Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council Biographies

Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council Biographies

Elliot Sanders, CAC Chair (appointed to the CAC in February 2010, representing Councilmember Mitch Englander)

Elliot has been President of Planned Approach Benefits, Inc. since 1997, and has been providing financial services and comprehensive Employee Health Insurance Planning Services for over 35 years. He is married with two daughters and has been a resident of Northridge for over 25 years. He is a licensed private pilot flying out of Van Nuys Airport, Van Nuys, California, and obtained the LUTCF designation as a facilitator to the Insurance Industry during the 1980’s.

Planned Approach Benefits Inc., and its strategic partners, provides employers in aviation and general industry with complete insurance and financial services and has been licensed to provide Life and Disability products since 1974, with a specialty in health benefits for the small group employer. Planned Approach Benefits, Inc. partners with the largest national wholesalers of quality health plans, Warner Pacific Insurance Services and Word & Brown.

Elliot Sanders is active in VNY local politics as the Past President of the VNY Prop Association and First Vice President of the Tenant Association (VNAA).

Elliot also sits on the Board of Advisors for the AOPA ASN program and is a Director at large for the Fourth District in California of the California Pilots Association.


David Rankell, CAC Vice Chair (appointed to the CAC in August of 2010, representing Councilmember Paul Krekorian)

David Rankell, CAC Vice Chair has been an active community volunteer for twenty years. He began his community involvement with the Los Angeles Police Department in 1991. As he engaged with community leaders at a young age he became involved with various community groups and issues. He has been active with matters pertaining to aviation and Van Nuys Airport since 1995. Rankell has been to the State Capital in Sacramento to lobby for aviation reform and to Washington D.C. to testify before the Federal Aviation Administration.

He is an active member of the Van Nuys Division Community Police Advisory Board and the City of Los Angeles Community Emergency Response Team. He has previously served as a Board Member of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, a position held for ten years. He also served the American Red Cross in various positions responding to and planning for disasters. Rankell was assigned to the North Hollywood Bank of America shootout, crash of Southwest Airlines flight 1455 (runway overrun), as well as numerous other local air crashes, residential fires, brush fires, flooding events and large scale evacuations.

David Rankell is a lifelong resident of the San Fernando Valley and resides in the Second Council District.


Kathy Delle Donne (appointed to the CAC in May 2014, representing Councilmember Bob Blumenfield)

Kathy Delle Donne lives in Tarzana and has been actively involved with community work for over 20 years. She heads the Tarzana Improvement Association and is a member of the Plan Review Board for the Ventura-Cahuenga Boulevard Corridor Specific Plan.

In 2013, she was appointed to the re:code LA Zoning Advisory Committee. This is a five year project under the direction of the LA Planning Department to revise the outdated LA City Zoning Code. She is a past President of the Tarzana Neighborhood Council and had been instrumental in the Council’s formation.

In addition to her volunteer activities, Kathy owned and operated a property management business. She and her husband currently maintain their aircraft at a charter leasing company located at Van Nuys Airport.


Cindy Goodfellow (appointed to the CAC in November 2011, representing the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners)

Cindy Goodfellow is an Administrative Manager for The Aerolease Group which constructed and manages various aviation related properties at both the Van Nuys and Long Beach Airports.

Goodfellow has over 31 years of experience in commercial office, warehouse and aviation property management, marketing, administration and executive suites management. Goodfellow began her career as the Leasing Manager for Attorneys Office Management, Inc., from 1972 – 1985, which specializes in leasing office space. Since joining the Aerolease Group in 1989, she has overseen the leasing of executive suites and airport properties for the various companies in her role as Administrative Manager.

Her personal community activities have included various board and committee positions with the Mid-Valley Chamber of Commerce, serving on the Boards of the Work Training Programs for the developmentally disabled, 23rd Street Station for Domestic Violence, a past Board Member of the Van Nuys Airport Association and currently serves as the Vice President of the Eddie Nash Foundation, which is known for its work with foster children.

Cindy Goodfellow is a mother of two and a resident of Huntington Beach, California.


Vahid Khorsand (appointed to the CAC in May 2014, representing Councilmember Bob Blumenfield)

Vahid is an analyst with BWS Financial, Inc., an independent equities research and trading services firm based out of Woodland Hills that focuses on providing clients with research on companies with potential for growth and deeply discounted by the investing community. Vahid graduated from California State University Long Beach and earned his Master’s in Business Administration from Pepperdine University.

