EGG HARBOR TWP., N.J. – The Administrator of the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Marion C. Blakey, and FAA Air Traffic Organization Chief Operating Officer Russ Chew have announced the appointment of Wilson N. Felder, Ph.D., as the new director of the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center.
Felder succeeds Ronald Esposito, who retired after serving as acting director of the Center, since January 3.
Felder will lead one of the nation’s premier aviation, research, development, test and evaluation facilities. The Center’s world-class laboratories and top-notch engineering expertise place it at the forefront of the FAA’s efforts to modernize the U.S. air transportation system.
“The Technical Center is the headquarters for the science of aviation,” said Blakey. “Wilson Felder is both a technical expert and a business executive. He’s exceptionally well qualified to lead the research that will bring aviation into this century.”
Felder also is the executive sponsor for the FAA’s National Center of Excellence in Operations Research, a post in which he will continue as Technical Center director.
Felder most recently served as the transition executive and director for technology development in the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization, since 2003. He was responsible for the field assessment of new technologies with potential application in the National Airspace System. He led several key research programs, including: the Alaska Capstone initiative; Safe Flight 21; the Ohio River Valley Program; Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B); advanced air traffic control satellite exploration; and many safety technology initiatives aimed at reducing runway incursions.
His previous FAA position was special assistant to the director of the Terminal Business Service. He was a key participant in a comprehensive program to restructure the agency, introducing business-like management practices to its air traffic operations.
Before joining the FAA, Felder was vice president of aviation services at TRW, Inc., where he retired after 23 years of service, in 2001. At TRW, he led the company’s engineering services business with the FAA and the aviation community. His unit generated $90 million in revenue annually, which he was largely responsible for developing.
Felder has been active in the aviation community through leadership roles in: the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the Air Traffic Control Association and the Government Electronics Industries Association. He was named an associate fellow of the AIAA, in 2004. He has authored more than 20 technical publications.
Felder served for 24 years as an active and reserve Naval officer, retiring from the active reserve as a commander (special duty, intelligence). He served as the intelligence officer for the Carrier Group 4 reserve unit, and as executive officer of Naval Air Station Keflavik RU 0166.
He has been active in the community, complementing his many technical and professional accomplishments. He served as Potomac district commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America, and a board member of the West Point Parents Club.
Felder holds master’s and doctorate degrees in environmental science, and a bachelor’s degree in geology, all from the University of Virginia.