SC Aerospace is led by a private-sector advisory board with representatives from small to large aerospace-related firms from across the state.
SC Aerospace Chairman
Advisory Board Members
Abdel E. Bayoumi
Director, USC McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research, Associate Dean for Corporate Relations
University of South Carolina College of Engineering and Computing
Dr. Bayoumi has over 35 years of teaching and research experience. Currently, he is Director of the USC Center for Predictive Maintenance, Associate Dean for Corporate Relations and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. Before joining USC, he was Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University, a project manager at Hewlett-Packard Company, and Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University. He has been actively involved in developing strong programs in mechanical, nuclear and biomedical engineering. His research activities have been focused in predictive maintenance, big data analytics, and predictive maintenance, mechanical behavior of materials, manufacturing, design, and health monitoring systems. He has published 3 book chapters, over 100 papers and supervised more than 15 Ph.D. and 40 MS students.
President & CEO
Cumberland Highstreet Partners, Inc
Over 30 years of experience in aerospace specialty materials manufacturing with ATI in leadership positions encompassing engineering, global procurement, operations management, domestic US and international sales and commercial executive for aero engine and airframe markets as well as overall business P&L responsibilities.
Aerospace is a technology-based industry. The aerospace “mentality” has always been focused on absolute quality and performance. The aerospace industry is dynamic and constantly evolving to improve mankind’s ability to fly – safely and efficiently.
& Field Team Operations
Leslie Farmer is the Communications Lead for Lockheed Martin’s Greenville, S.C. site and Field Team Operations. In this capacity, she is responsible for executive communications, community and media relations, and employee communications. She also manages marketing communications and customer relations for the Greenville site. Ms. Farmer graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in Communications, and currently serves on the iMAGINE Upstate Impact Board as well as the South Carolina Aerospace Advisory Council. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, she served as the Director of Marketing at Meals on Wheels of Greenville.
Kenneth P. Rusterholz
President & Chief Executive Officer
Kenneth P. Rusterholz – President & Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Rusterholz as President & CEO has overall responsibility and accountability for the execution performance of TIGHITCO across all elements of its business model. This is inclusive of the three divisions: AeroStructures, Insulation Products, and Overhaul Support Services. Mr. Rusterholz has joined TIGHITCO in early 2019 with over 35 years of experience across a wide range of industries and disciplines having demonstrated transformational leadership skills with a proven track record of developing and implementing strategies that bring rapid and sustained value. Prior to joining TIGHITCO, Mr. Rusterholz has served in executive leadership positions with such organizations as Unitech Aerospace, B/E Aerospace and Allied Signal. Mr. Rusterholz holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine/Mechanical Engineering from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, a Master of Business Administration from the University of New Haven, and multiple Professional Development Programs from the Kellogg School of Management, Harvard Business School, Chicago Business School and other institutions.
Director of Operations
Stan Griffs received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1994 from Clemson University. He has been in manufacturing for over 20 years. For the last 8 years, he has been the Director of RBC AeroStructures which manufactures control rods and swaged tubes for the commercial and military markets. In 2014, he relocated his facility from Georgia.
Aerospace is a technically challenging field. The concept of seeing your product flying around the world, supporting the US military across the globe, and ultimately touching the lives of billions of people makes for a very rewarding career. It’s also a fast growing, secure field of work that will be in demand for years to come.
Director of State and Local Government Operations
Boeing South Carolina
Paul V. Kumler has over 30 years engineering and senior management experience. Mr. Kumler spend the majority of his career in the aircraft industry with experiences at Cessna Aircraft , The Boeing Company, and Lockheed Martin. He currently serves as president of KTM Solutions, Inc, an engineering services company he founded in April 2005. Mr. Kumler received a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University. He also completed several graduate engineering courses at Wichita State University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of South Carolina. Outside of the office, Mr. Kumler participates in numerous volunteer activities, primarily through his church. Mr. Kumler married and the proud parent of a son and daughter who are currently pursuing their own career paths. Mr. and Mrs. Kumler currently live in Simpsonville, South Carolina.
My Aerospace career started out when I joined the US Air Force back in 1960. It was not a tough choice to become involved in manufacturing of tooling and parts for various aircraft and support equipment for both military and commercial aviation. With my enjoyment of building things, I founded Leatherwood Manufacturing in 1986. It has been most enjoyable in working with the US Military in building aviation products such as US Navy Aircraft component parts and Launch and Recovery Equipment for Navy Aircraft Carriers.
In 2005, Leatherwood got the opportunity to enter into a new field of manufacturing and assembly of Commerical Aircraft Components and Assemblies and we continue to build on these programs today. My experience in the Aerospace Business has been very enjoyable and rewarding.
With 15 years of experience in the aerospace industry, Jason Marlin brings extensive first hand aerospace manufacturing experience to the SC Aerospace Advisory Board. Jason is the President of Champion Aerospace, which is located in Liberty, SC, and has held Director level positions at aerospace companies located in the New York, Chicago and Philadelphia areas. He has a passion for aviation, technology and personnel development.
Like many children, I was always amazed with the power of flight and had a desire to be part of it. The aerospace industry is a growth industry that embraces new technologies, which made it a great opportunity for professional growth.
Director of Business Development
John has a 20 year business background in healthcare and manufacturing and is a South Carolina native. He is responsible for bringing aerospace work to JBE and adding a location in the Charleston, SC area to support the Boeing plant in 2014.
