainability efforts, including being named the second-ever carbon neutral airport in North America. Ms. Becker has been named “Woman of the Year” by the San Diego Chapter of Advancing Women in Transportation and “CEO of the Year, Government” by the San Diego Business Journal.

Before joining the Airport Authority, Ms. Becker was the Director of Aviation for Mineta San José International Airport (SJC) and held operations and environmental positions at Lockheed Air Terminal, now Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) in California, and Teterboro Airport (TEB) in New Jersey.

Ms. Becker is dedicated to being an active partner in the community. She currently serves as a board member for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and the Kyoto Symposium Organization.She is an executive committee member for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and Chair of the San Diego Tourism Authority.

Ms. Becker is actively engaged with Airports Council International-North America, for which she serves on the Board of Directors and as a U.S. Policy Council member. Additionally, Ms. Becker serves on that Board’s Large Hub, Commercial Management, Nominating, and Audit committees. Also, within the aviation and travel industry, Ms. Becker is the Policy Committee Chair of Gateway Airports Council, a Policy Review committee member of the American Association of Airport Executives, and serves on the Board of Directors of California Airports Council.

Ms. Becker holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in business administration/aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.