For Immediate Release

Release No. ASW 03-04
March 29, 2004
Contact: John Clabes, Roland Herwig
Phone: (405) 954-7500

Washington, D.C. — FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey has selected Ava L. Wilkerson, as the new administrator of the agency’s Southwest Region. The region includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico and also serves as a vital link to the FAA’s efforts in aviation safety and operations in Mexico and South America. Wilkerson previously served as director of the FAA’s international aviation office.

“Ava Wilkerson brings a strong safety and international portfolio to the Southwest Region,” Blakey said. “Her knowledge will prove invaluable as the FAA works to enhance U.S. leadership in international aviation.”

Wilkerson, a 29-year government veteran, replaces Ruth A. Leverenz, who had been serving as both Southwest regional administrator and assistant administrator for regions and center operations. Leverenz will continue to serve as assistant administrator.

Wilkerson will assume command of one of the nation’s busiest pieces of airspace and aviation operations. In addition to the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex, home to the nation’s 3rd busiest airport, the region also operates the agency’s rotorcraft directorate and the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, a 500-acre research base located in Oklahoma City. The Southwest Region has major responsibilities in the FAA’s efforts in aviation safety and operations with Mexico and South America.

Wilkerson had been in charge of the FAA's international program since 2001. Previously, she had been deputy director of the FAA’s Flight Standards Service, which includes the agency’s 3,500-member aviation safety inspector workforce.

Before joining the FAA, Wilkerson was employed at the Defense Contract Management District office in California where she monitored prime and subcontractors supporting the F16 and F18 aircraft. She received national honors for this work.