Meet The Crew
Every aviation career path is different. We measure our success by the career opportunities we create for every student.
Paul Wynns, CEO
Paul Wynns believes that the best leadership works in service to great teams. He’s lived that philosophy in communities ranging from military to startup to the world’s biggest aerospace company. Paul is a retired Naval Aviator from the S-3B Viking sea control community where his duties included leadership of the aviation safety, training, standardization, and operating procedures program for all Navy Viking pilots, world-wide. After leaving the military, Paul worked as a program manager at Boeing Defense, Space, and Security, where he and his engineering team were awarded two patents for their prototyping work. His extensive educational background includes earning aerospace degrees from the U.S. Naval Academy and Stanford University and an internship at the NASA Ames Research Center. He is currently enrolled at the University of California, San Diego Rady School of Management as a Ph.D. student.
Charlie Copeland, COO
After winning an airplane ride by selling popcorn as a Boy Scout, Charles was hooked on aviation. As irony would have it, that plane ride took place at the Manhattan Regional Airport, the current headquarters of Flex Air. Charles began his pilot training in 2006 while still in high school with the goal set to become a professional pilot. Upon graduation in 2007, the airline industry was still in turmoil, therefore he pivoted into a career as an operations manager and accountant. In 2013, Charles decided to continue his professional flight training and soar into the aviation industry. Through his flight training experiences, he developed a vision of creating affordable instruction with a holistic approach to training students. In 2015, Charles launched Flex Air. Over the years he has been type-rated in multiple aircrafts including the Citation Latitude and X+. He now flies the Boeing737 for a major cargo carrier while also managing the operations of Flex. Charles is actively involved in the National Gay Pilots Association, AOPA, NBAA Safety Committee and the Civil Air Patrol.
STEM advocate Aisha Lawrey, has 20 years of experience on this journey, most recently as an IF/THEN Ambassador selected by Lyda Hill Philanthropies and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is currently Head of Global Education Programs for Training and Certification at a leading Fortune 100 company. Her career and outreach accomplishments have been recognized by the Smithsonian Institution, where a statue of her likeness was featured in the Museum’s recent Womens’ Futures exhibit in Washington D.C. Working in industry, government, nonprofits, and education, Aisha knows how to engage many different stakeholders, at all levels. Her focus is on improving representation in the STEM workforce to make it as diverse as the mosaic of all communities across America.
Hanna Fowler is an Air Transport Pilot (ATP) currently flying as a First Officer at a wholly-owned regional airline in the Pacific Northwest. Hailing from a family of airline pilots, Hanna is active in community and industry groups at all levels, having served in leadership roles at multiple chapters of Women in Aviation International including President, Vice President, Membership Chair, and Outreach Chair. She is currently the Women’s Committee Vice Chair for the National Gay Pilot’s Association, where she promotes inclusivity of female identifying members within the aviation industry. Her experience in collegiate flight training includes service as an Adjunct Professor and the Program Director for Aviation Operations at Miramar College. Prior to her appointment as a Board Advisor at Flex Air, Hanna served as Chief Pilot at Flex Air’s San Diego, CA base of operations.
Charles (Charlie) B. Johnson is a veteran aerospace industry executive with a storied career of aviation and industry leadership. His career began in the US Air Force as a fighter pilot flying the F-105 in combat missions. In his civilian career, he was a pilot for golfer Arnold Palmer, Chief of production flight test for Learjet, Production flight test manager for Cessna Aircraft, Aviation manager for Koch Industries, and the President and Chief Operating Officer for Cessna.
During his time at Cessna and Learjet he was involved with the certification of over 25 new models of aircraft. Mr. Johnson is also a well-known advocate for electric aviation and has worked in leadership roles at Bye Aerospace, the industry-leading manufacturer of the eFlyer 2 all-electric trainer aircraft.
He has been inducted into both the Kansas and Colorado Aviation Museum Halls of Fame.
Dr. Josh Shapiro
Dr. Josh Shapiro is the Assistant Dean of Innovation and Research Affairs at UC San Diego Extension. Dr. Shapiro also leads UCSD’s Extension’s market research team, which focuses on assisting educational programs to conduct market research and curricula development for workforce and education training programs.
He was instrumental in the creation of the first Income Share Agreement (ISA) between an Extension school and a Workforce Investment Board. He has been awarded 5M in grants and philanthropy for this initiative and gained local and national media attention for this innovative program to serve underrepresented and unemployed individuals.
Dr. Shapiro holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego and a B.A. in Social Thought and Analysis from Washington University in St. Louis.
Operations Manager / EA
MHK Advanced CFI
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