John Allen, vice president and chief safety officer of JetBlue and the Honorable Chris Hart, chair of the national transportation safety board (NTSB) were the final guests for the fall 2014 management department speaker series. A crowd of students, faculty and staff gathered to hear from these industry leaders who were introduced by Lysa Scully, general manager of LaGuardia Airport.

Allen retired from a 22-year career in the Federal Aviation Administration before joining JetBlue where he is responsible for maintaining JetBlue’s focus and practice of safe operations both in the air and on the ground. Allen is a brigadier general (retired) with the Air Force Reserves. He held various command positions during his 31-year active duty and reserve military career to include vice wing commander and squadron commander.

Allen described the important things he learned along his career path and advised students not to be risk averse, but get out of their comfort zones. He commented that you will come to understand that “What you learn at Vaughn sows the seeds for the future . . . you can, and will have an impact.”

Hart joined the NTSB after a long career in transportation safety, including a previous term as a member of the NTSB.  Immediately before returning to the Board in 2009, Hart was deputy director for air traffic safety oversight at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  Designated by the President for a two-year term as vice chairman of the board on August 18, 2009, he was also nominated by President Obama in August 2013 for a second term as Board member. He has served as acting NTSB chairman since April 26, 2014 and in July 2014 was nominated by the President to serve as chairman of the NTSB.

Hart’s talk focused on how the NTSB operates to address and investigate accidents and other concerns. He gave real life examples of how increasing automation and human factors can affect pilot decisions and performance and offered recommendations on how to potentially alleviate some of these issues. He summarized his talk by saying that “In order to continue improving safety, the industry must address issues of professionalism, overzealous criminalization, and increasing automation.”

According to Vaughn President Sharon DeVivo, “It is wonderful to have speakers of this caliber come to Vaughn to share their insights and answer tough questions from students and faculty. We offer this program as a service to our students and will continue the series in the spring.”

To see a video of Allen and Hart’s presentations, click here.

John Allen, Dr. Maxine Lubner, management chair and the Honorable Chris Hart.