Four named to Endowment board

The USAFA Endowment is pleased to welcome four new directors to its Board of Directors: Stephen M. Dickson ’79; Leonard C. “Lucky” Ekman ’63; Michael Ross ’81; and Thomas A. Stein ’70.

“These men bring a wealth of proven business experience and organizational skills from the private sector to the Endowment, as well as a focused commitment to military service as Academy graduates and former officers in the United States Air Force,” said Maj. Gen. (Ret) Mark Volcheff, President and CEO of the USAFA Endowment. “The unique skill sets these board directors bring to the Endowment will enhance our ability to serve the Academy in its mission to produce leaders of character for the Air Force and our nation.”

Stephen M. Dickson ’79

Captain Steve Dickson is Senior Vice President-Flight Operations for Delta Air Lines. He oversees Delta’s day-to-day flight operations on six continents, as well as Delta’s pilot training operations, pilot standards, technical and operational support, pilot staffing and scheduling, operational quality assurance and regulatory compliance. He also provides direction to Delta’s 13,000+ pilots and an internal support team of 400 employees at Delta’s Atlanta headquarters and around the world.

A 26-year Delta veteran, Steve has served in a variety of leadership positions. Assuming his current responsibilities in September 2006, he is the longest-serving head of Flight Operations in Delta’s history. Under his leadership, Delta has achieved unprecedented levels of flight safety and operational performance that has made it the model for the airline industry in the U.S. and internationally. He is currently qualified and flies the line as an A320 Captain and has also flown the B727, B737, B757 and B767 during his career at Delta. Captain Dickson is the chairman of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operations Committee. He is also the past chairman of two Federal Advisory Committees: the Air Traffic Management Advisory Committee (ATMAC), and the NextGen Implementation Task Force, commonly known in industry circles as “Task Force 5.”

In these and other industry roles he has continued to be a strong advocate for Safety Management Systems and improvements to our National Airspace System, specifically NextGen. A former USAF Officer and F-15 fighter pilot, Captain Dickson is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, where he led the Cadet Wing as the Cadet Wing Commander in the fall of 1978. He is also a magna cum laude graduate of the Georgia State University College of Law.

Col. (Ret.) Leonard C. “Lucky” Ekman ’63

Col. (Ret.) Lucky Ekman ’63 earned his nickname flying F-105s in over 350 missions during the war in Vietnam, including 287 missions over North Vietnam and 1,000 hours in combat.

Between combat tours, Ekman had an Olmsted Scholarship to Geneva. After his second tour, Ekman returned to the United States Air Force Academy where he taught Political Science, served as an AOC, and was a soaring instructor. After his Academy tour, Ekman flew F-4 and F-16 fighters. He ended his Air Force career as a Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, chronicling the collapse of the Soviet Union’s military establishment.

In 1990, Ekman joined Snow Aviation International, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, where he served as Vice President of Government Affairs. He also directed the test program for Snow Aviation’s performance enhanced C-130.

Lucky and his wife Kaye are the parents of two career Air Force officers, Brig. Gen. Kenneth P. Ekman ’91 and Lt. Col. Katrina A. Taylor ’96. Lucky is now retired, but stays in the air, serving as a glider pilot instructor in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Michael Ross ’81

A former captain in the U.S. Air Force, Michael Ross ’81 is the Executive Director and Financial Advisor for Morgan Stanley in the San Francisco Bay area. He has nearly 30 years of financial management experience, serving in management positions at Morgan Stanley, Smith Barney, Shearson Lehman Brothers, and EF Hutton & Company.

Michael joined Morgan Stanley as a portfolio manager in 1997. He co-founded both the Portfolio Management Institute (PMI) and the Academy of Certified Portfolio Managers. He was the past president of PMI and currently serves as president of the Academy of Certified Portfolio Managers.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and a Master of Arts Degree from State University of New York.

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Thomas A. Stein ’70

Tom Stein ’70 began active duty at Stanford University where he graduated with a MS in Structural Mechanics in 1971, followed by assignment to the Sacramento Air Logistics Center at McClellan Air Force Base in California. He worked in a Service Engineering Division responsible for Aircraft Structural Integrity for F-104, F-100, F-105 and F-111 aircraft fleets worldwide. In 1974 he was assigned to the Aeronautical Systems Division at Write Patterson AFG in Ohio, where he worked in a fatigue and fracture group that supported turbine engine development programs for A-10, B-1, F-15 and F-16 aircraft programs. In 1976 he served as a program manager for the development and integration of the Pratt & Whitney F100 engine for the F-16.

Tom separated from active duty in 1978, but continued his military career as a Reservist IMA. He retired from the Air Force Reserve in 1994 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

In the private sector, Tom distinguished himself in the commercial construction industry. For more than 25 years he has been involved in many of Oregon’s signature construction projects, including the Oregon Convention Center, Fox Tower, PDX Airport expansions, as well as many college and university projects throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho. As Operations Vice President for Hoffman Construction, Tom has overseen multi-million dollar construction projects for Fortune 500 client companies that included Nike, Intel, Boeing, Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

“I look forward to working with our board directors as we move into an exciting new era of private philanthropy on behalf of the Air Force Academy,” said Randy Jayne, Board Chairman of the USAFA Endowment. “We have assembled a dynamic team of men and women who share a commitment to the Academy and to the cadets who are training to be leaders of character as they follow The Long Blue Line.”


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