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Board of Directors

Kurt Thams, Vice President

Kurt has nearly 20 years of soaring and powered flight experience, much of which is launching out of Truckee. He has served on and been Chair of the Fight Committee of BASA (Bay Area Soaring Association).  Professionally, Kurt has held various executive roles at several different companies, CTO, VP of Engineering,Chief Information Security Officer, and most recently, CEO

Ron Hess, President

Ron's bio 

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Richard Pearl, Secretary

Richard learned to fly gliders in Toronto, Canada and, after returning to the USA, earned his
commercial and CFI-G license at the old Vacaville glider port in 1985. Over the years he has been president of Northern California Soaring Association and Soar Truckee, Inc./Truckee Tahoe Soaring Association, where he is currently on the board of directors. Richard has 2,600 total glider hours, including 995 hours in touring motor gliders. His pure glider time includes more than 1,000 hours of student instruction. At TSA he created the highly successful Youth Intensive Soaring Camp. He is also the founder of the international Touring Motor Glider Association and has flown TMG's in several overseas countries. Richard lives in Lincoln, Ca with his wife Penny.

Steve Wertheimer, Treasurer

Steve started flying hang gliders in 1981 and logged about 600 hours hang gliding all over the Western US, participating in 2 US Nationals and various other meets. In 2003 he transitioned to sailplanes, getting his training at Crazy Creek. From then until 2018 his time was spent more on family and work than soaring and he logged about 150 hours in sailplanes during that time. In 2018 after the closure of Crazy Creek he moved his soaring base to Williams and started to fly more, and has now logged over 400 soaring hours. Steve has worked at Oracle as a software engineer and manager since 1990. Steve lives in Marin County, CA.

Debbie Cohen, Fundraising

Debbie joined the TSA Board to drive the fundraising activities necessary to expand and enhance TSA's youth focused programs to develop more STEM interest and skills in our area youth. In her 30+ year information technology career with both large and small companies, Debbie held management roles in marketing, sales, alliances and business development. Debbie has a long term interest in aviation, having grown up in an aviation family, and a post-university first job with Northwest Airlines. Debbie is a regular vistor to the North Tahoe region
since moving to California in 1991.

Peter Deane, Strategy

Peter has been flying sailplanes since 1986 and has over 3300hrs in gliders. He took his private glider check ride at Truckee in 1987 and Truckee has been his summer soaring base for 35yrs. He has many Regional and National contest wins and podiums and represented the USA in 2 Standard Class World Championships.  Peter has been heavily involved in promoting cross country and fun weekend racing in Region 11 (Pasco League), and served on the Pacific Soaring Council board for over 15 yrs in a variety of roles including President, as well as the US Team committee. He was awarded the Les Arnold Award for service to Soaring in 2008. Peter is retired from a career as a technologist, inventor and engineering director in the semiconductor industry.

Karol Hines, FAA and Airport Liaison

Karol lives in Reno and began her soaring career in 1982 at Sky Sailing in Fremont, California. She was a nationally ranked competition glider pilot for 10 years flying a Schleicher ASW-24. In
addition to flying, Karol supported the sport of soaring as a PASCO (Pacific Soaring Council)
Board member, President and Treasurer; SSA (Soaring Society of America) Regional Director for Region 11 and Competition Manager for numerous regional and national Soaring competitions in Region 11. The majority of Karol's professional career was in executive and technical leadership in computer software firms in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Mike Johnson

Mike lives in Reno, is a multi-rated pilot including that of ATP, a multi-rated CFI, a CIG of 23 years, and a former DE for gliders, airplane, private, commercial and instrument. He has been associated with TTSA since 1995 and served as the general manager from 2000-2001. In a recent season, Mike volunteered over 400 hours working on the line with the line crew, as a ride pilot, and as the line chief for the SSA Region 11 Contest. Mike is significantly knowledgeable in aviation, the operations of TSA, and the history of TTSA. He brings a wealth of expertise to the board, most significantly that of operations

Paul Loewenstein

Paul's first glider flight was at the age of 14 in his school's Slingsby T21 glider with his physics teacher, JohnSimpson, as instructor. He continued flying gliders in the UK and then France until coming to the US in1981. Then followed a 36 year hiatus from gliding, spent first flying power and then raising a family. Paul restarted gliding in 2017 with the Northern California Soaring Association and flies primarily his ASW-20 PL He also flies West Valley Flying Club Citabrias from Palo Alto.

Mike Mayo, Operations and Fleet Management

Mike is a 42-year glider pilot and a 40-year SEL pilot who has been flying from TTSA since 1989. He owns a house in Truckee and Palo Alto and spends most weekends at TTSA flying his glider, E5. Mike has been Involved with the SSA Region 11 Contest for four years, both as a contestant and as the director. He is a robotic engineer by trade and is frequently seen fixing something electronic on the property or designing and building something practical like the crane to lift the oxygen bottles off and onto the cart or a simulatorto assist in training. Mike brings to the board experience to assist in Contest related issues, relationships with associations, and equipment development.

Hans Van Weersch, Facilities and Operations

Hans is a Dutch native and started flying gliders at the Eindhoven Aero Club in 1992. Originating from the FlatLands, Hans finds it a special experience to fly the Big Air of the Sierras. He also enjoys introducing and mentoring new pilots into this magical environment with Lead and Follow flights in his Ventus-2C 3U. Hans holds a commercial glider pilot rating and has been flying at Truckee since 2000. After obtaining his MSEE from Eindhoven University of Technology, Hans spent his 30+ year career in management roles at Semiconductor High Tech companies Philips, Micron, STM and Seoul Semi.

John Boyce

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John has been a glider pilot since 1966, and a Certified Flight Instructor for the past thirteen years. John joined the TTSA Board of Directors to help TTSA preserve its presence at KTRK, where he first flew in 1988. John was the Chief Instructor at  TTSA in 2020 and 2021 and was instrumental in formalizing the curriculum for the TTSA STEM Soaring Academy and Line Crew Intern program. John is currently a CFIG for NCSA (Northern California Soaring Association). In addition to teaching people to fly gliders, John was an instructor for a  STEM program at two iFLY vertical wind tunnels. John's had a long professional career 

in chemical engineering in the semiconductor industry and is well-versed in science and mathematics.

As a former classical and rock musician, he is now a perceptive listener.

Board of Directors

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