Washington D.C.
10/2/2013

Airlink is pleased to announce that a total of three new members have joined its Advisory Council.  These new additions include: Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines; Emily Sperling, President, ShelterBox USA, Inc; and William McNulty, Co-Founder, Team Rubicon.

“The addition of three new Advisory Council members is a testament to the growing awareness for Airlink as a viable partner within its key constituencies,” said Barry Humphreys, Chair of the Airlink Advisory Council.  “We are honored that they have accepted our invitation to use their individual expertise to help Airlink continue its mission of helping the aviation industry support humanitarian causes around the globe.”

Tewolde Gebremariam joined Ethiopian Airlines in 1985 as a Transportation Agent at Addis Ababa airport.  During his tenure, he progressed through the ranks to assume the role of CEO in January 2011.  In this role, he has won multiple awards including African CEO of the Year, Best African Business Leader and Airline Strategy Award for Regional Leadership.  In addition to his duties as CEO, he serves as a member of the Board of Ethio Telecom, as an Executive Committee Member of AFRAA and a member of the Board of Governors of IATA.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Addis Ababa University and a Master of Business Administration from Open University in the UK.

“I am honored to accept the invitation to join Airlink’s Advisory Council. At Ethiopian, our mission is to provide vital global air connectivity by simultaneously undertaking our corporate social responsibilities,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO, Ethiopian Airlines. “Previously, in partnership with Boeing and Seattle Anesthesia Outreach (SAO), we had delivered medical supplies to Black Lion Hospital, the largest hospital in Ethiopia, by using our B787 Dreamliner. We will strengthen our support to the community we serve be availing transport services for humanitarian supplies, in partnership with Airlink.”

As President of ShelterBox USA, Inc., Emily Sperling provides her leadership to this rapidly growing organization that delivers humanitarian relief in the form of equipment and materials that provide shelter to disaster survivors worldwide. Prior to joining ShelterBox, she held positions in communications, business development, and fundraising for economic development, agricultural and academic institutions. She holds a B.S. degree in Food and Resource Economics and an M.A. in Mass Communications, both earned from the University of Florida.

“Humanitarian organizations like ShelterBox rely on partnerships to carry out their missions effectively and efficiently,” said Sperling.  “Airlink has proven to be a very valuable partner for us and I look forward to helping grow its capacity to help more organizations and, ultimately, the vulnerable people they serve.”

William McNulty is the Co-Founder of Team Rubicon, a Los Angeles based veteran service organization that specializes in disaster response. He is a Marine who served in both the infantry and intelligence. During his career, McNulty has worked in support of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Council’s Iraq Threat Finance Cell. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Communication Studies from the University of Kansas and an M.A. in Government from The Johns Hopkins University.

"Airlink helped Team Rubicon respond to a half-dozen disasters thus far, saving us tens of thousands of dollars in airfare for our first-responders,” said McNulty. “However, what impresses me the most is the huge impact this organization is making across the globe. It's a brilliant idea to leverage the good will and capability of airlines for humanitarian missions and I look forward to helping this organization develop."

The Airlink Advisory Council consists of senior professionals in humanitarian aid and the aviation industry who volunteer their time to guide, promote, and advance the Airlink program.  Each member is dedicated to facilitating the recruitment of Airlines and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and providing industry insight and advice.  Membership in the Council is by invitation only. The Council is maintained through the members’ shared dedication and desire to assist both Airlines and NGOs meet humanitarian needs around the world. 

With the additions of Gebremariam, Sperling and McNulty, the Airlink Advisory Council is now comprised of a total of 15 members.  The other 12 Council members are: Barry Humphreys, Chair of the Airlink Advisory Council and former Director, Virgin Atlantic; Robert Brown, CEO of Airlink and Partner, VX Capital Partners; David Barger, President & CEO, JetBlue Airways; Robert Crandall, former President & CEO of American Airlines; Mark Dunkerley, President & CEO of Hawaiian Airlines; Ken Gazzola, President & CEO of FlightLogix, Inc. and former Executive VP & Group Publisher, Aviation Week; Klaus Heinemann, Chairman of the Board, Finnair OY; Glenn Hickerson, President of Hickerson Associates, former Chairman of SkyWorks Leasing and former President of GATX Air; James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways; John McMahon, former CEO of Genesis Lease Ltd.; Michael Platt, CEO of Lease Corporation International; and Stephen Rimmer,  Chairman & CEO of Guggenheim Aviation Partners. 

Airlink is the first-and-only, free, web-based program that connects airlines with NGOs throughout the world in order to support their humanitarian initiatives with passenger and/or cargo air transportation. Since its inception in 2009 as a humanitarian initiative of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) Foundation, Airlink has helped airlines source humanitarian transportation needs and has been active during several relief efforts including the unsettling refugee situation in Syria, regions in Oklahoma destroyed after the tornados, Hurricane Sandy, Haiti earthquake, Japan tsunami and the earthquake in Turkey.  Airlink is currently helping disaster responders and their equipment travel to Colorado to address the significant flooding. 

With the help of its airline partners, Airlink has arranged 189 humanitarian endeavors globally – moving 3,198 passengers and 772,000 pounds of cargo since its inception in 2010. To date, Airlink has secured more than USD $1.3 million donated air transportation, saved thousands of lives, and improved the lives of countless others.  To date, Airlink has 20 airlines and 50 NGOs participating in the program. The program depends on volunteers from the aviation community and new volunteers are always welcome.

For more information, visit www.airlinkflight.org.  Click through to Airlink’s Partners and view a current list of Airline and NGO Participants.