Vahid is active in the San Fernando Valley and volunteers on several boards. He is a board member and past-president of the Encino Chamber of Commerce, board member and past-president of the San Fernando Valley Jaycees, secretary of the LAPD Valley Traffic Advisory Council, on the board of directors of ONEgeneration, West Valley PALS/Jeopardy, and the Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council. In 2013, Vahid was named by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield as a delegate to the Valley Regional Volunteer Neighborhood Oversight Committee, who advise the Proposition K: L.A. for Kids Steering Committee on when Proposition K projects will be done.

In 2012, Vahid was recognized by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal and Santa Clarita Signal as a 40 under 40, and had previously been awarded both California Jaycee of the Year and San Fernando Valley Jaycee of the Year for organizing free health screenings for over 200 individuals. Since 2009, Vahid has organized an annual food drive in the spring. Vahid has been married to his very supportive wife, Vanessa, since April of 2014.


Harold Lee (appointed to the CAC in February 2001, representing Councilmember Mitch Englander)

Harold is president of Air Sources, Inc., a small propeller leasehold on VNY. Prior to that, Air Sources, Inc. had a 20 acre leasehold on the northwest side of the VNY under the name of Million Air Van Nuys and was in operation from 1979 to 2007. He still retains an FBO leasehold at Burbank under the name of Million Air Burbank and has an FBO located in Oxnard California under the name of Golden West Jet Center.

Now retired, Lee was also a practicing California attorney and CPA (licenses in California, Texas, and Hawaii) specializing in corporate and tax matters between 1975 and 1993. Harold is also a currently licensed California Real Estate Broker. He holds a current FAA Airline Transport pilot’s license with a Citation Jet rating and was a member of the LAWA and FAA Part 150 study,

Harold Lee has five children, four grandchildren, and resides in Granada Hills, California.


Ron Merkin (appointed to the CAC in November 2007, representing Councilmember Tom Labonge)

Ron Merkin is self-employed as a marketing and event consultant to the shopping center and retail industries. He was elected to the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council and became Vice Chair during his tenure.

Ron Merkin is a charter member of the Sherman Oaks Sunset Rotary Club and has been a resident of Sherman Oaks for 19 years.


Roger Oeland (appointed to the CAC in July 2010, representing the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners)

Roger Oeland was raised in Sherman Oaks, CA, and attended Van Nuys High School. In August of 1967, Oeland accepted a research and development technician job with the Ted Smith Aircraft Company of Northridge, which eventually became Ted Smith and Associates in 1971. In late 1976, he and several of the former employees started Aero Specialties in old Mr. R.P.M., Incorporated hangar facilities on Van Nuys Airport. Since then, Aero Specialties has been heavily involved in the aircraft maintenance and modification business.

Oeland is committed to keeping a logical balance between businesses and homeowners in the Valley. He is also a member of the Van Nuys Propeller Aircraft Association and the Friends of Van Nuys Airport.

Roger Oeland currently lives in Sherman Oaks, California.



John Parker (appointed to the CAC in February 2014, representing the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners)

John Parker is a co-founder of Parker Brown, Inc., a construction company headquartered in Canoga Park. John has set the tone for the company's construction operations and corporate management. Parker Brown employs more than 30 people and has achieved many awards. In 2008 and 2009, the San Fernando Valley Business Journal selected Parker Brown as one of the "Best Places to Work in the San Fernando Valley".

John served as the President of the United Chambers of Commerce from 2011-2012. The United Chambers of Commerce is the coordinating group for most of the San Fernando Valley Chambers of Commerce. He's a board member of the Valley Industry Commerce Association (V.I.C.A.). He's also a Regional Board member of the Building Owners and Managers Association (B.O.M.A.) of Los Angeles.

John lives in Northridge with his wife Maria, and his two sons Conor and Sean. His daughter Ciara and grandson Killian live nearby in Granada Hills. John is involved in his Church serving as President of the Men's Club in the past and is also involved with the American Youth Soccer Association for the last 20 years.


Laurence Rabe (appointed to the CAC in September 2007, representing the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office)

Born in France, where her father was in the French Air Force, Laurence Rabe was exposed at an early age to flying. She was also introduced to rockets launching out of French Guyana, where she lived when her father was a Flight Director for the European launcher, Ariane. Rabe has also lived in Africa and Hong Kong.

Rabe received her Scientific Baccalaureate in France with a focus on mathematics, physics and biology. After preliminary studies in engineering, Rabe launched her career in aviation as a flight attendant for United Airlines from 1993 to 2008. She started in the Paris base for four years and relocated to Hong Kong in 1997, flying U.S. and intra-Asia routes. Rabe is currently self-employed and working on start-up enterprises involved in the environment and aviation. She also is an accomplished athlete with notable achievements that include a 5.0 rating in the United States Tennis Association and a Green Belt Level 4 in Krav Maga (Israeli Self Defense Combat System).

