Winfred (Joe) Garst, PhD - CEO
Winfred J. Garst Jr. (Joe) spent a career in the United States Air Force (USAF) as an aviator. His USAF career of twenty six years, of which thirteen were spend overseas (Japan, Ecuador, Germany) involved both command, diplomatic and staff positions. He flew numerous aircraft performing as both instructor and flight examiner. He retired from the USAF in 1995 in the grade of Colonel. He remains active in aviation, flying a number of civilian jets, and holds an Air Transportation Pilot rating as well as various instructor ratings. Prior to becoming one of the co-founders of Electric Jet LLC Joe spent eight years working for Cambata Aviation Inc. in a variety of capacities. His education includes a BA from Old Dominion University, MA from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a PhD from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Bruce K. Cambata - President
Mr. Cambata with his partner, Joe Garst, founded Electric Jet, LLC, in 2005. Previously, he was the Vice President of Flight Operations for Dynamic Aviation, Director of Maintenance for Piedmont Aviation (ROA), aircraft mechanic at Piedmont Airlines (INT) and aircraft mechanic in the US Air Force. Graduated top of his class at Piedmont Aerospace Institute.
Walter O’Brien - CTO
Dr. Walter O'Brien is the J. Bernard Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He was Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department from 1993 to 2004. He currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in aerospace propulsion, gas turbines, and turbomachinery, and has expertise in specialized instrumentation techniques. He is presently conducting research on the use of hydrogen as a fuel in gas turbines, performance modeling of turbines at low Reynolds numbers, active flow control using ion plasma methods, and the design of serpentine inlets for use with embedded turbine engines. His research programs are supported by NASA, the USAF, and the propulsion industry, His patented plasma torch-based combustion ignition techniques have demonstrated performance in M=2.4 flows, and have potential application in turbine engine augmentors. He has published over 120 journal articles, papers and reports in these and related fields. He has supervised the graduate work of more than one hundred M.S. and Ph.D. students. Dr. O'Brien is a Life Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
Karen Roberts - CFO
Karen has forty (40) years experience in aviation management. Thirty six (36) years were spent with the Roanoke, VA based Piedmont Aviation, Inc. / Piedmont Aviation Services, Inc. /Piedmont Hawthorne Aviation/Landmark Aviation. The last fifteen (15) years Karen served as Vice-President/General Manager of the Roanoke Division. With approximately 100 employees, she managed a fueling operation serving all corporate and airline traffic at the Roanoke airport; provided ground services airline and international freight haulers flying out of Roanoke Regional Airport. The Roanoke operation also provided a maintenance facility servicing most brands of piston and light jet aircraft to include airframe, avionics, and a full line of Raytheon parts and other aviation parts. Landmark also provided charter service for the regional area and coordinated aircraft sales within the area.
Dr. Steve LePera received his degrees from Virginia Tech, and now works as a combustion and thermal fluids researcher. He has been a lead researcher on several projects. For Electric Jet, LLC, his assignments include combustor design, planning and operation of experiments and diagnostics, data acquisition, control, and computational computer systems.