CAAFI® activities are led by the Executive Committee of CAAFI, which is composed of:

Administrative Leadership Team

Steve Csonka

Steve Csonka (2012 - present)
CAAFI Executive Director

Steve Csonka is a commercial aviation professional with 35+ years of broad airline, OEM, and fuels experience. Steve's strong technical background, which spans the breadth of the commercial aircraft/engine life-cycle, from design through operations, has led to engagements in business development and in long-term strategic planning for the aviation enterprise. Such work has focused on the nexus of future product requirements, technology progression, and industry value propositions, including aspects of policy, advocacy, regulatory affairs, and environmental impact. Steve is a strong industry advocate who seeks pragmatic solutions to the challenges of aviation sustainability—resulting in his current focus on alternative fuels and the work of CAAFI.

Chris Tindal

Chris Tindal (2018 - present)
CAAFI Assistant Director and Business Team Lead

Chris joined CAAFI as Assistant Director after a 40-year career in the Navy. Previously, Chris was the Director for Operational Energy underneath the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Navy for Energy, where he was in charge of setting energy policy and direction for the Department of the Navy and promoting the adoption of alternative fuels and renewable energy resources. He was the Navy leader of the pioneering USDA/DOE/Navy Alternative Fuels Initiative which developed programs to launch the advanced biofuels industry. In his role, Chris successfully led the Great Green Fleet effort, in which the U.S. Navy acquired and used 77 million gallons of F-76 alternative fuel blend for their ships in the Great Green Fleet deployment in 2016. Chris is also an Adjunct Professor on the faculty of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Queensland. In that role, Professor Tindal assists in exploring research and development opportunities for QUT, as well as investigating potential opportunities to establish biorefineries in the State of Queensland. Chris graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1980 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Nate Brown

Nate Brown
FAA, Head Advisor for Strategy & Implementation

Nate is Head Advisor of CAAFI and provides management and strategy assistance to the Executive Director.  As a Policy Analyst with the FAA’s Office of Environment and Energy he also supports strategies and research to address aviation environmental impacts, energy needs and climate change impacts. He has previously worked on international climate change initiatives at the U.S. Department of State.

Dr. Kristin Lewis

Dr. Kristin C. Lewis
Volpe Center/U.S. DOT, Head Research and Technical Advisor

Kristin serves as the Head Research and Technical Advisor for CAAFI, providing technical and environmental coordination for the Executive Director. Kristin is an Environmental Biologist with the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. In addition to her work with CAAFI, Kristin has led the development of the Freight and Fuel Transportation Optimization Tool (FTOT) and supports the FAA’s participation in the ICAO Alternative Fuels Task Force (AFTF). Kristin has also participated in analyses on assessing impacts of aircraft noise on National Park visitors, environmental implications of hydrokinetic energy technologies, and impacts of fracking on motor vehicle carrier crash incidences, among others.

Peter Herzig

Peter Herzig
Volpe Center/U.S. DOT, CAAFI Program Specialist

Peter serves as CAAFI's Program Specialist providing a variety of technical and coordination support. Peter is an Environmental Protection Specialist with the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. In addition to his work with CAAFI, Peter provides geospatial analyses for a variety of transportation infrastructure projects, including taxiway analyses and FAA's unstaffed infrastructure. Prior to joining Volpe, Peter worked on a number of projects aimed at the corporate adoption of responsible business practices for a more sustainable global economy.

Certification/Qualification Team

Mark Rumizen

Mark Rumizen
FAA, Certification Lead

Mark is the Aviation Fuels Specialist in the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Division and has been employed by the FAA since 1991. Prior to the FAA, Mark was employed by GE Aircraft Engines and Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in various engineering and marketing roles.

Sustainability Team

Dr. James Hileman

Dr. James Hileman
FAA, Sustainability Team Co-Lead

Dr. Jim Hileman is the Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Environment for the Federal Aviation Administration. Prior to this, he was the Associate Director of the Partnership for AiR Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction (PARTNER). Within the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, his research focused on modeling the impacts of alternative jet fuels and innovative aircraft concepts on energy efficiency, noise, air quality and global climate change. He received his B.S., M.S., and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. He was awarded the 2010 FAA Excellence in Aviation Research award for his team's work on alternative fuels and he was also the FAA Centers of Excellence Faculty of the Year Award recipient in 2010.

R&D Team

Dr. M. Gurhan Andac

Dr. M. Gurhan Andac
GE Aviation, R&D Co-Lead

Dr. Andac is the Engineering Leader for Aviation Fuels and Additives at GE Aviation. His past responsibilities have centered on gas turbine combustor aerodynamic design, fuels, and additives, encompassing the military, commercial, marine, and industrial platforms. He has extensive fuel testing and evaluation experience, and is deeply immersed in fuels certification, qualification, and specification development arenas. He holds M.S. and PhD Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California.

Joe Ellsworth

Dr. Joseph Ellsworth
Boeing, R&D Co-Lead

Dr. Ellsworth is responsible for developing new business opportunities directed to sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), shaping appropriate environmental policies to enable wide spread SAF use, and managing the sustainable fuels R&D program at Boeing. Prior to joining Boeing’s Environmental Strategy team, he managed Boeing intellectual property (IP) where he harvested and protected Boeing IP, managed outside counsel in preparing and prosecuting patent applications, and led IP training for engineers across all business units and seven different countries. Prior to Boeing, he was a chemical patent attorney focusing on biologics, pharmaceuticals, small molecules, catalysis, and fuels processing/upgrading. Dr. Ellsworth’s PhD work focused on organic and inorganic synthesis of metal-organic frameworks for hydrogen storage and catalysis applications (author/co-author of 17 peer-reviewed articles). He is licensed to practice before the United States Patent & Trademark Office and the Missouri Bar.

Joshua Heyne

Dr. Joshua Heyne
University of Dayton, R&D Co-Lead

Dr. Heyne is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Dayton, Ohio, where he works to ignite passion and make a difference in students and society. Over the last five years, Professor Heyne has focused on aligning efforts and delivering objective criteria to help streamline the approval process of alternative jet fuels as part of the National Jet Fuels Combustion Program’s (NJFCP) 40 institutions and 150 members. Outside of the NJFCP’s integration and coordination role, Professor Heyne has worked on drop-in high-performance fuel (HPF) formulation for SAFs as well as other more fundamental combustion problems. The long-term aim of all this work is to marshal greater environmental and national security. He holds four degrees from three institutions, including a BSE from the University of Dayton, an MS from Penn State, and a PhD from Princeton.

Dr. Stephen Kramer

Dr. Stephen Kramer
Pratt & Whitney, R&D Co-Lead

Dr. Kramer manages Combustor Technology at Pratt & Whitney. He has over 21 years of experience at Pratt where he has been involved with the development of combustors for Pratt’s current military and commercial jet engines. His previous experience was as a consultant in the field of combustion and fuels. He has over 25 patents and has won several P&W leadership awards. He received his BS, MS, and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University.

Executive Director, Emeritus

Rich Altman

Richard L. Altman
CAAFI Executive Director, Emeritus

A 42 year aviation veteran, Rich spent 39 years with Pratt & Whitney initially as a propulsion engineer then in Advanced Technology Business Development. He is a founding member of the US Transportation Research Board Committee on Aviation effects on the Environment and a member of the PARTNER Center of Excellence Advisory Board. He now collaborates with various CAAFI constituents and SAF project activities, but as an independent contractor.

⇑ Back to top