After becoming a private pilot in 2003, Rabe followed with her instrument rating in 2006. She flies out of Van Nuys Airport, where her restored 1957 Cessna 172 is based. In July 2003, she fulfilled a dream and flew one of the last flights of the Concorde Supersonic Transport aircraft before its retirement.


Mel N. Roberts (appointed to the CAC February 2015, representing Mayor Eric Garcetti)  

Mel Roberts is a retired business development consultant for spacecraft and spacecraft instruments. From 2003 to 2014, he had a successful business-management consultancy in space-related business development for large and small companies. Mel’s consulting experience includes proposal writing and reviewing, proposal evaluations, adjustment/change proposals, program management, contract formation and negotiation, and communication systems.

In 2003, Mel retired from Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) where he served in senior management and reported to the Director for Engineering and Science. His responsibilities included business development and industry relations, serving as a liaison between the acquisition division and technical divisions at JPL, technical manager for JPL’s support contractors, and developed and instructed a course in for contract technical management. Prior to promotion to senior management at JPL, Mel developed communication systems for scientific spacecraft.

Mel served as the Area 6 representative and Airport Committee Chair for the Encino Neighborhood Council, and recently resigned these positions to devote more time to the CAC activities.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arizona; a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Southern California; and a Juris Doctor from San Fernando Valley College of Law.


Wendy Saunders (appointed to the CAC in July 2009, representing Councilmember Nury Martinez)

Wendy Saunders is Executive Director of Operations of the Mid, East, and West Valley Family YMCAs. Through her work at the Y and her volunteer leadership as Executive Vice President on the board the SFV Jaycees, she is provides leadership development and job training, healthy lifestyle and anti-obesity programs for children and adults, youth and teen enrichment and character development programs, and high-quality preschool and after-school programs to a diverse constituency comprised of over 15,000 individuals across the Valley.

Saunders has successfully completed a workforce merger between the three YMCA centers, reinvigorated and grown the Mid Valley Family YMCA’s Board of Managers and committees, initiated redevelopment planning to identify and analyze options for the revitalization of the Mid Valley Y to ensure its longevity in the mid-Valley for another 60 years, and grown Mid Valley Y membership revenue by 22% since 2003. Saunders has worked for the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles since 1996 and holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Maryland.

Wendy Saunders currently lives in Canoga Park, California.


Gerald A. Silver (appointed to the CAC in August 1997, representing Councilmember Paul Koretz)

Gerald A. Silver is President of the Homeowners of Encino and serves on the Ventura/Cahuenga Boulevard Specific Plan Review Board (PRB). He is also on the board of the Encino Neighborhood Council, and is a member of the Encino Planning and Land Use Committee. Silver served on the Citizens Advisory Committee that prepared the Ventura/Cahuenga Boulevard Specific Plan.

He holds a Doctorate from UCLA in School Administration, a Master of Arts in Industrial Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Silver is Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at Los Angeles City College. He has authored dozens of college textbooks on business, management, systems analysis, computers, programming and graphic arts.

Gerald Silver resides in Encino with his wife, Myrna.


Craig Welzbacher (appointed to the CAC in November 2015, representing Councilmember Nury Martinez)  

As a resident of Council District 6, Craig Welzbacher recognizes the symbiosis required between the airport and the surrounding communities. He strives to balance the needs of the community and understands the importance of the Van Nuys Airport and the aeronautics industry that supports it. Welzbacher is an actor/director in Los Angeles who has also worked in the market research industry for the last 16 years. He resides in Lake Balboa with his wife.


Wayne Williams (appointed to the CAC in March 2007, representing Councilmember Paul Koretz)

As a board member of the Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council, Wayne Williams advocates to set a deadline to terminate the nosiest jet aircraft from Van Nuys Airport. He also serves the community as a board member of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association.

Williams, an outspoken critic of special interest funding of elections, is a strong supporter of the California Clean Money Campaign in its effort to bring full public funding to the local, state and federal election process.


Jason Price (appointed to the CAC in June 2015, representing Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti)

Jason founded Mach 1 Aviation, Inc. in 2006, a flight school specializing in Cirrus Aircraft training located at Van Nuys Airport (VNY), where he serves as president and director of operations.

After studying aviation at Glendale Community College, Jason went on to receive his Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and become a Certified Flight Instructor with airplane, multi-engine, and instrument qualifications.

Jason is one of only 45 Platinum Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilots and Mach 1 Aviation is one of only 25 Platinum Cirrus Training Centers worldwide. He is also currently an adjunct instructor at Glendale Community College teaching both classroom and flight classes.

In addition to serving on the CAC, Jason is also a past president and current board member of the Van Nuys Propeller Aircraft Association. He moved to Southern California in 1989 from Phoenix, Arizona.
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