November 14, 2023 – Seattle, WA-based Reffett Associates has been called in by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to lead in its search for an executive director labor & employee relations and associate administrator, security & hazardous materials. Managing directors Eric Reffett and Marshall Reffett are leading the assignments along side Thomas Young, VP of operations. “It’s an honor to be a trusted partner of the government at the federal level,” said Mr. Young. “We are looking forward to another successful collaboration.”
Reffett Associates explains that these roles will work in support of FAA initiatives including their people-based campaign to maximize the benefits of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, and to initiate a safety culture campaign across the FAA and industry. These initiatives act in support of Department of Transportation (DOT) objectives and the goals of global aviation safety, operational excellence, and innovation.
The role of executive director labor & employee relations will establish a strategy supporting the FAA’s vision and mission to cover 45,000 employees, nine labor unions and 14 bargaining agreements. This position will also serve as chief representative for the Federal Aviation Administration on all labor matters.
The position of associate administrator, security & hazardous materials will develop and implement programs that support national security, aviation safety, and the National Airspace System (NAS). This position is the highest ranking in the Security and Hazardous Materials Safety organization overseeing a budget of $118 million, 550 positions including eight executives and 55 senior employees.
Highly qualified candidates will be sought for both roles in the effort to support the FAA in its goal to maintain a robust talent pool.
The Federal Aviation Administration provides leadership in over 35 government led programs and initiatives accounting for air and space travel, providing the safest most efficient aerospace system in the world.
Reffett Associates is a nationally recognized executive search firm. The boutique talent provider has extensive experience in retail and consumer packaged goods, private equity, commercial and federal services, government sectors, and associations and non-profits. Its team is made up of executives with tangible industry experience, possessing real world, relatable knowledge about the challenges executives face in managing talent in a competitive marketplace.
Dr. Eric Reffett joined the search firm after working for Booz Allen Hamilton, most recently leading many of Booz Allen’s efforts in the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear arena. He served for over 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. Dr. Eric Reffett specializes in identifying and recruiting highly technical talent for a variety of government clients.
Mr. Reffett has spent the last 15 years recruiting talent for the federal government and numerous private companies nationwide. He joined the search firm after having worked for former U.S. Rep. David G. Reichert of Washington State. Mr. Reffett has conducted private sector searches for the Seattle Mariners, Bartell Drugs, and Metropolitan Market, in addition to his other federal work for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Commerce, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Mr. Young has 13 years of federal legislative, policy, and constituent services experience. He works closely with a number of leading industry groups including the Clean Technology Alliance, The Center for Advanced Manufacturing Puget Sound and the aerospace and maritime supply chain.
Searches for the Federal Government
Reffett Associates has been enlisted to help fill a series of key senior executive roles in technical and hard-to-fill positions for the federal government. Since 2022, Reffett has assisted the U.S. Army Material Command at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL with recruitments for three highly qualified expert (HQE) positions.
Reffett Associates Recruits First Woman Superintendent of the United States Merchant Marine Academy
Reffett Associates has assisted in the recruitment of rear admiral Joanna Nunan as the first woman superintendent of the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Point, NY. She succeeds vice admiral Jack Buono. After announcing the appointment, transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg said Ms. Nunan is: “The right leader at the right time for the Merchant Marine Academy.” Eric Reffett, managing director, said: “After an intensive search across the maritime industry and academia, admiral Nunan rose to the top as the best candidate to lead the Merchant Marine Academy into the future.”
To be considered an HQE, individuals must possess “uncommon and recognized knowledge, skills, and experience in a field of expertise, and judgment that is accorded authority and status by peers or the public,” said the firm. HQEs are considered on par with senior executive service (SES) positions. HQE roles inside of the armed forces carry the status of a lieutenant general.
Reffett Associates also recently filled the position of provost for the Naval War College. This placement, said the firm, is the latest in a string of academic recruitment for the nation’s military institutions of higher learning including:
- Chief learning officer of the Air Force for Air Education and Training Command.
- Dean of the Aerospace School of Medicine.
- President for the Naval Postgraduate School.
- Provost for the Naval Postgraduate School.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media