Gary Donald, Founder & Chairman of the Board of Directors
Gary Donald has over thirty-six years of program management and engineering experience. He served in the Army until 1972 before transitioning into the Army Aviation Systems Command from 1972-1982. During that time he was involved in the development and testing of the Blackhawk and Apache helicopters and separated as a GM-13. He then worked for Cobro Corporation until 1992 holding the positions of Program Manager, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Engineer. In 1992, Mr. Donald, along with two partners, used their experience to form Avion, Inc., where he served as President until his recent retirement in January of 2014, when his son stepped into the role.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University in 1970. Mr. Donald is a Rotarian.
Chad Donald, President
Chad Donald, President of Avion Solutions, Inc., held an assortment of mechanical jobs before his career at Avion began in the segment of Avion which is now AVTASK, a separate privately held company. He worked primarily with the Fabrication and Implementation of the Universal Static Balance Fixture (USBF). In 1995, he began supporting the Flight Safety Parts program as a Technical Specialist in St. Louis, Missouri.
When Avion moved to Alabama, Mr. Donald supported AMRDEC at Redstone Arsenal for ten years before moving into the role of Director of Special Projects, where he was responsible for multiple contracts, IR&D projects, and proposals. In 2010, he transitioned to Executive Vice President, where he provided oversight for all operations. He became President in January of 2014 upon the retirement of his father, Gary Donald.
He is a 1993 graduate of Universal Technical Institute in Houston, Texas, with a degree in Marine Technology.
Evan Wagner, Vice President & COO
Evan Wagner joined Avion in 2003 and became Director of Operations in 2012. While at Avion, Mr. Wagner has supported multiple Army Aviation customers and platforms in the areas of airworthiness, systems engineering, sustainment, aeromechanics, and propulsion.
Evan's experience prior to joining Avion includes engineering support to Army Aviation programs for Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability (RAM) and Aircraft Survivability (ASE), as well as working as a nuclear steam supply systems engineer in the nuclear power industry.
Evan earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University.
Kerry Doughty, Vice President & CFO
Kerry Doughty joined Avion in 2005 and is responsible for all accounting and financial reporting and transactions. Prior to coming to work for Avion, Kerry worked for three different commercial companies as a Cost Accountant, Controller, Vice President and Secretary to the Board of Directors. Combined with his 12 years at Avion, Kerry has over 37 years' experience in financial analysis, reporting and job costing. His experience also includes government contracts and payroll, 27 years of experience in budgeting, cost pricing, financial planning and internal controls and 32 years of supervisory experience.
Kerry also serves as Trustee of Avion's 401(k) and Plan Administrator of the ESOP Plans. He is Past President of the New South chapter of the ESOP Association, a Board member of HASBAT and a member of the Institute of Management Accountants and past president of the local chapter of the Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals. Kerry is also Vice President of the Miss. State University Huntsville/Decatur alumni chapter.
Kerry graduated from Mississippi State University in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He served four years for the United States Navy.
Steve Cope, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Steve Cope is Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Avion Solutions. Steve provides leadership and oversight of new business development opportunities in government and commercial markets.
Prior to joining Avion in 2006, Steve held senior leadership roles with three aerospace companies including Micro Craft, Allied Aerospace, and Calspan Corporation. He has had roles in business development, mergers and acquisitions, and contract negotiations. He was instrumental in helping to establish the Service Contracts Division of Calspan Corporation.
Steve also served as an elected official of the municipal government in Tullahoma for more than 21 years, including serving as Mayor. In this position, he held many political appointments at the state and national levels and has close relationships in Washington DC. He has served as a Congressional Appointee for Tennessee's Fourth District for more than 15 years on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Valley Corridor (TVC), currently serving as Chairman of the Board. This is an organization that includes Tennessee, Southern Virginia, Northern Alabama, Southern Kentucky and Western North Carolina. He currently serves as an appointee of the Community Liaison Program for General Ellen Pawlikowski, USAF AFMC Commander
Steve is a Rotarian, a past Rotary President, and a 4-time Paul Harris Fellow.
Ken Hovanes, Director of Information Technology
Ken Hovanes gained his 25 years of Information Technology experience in both commercial and government venues, including supporting the United States Army Headquarters in Europe as a database administrator and programmer.
Prior to joining Avion in 2008, Ken successfully led modernization and reorganization efforts to streamline operations and support at one of the largest library information vendors in the US. He has also held leadership positions at SirsiDynix and Time Domain. His varied skills include database design and management, ERP systems, operations, system admin, virtualization and support, diverse network administration, SAP Basis Administration, integration, disaster recovery, network administration, and data center management.
Ken earned his Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Randy Buckner, Director of Research and Development
Randy Buckner is the Director of Research and Development at Avion Solutions. He is responsible for the research, development and deployment of advanced technologies into Army Aviation systems and expanding these technologies into the commercial sector.
Randy retired from the Civil Service after 36 years of federal service leaving as the Chief of the Sustainment Engineering Division, Aviation Engineering Directorate, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama since 2003. He was responsible for management of Critical Safety Items for all aviation systems, conformance and compliance oversight for alternate source vendors and other sustainment engineering functions. Randy also completed work as an Aerospace and General Engineer for the U.S. Army when he was released from Active Duty as a commissioned officer in the Army.
Randy has served in many positions within the army aviation community since his separation from active duty in 1983. Those positions include Deputy Project Manager for Aviation Electronic Combat, Technical Division Chief of the Special Operations Project Office, Systems Engineer for Special Operations Aircraft, and Special Staff for Digitization to the Program Executive Officer for Aviation Systems of the Battlefield.
Randy is a 1977 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and received his Master’s in Engineering Administration from George Washington University in 1990.
Kim Taylor, Director of Contracts and Human Resources
Kim Taylor began her career at Arrow Electronics as a Product Manager, where she spent seven years before joining Avion. In 2001, she joined Avion Solutions as the Contracts Manager and later assumed responsibility for Human Resources.
In her position, she is responsible for administering and overseeing Avion contracts, maintaining the company benefits programs, and ensuring federal and state employment regulation compliance. She has a working knowledge with the FAR, DFARs and GSA.
Kim received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Marketing from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1994.
Ray Toth, Director of Corporate Strategy and Business Development
Buzz came to Avion in 2015 following 26 years of service in the US Air Force as a fighter/test pilot. He has operational and combat experience in the F-15E and F-16CJ, as well as flight test experience in all versions of the F-16A-D, T-38C, and F-22A. He retired as the Commander of the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC), Arnold AFB, Tennessee in 2015. While at AEDC, he led the largest and most advanced complex of flight simulation test facilities in the world with over 2,400 personnel and an annual budget of over $400M and $10B in assets. He also held complete authority for life cycle logistics and sustainment activities for over 2,000 test enabling systems as well as all installation functions such as police, fire, fuels, logistics, warehousing, civil engineering and medical response.
Buzz holds Master of Science degrees from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Aeronautical Engineering and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in National Resource Strategy. He is also a graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.