Man’s desire to fly fascinates me and I want to work in a field where we are making this desire a reality with cutting edge technology.
Director of Aerospace Sales & Marketing
Don Myers is the Director of Aerospace Sales & Marketing at Toray Composite Materials America, Inc. Don has been with Toray since 2010 and is responsible for leading the management of their commercial aerospace unit. His primary roles include the integration of new aerospace programs, program management, long range business planning and marketing strategies in the aerospace sector, as well as global customer support strategy. During his time at Toray, Don has led the team responsible for developing the architecture to support Toray’s global prepreg demand in the Boeing Commercial Aircraft programs.
Prior to joining Toray Composites (America) Inc., he worked in the corporate and general aviation industry as a source consultant and in rotary and fixed wing acquisitions. Don is a prior military aviator and has extensive experience with commercial, military, and corporate aircraft operations, sales and finance, supply chain management, and Federal Aviation Regulations.
Don is originally from Columbia, South Carolina, but his military and professional career have moved him across the U.S. a number of times. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and in 2012 completed Advanced Certifications for Senior Executives at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Don lives in the Puget Sound area of Washington State and enjoys flying, hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding, and college football.
Daniel (Dan) O’Connor is a career Aerospace professional with over 30 years of experience in Engineering, Engineering Management, Program Management, and Business Development. He has supported both large and small companies that include Boeing Defense and Commercial aircraft, General Dynamics, Lockheed and D3 Technologies/LMI Aerospace.
Prior to joining the Westport team, Dan built, staffed and managed the D3/LMI Southeast Engineering Division in Greenville, SC. During his tenure there as Director of Engineering, he procured and/or managed the support of new aircraft development programs with Lockheed, Boeing, Airbus, Honda Jet, Spirit Aerospace, Triumph and many more. During this time, Dan has also been active in support of the Upstate Aviation Cluster for efforts to stimulate growth and attract aviation companies to South Carolina and is an active member of the South Carolina Aerospace Advisory Board since 2015.
Currently, Dan is focused on supporting his clients with the right staffing to support their growth efforts in South Carolina and throughout the US.
Acclaim Advanced Manufacturing LLC
Jason started his career in aerospace as a design engineer and grew to successive roles in production management before working with private equity firms as a turnaround executive. In 2007, Jason co-founded and was CEO of ADEX Machining Technologies, a manufacturer of precision 5-axis machined components for Boeing, GE Aviation, NASA, etc.. Jason left ADEX in 2014 and now leads Premo Ventures, a private equity group based in Greenville, South Carolina which acquires and modernizes small manufacturers to transform into aerospace capable. He is also active in innovation activities and is an Angel Investor in high-tech startups.
Steve Prout joined Solar Atmospheres in the Fall of 2013 to establish Solar’s newest vacuum heat treating facility in Greenville, South Carolina. This facility gained Nadcap (National Aerospace and Defense Accreditation Program) accreditation within 90 days of start-up in September, 2015 and AS9100 approval shortly thereafter. Solar specializes in vacuum heat treatments and is capable of supporting research and development activity through large scale production. Solar also operates a 24 foot long vacuum furnace in the Greenville facility, the largest vacuum furnace in the US Southeast.
Steve started his career in commercial heat treating and brazing in 1996 and has held a variety of positions in the heat treating world before coming to Solar. These roles include Production Manager, Plant Manager, Business Development Manager, and General Manager for organizations such as Paulo Products Company, Bluewater Thermal Solutions and Bodycote. Steve is a member of the ASM International, the Metal Treating Institute and serves on the Business Advisory Board for his alma mater Bryan College in Dayton, TN as well as serving on the Board for Coldstream Christian Camp in Adams, TN.
President and CEO
Steve Townes, a well-known entrepreneur in the aerospace services arena, is President, CEO and a Director of Ranger Aerospace, the company that he founded in early 1997. He is also chairman of ACL AirShop, an air cargo services and leasing company with operations at 40 of the world’s largest cargo hub airports.
Townes’ diverse background spans three decades in the commercial, corporate, and military aviation industry. Before going independent with Ranger Aerospace in 1997, he was previously Vice Chairman, and earlier President, of Sabreliner Corporation’s heavy aircraft services divisions. Townes was Executive Vice President of Stevens Aviation, a $115 million multi-city aviation services chain which more than doubled in size and made two acquisitions while Townes was its chief operations, marketing and technical services officer.
Townes has also been Vice President of Major Programs and Marketing of the Dee Howard Aerospace Corporation, as well as a Program Leader and Marketing Leader in LTV Aerospace and Defense. Townes is an engineering graduate of West Point. Steve earned the coveted Eisenhower Award upon graduation there. He also holds an MBA from Long Island University and completed the PMD program at Harvard Business School. Steve named his company in honor of special operations forces, where he also has personal heritage. He served in the 1st/75th Ranger Battalion as a young airborne infantry officer, and graduated #1 from the Army’s Ranger School.
VP of Mobile Services
I’ve been in the corporate aviation field for 23 years. My Career started with Cessna Citation in Greensboro North Carolina, where I worked my way up from a technician on the shop floor to General Manager of the facility. I continued my career at Stevens Aviation in Greenville South Carolina as Executive Vice President of Operations.
Recently, I left Stevens Aviation to accept a role with Constant Aviation. My role with Constant aviation is Vice President of Mobile Services. In this role, I will be responsible for the mobile repair teams that are stationed around the country and the growth of the business. Constant Aviation is new to South Carolina and has opened an office at the Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU).