OUR PEOPLE

Meet The Dedicated People Behind PALS

Patient AirLift Services maintains a coordination center to connect people to pilots and oversee the missions. Our staff is dedicated to the PALS mission and always strives to provide every passenger with the absolute best service and experience.

The Staff

Donna Collins

Executive Director

Suzanne Candela

Mission Coordinator

Amanda Melilli

Mission Coordinator

Victoria Batz

Mission/Outreach Coordinator

Karen Krolikowski

Director of Operations & Outreach

Jamie Newberry

Relationship Manager

Jillian Born

Human Resources Manager

Brook Leighton

Director of Development & Marketing

Kirk Thorvaldsen

Pilot Coordinator

Andrea McAuliffe

Controller

Officers

Joe Howley

President

James Christie

Treasurer

Adam Broun

Executive Committee

Jim Platz

Chairman
More About Jim

Jeff Radtke

Secretary

Alan Sheiness

Executive Committee

John Rochelle

Vice Chairman

Scott Ashton

Executive Committee

Directors

Col. Jennifer Barnard

Ronen Elefant, MD

Brian Lisoski

Matt Desch

Michael Goonan

Ubon Mendie

Stuart Waldrum

Jay Duncan

Dr. Rhoda C. Kupferberg Joss, Psy.D.

Sean Peters

Directors Emeritus

Harold Levy

In Memoriam

William Weaver

In Memoriam

Peter Ryan

In Memoriam

Jim O’Rourke

Ruthanne Ruzika

Joe Howley

President, PALS

Joe Howley has served as President of the Board of Directors at Patient Airlift Services since 2014 and previously served as Chairman of the Board from 2010-2014. He is a retired commodities trader. Joe has been volunteer flying for over 20 years and has devoted extraordinary amounts of energy to public outreach and hosted fundraising events. He has made numerous appearances on PALS behalf to business groups, local organizations, and media outlets. He is the past President of the Pilatus Owners and Pilots Association. As the founding Chairman, Joe was instrumental in the origination of PALS and is a superlative role model to other PALS pilots, having flown over 1,000 PALS passenger missions. When asked about his participation in PALS, Joe says unequivocally; “There is no other volunteer pilot organization that can match our transparency, efficacy, and passion to help those in need. Our superb pilots and staff are second to none.” Joe and his wife Christine have been married over thirty years and have three grown children. His interests are flying, most sports and he is conversational in Spanish and French.

James Christie

Treasurer

James H Christie, CFP, serves as Treasurer and member of the Executive Committee.  Jim has been involved in Volunteer Flying for 22 years and holds FAA Private, Instrument, and Multiengine Ratings. 
 
Jim has held the Certified Financial Planner designation for 25 years and runs his own Wealth Management firm, specializing in Trusts and Estates. 
 
“When I was an infant, I needed many trips to the hospital for specialized treatment.  I was lucky that my family lived near these specialists, so travel was a minor issue.  My goal for the past 22 years has been to make it a minor issue for those who live far away from the care they need.”  
 
Jim has previously served on the boards of the Somerset Hills YMCA and the Fighting Children’s Cancer Foundation.
 
Jim lives in Bedminster, NJ and Fort Myers, FL with his wife, Kathy, and their son, Alexander.

Jim Platz

Chairman, PALS

Jim Platz is Chairman of the Board of Directors and has served as a member of the board since the inception of Patient Airlift Services. Jim
works as a structural and civil engineer involved in real estate development. He was a director of Androscoggin Bank and the chairman of Head Invest investment management until retiring last year. Jim has devoted much of his time to helping non-profit charities and has extensive experience in public outreach and fundraising. He has had previous directorship roles with St. Mary’s Healthcare, Growing Through Adoption, Auburn-Lewiston YMCA and Hebron Academy. Jim has over 17 years’ experience as a volunteer pilot and has flown more than 4000 missions and logged over 7000 hours of volunteer flying time. In addition to his dedicated service to Patient Airlift Services, Jim has flown volunteer hours for Air Life Line, Northern Wings, Angel Flight NE, Make A Wish Foundation, New England Aquarium and the Maine Audubon Society. When speaking of his experiences with Patient Airlift Services, Jim says “I am continually amazed by the courage, determination, faith, and positive attitudes that our patients show in the face of challenging situations. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of these people’s lives.” Jim and his wife Candace live in Auburn, Maine and have two daughters. Jim’s recreational interests include underwater photography, backpacking, bicycling and kayaking.

Jeff Radtke

Secretary, PALS

Jeff Radtke is the Secretary of Patient Airlift Services and serves on the Executive Committee. Jeff has served on the Board of Directors since 2016. Over a twenty-five year span, Jeff worked for numerous investments banks specializing in program trading and algorithmic trading. Jeff is a single-engine instrument rated pilot. He has been flying volunteer missions for seven years. “Some 400 years before the Wright brother’s first flight, Leonardo Da Vinci best described the bug of flying for me.” “When once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Leonardo da Vinci When speaking of his work with Patient Airlift Services, Jeff says: “It is my privilege to volunteer and be a member of the PALS team. PALS has taught me that at life’s most fragile moments giving a helping hand is such a powerful healing tool.” Jeff lives in Norwalk, Connecticut with his wife Karolina and four children.

Alan Sheiness

Treasurer

Alan Sheiness is a member of the Board of Patient Airlift Services and serves on the Executive Committee. He has been on the Board of Directors since the inception of PALS, and served as Chairman of the Board from 2014 to 2018. He worked at ADP from 1984 through his retirement in 2015 as its corporate controller and principal accounting officer. He is a certified public accountant in New York State. Alan is a commercial pilot with single-engine and multi-engine ratings. He has contributed to PALS in the areas of public outreach, fundraising and as an active volunteer pilot. He has flown over 600 hours as part of volunteer pilot organizations. He has diligently worked on obtaining corporate sponsorships to support the efforts of PALS. His efforts and flying achievements have been featured in Southwest Aviators Magazine. When speaking of his work with PALS, Alan states, “It is simply a great joy to do what we do. Having helped make this possible on the scale of hundreds of volunteer pilots being able to contribute is an incredible source of pride.” Alan is married to Jeanne and they have two daughters and a son. His recreational interests include electric guitar, woodworking, foreign languages, astronomy and astrophotography.

John Rochelle

Vice Chairman, PALS

John Rochelle is Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors at Patient Airlift Services since its inception and acts as a superlative model of leadership. John is a retired Custom Building Contractor, both commercial and residential, and specialized in large custom residential building projects. John has substantial experience in governance of charitable organizations and has performed public outreach and fundraising. Among his many accomplishments, John has served on the boards of volunteer pilot organizations, numerous builders associations and artistic and religious foundations. John estimates that he has flown over 330 flight missions and approximately 3000 hours of flying for volunteer pilot organizations. Regarding his leadership and flying efforts on behalf of PALS John states, “Family aside, this is the best thing I’ve done in my life.” John lives in Pennsylvania with his wife Diane and has a daughter, a son, three grandsons and one granddaughter.

Scott Ashton

Executive Committee Member

Scott E. Ashton is the President and CEO of Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems, in Bonita Springs, FL, and is an aerospace industry executive with more than 25 years of industry experience working for such leading companies as Sikorsky, General Electric, and Goodrich, and has extensive experience operating FAA Part 145 and Part 135 certificated businesses.

Scott is a member of the Board of Patient Airlift Services and serves on the Executive Committee and Pilot and Safety Committee. He has been involved with PALS since 2015 and has helped foster the PALS relationship with the business aviation and New York helicopter communities. He is an ATP-rated pilot, and has single-engine land and sea, multi-engine, glider, and helicopter ratings. Scott is also a CFI Part 107 drone pilot.

He has contributed to PALS in the areas of public outreach, fundraising and as an active volunteer pilot. He has been quoted in Chief Executive magazine about being a PALS volunteer and has developed corporate relationships to support the efforts of PALS. He is an ardent aviation advocate and had served on the boards of several aviation advocacy groups, including the Eastern Region Helicopter Council and CT Business Aviation Group, where he has advocated to preserve airport and airspace access.

When speaking of his work with PALS, Scott states, “I’m so incredibly proud to be a part of PALS and humbled by the contributions of the Aviation community to make others’ lives better. Aviation has a capacity to bring so much to people’s lives – especially when they are most in need, and the volunteers and staff at PALS live that every day.” Scott is married to Sarah and they have two daughters and a son, and they reside in Farmington, CT and Naples, FL. His recreational interests include serving as Board President of the New England Air Museum, glider flying, trap shooting, fly fishing, and boating.

Jennifer Barnard

Director, PALS

Jennifer is the Chief of Maintenance and Munitions Division for Air Force Material Command, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. She has served in the United States Air Force for over 26 years as an Engineer and Aircraft Maintenance Officer with multiple deployments from Afghanistan to Antarctica, managed many types of Air Force aircraft and has commanded multiple squadrons and most recently the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona (aka the Boneyard).

Brian Lisoski

Director, PALS

Brian Lisoski is a member of the board of directors at PALS and has been an active volunteer since the inception of PALS. He is an independent commodity trader based in West Palm Beach, FL. He is currently involved with pilot recruitment, fundraising and outreach. He is a member of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Brian estimates that he has flown 1500 hours since he became a pilot in 2007. He flies missions for PALS at least monthly as either primary pilot or copilot.

He contributes large amounts of time and effort into outreach, fundraising and raising awareness of PALS services to the public and healthcare professionals. When asked why he volunteers his time at PALS, Brian says “I love to fly and If I can help someone along the way, it just makes my day better.”  Brian Lives in West Palm Beach, FL and enjoys all types of sports, especially trap and skeet shooting with a variety of clubs.

Michael Goonan

Director, PALS
Mike Goonan is an executive vice president located in Boston and recently assumed responsibility for a large part of State Street Global Operations encompassing Derivatives Processing, Securities Valuation, Cash Availability, Corporate Actions, Income, Tax, Class Actions, Bank Loans and EMEA Operations. In this role he sets strategic direction and provides managerial oversight for an organization that comprises 1,400 staff located in 11 locations around the world. Mike has been with State Street for more than 14 years and was previously within Investment Management Services at State Street’s Irvine, California office. He managed the global investment management operations outsourced by various clients including PIMCO, Lazard Asset Management, Wellington, Babson Capital Management, and GIC. He began his career in securities processing in 1982 and has held senior management positions in sales, relationship management, trading and operations at Deutsche Bank, Clearstream, Yasuda Bank & Trust and J.P. Morgan. This included several years living and working in England and Luxembourg. Mr. Goonan attended New York University and the University of Notre Dame and holds a B.A. in Economics.

Ubon Mendie

Director, PALS
Ubon Mendie is a member of the Patient Airlift Services Board of Directors and is a proud supporter of the organization’s mission. Ubon is a native of Brooklyn, New York, and holds a Master’s in Professional Studies from Georgetown University. Professionally, Ubon serves as a member of the U.S. Government Civil Service. He is a Director of Communications in Washington, D.C., and is responsible for planning, implementing and analyzing comprehensive studies that impact over 18 million veterans. He is responsible for the full communication strategy for a $1.8 billion annual research program and the daily management of his agency’s communications directorate and staff. Ubon is a proven leader and takes pride in assisting in the care of those wounded in combat – physically or mentally. He is a combat veteran and served in both the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army.

Stuart Waldrum

Director, PALS
Stuart Waldrum is a member of the Board of Directors at Patient Airlift Services since 2012. He works as the Managing Partner at TORI Global at NYC, New York. He has also worked for many years in Automatic Data Processing. He brings his technology expertise to Board of Directors and is on the Technology Committee working to enhance PALS technology support systems. When he speaks of his work with Patient Airlift Services, Stuart says, “I’m continually impressed with the passion that the staff and board show in their professionalism and dedication to the mission of PALS, which makes a real difference to the patient’s welfare.” He lives in Westwood, New Jersey with his wife Colette and has 3 children and 3 grandchildren. In his spare time he is avidly interested in photography.

Jay Duncan

Director, PALS

Jay is a member of the Board of Directors and PALS volunteer pilot. He is a senior executive and transportation planner with AECOM, an international transportation consulting and professional services company. With his background in transportation and environmental planning, he has helped plan, design and build major transit, highway, airport, and intermodal projects throughout the country that have helped move people and goods where they need to go. He consistently looks to find ways to share his time, treasures and talents to support organizations such as PALS, the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary-Civil Air Patrol, Habitat for Humanity, diabetes foundations and other charitable organizations. Jay feels fortunate to be able to use his passion for flying to lessen our customer’s travel burden while they are seeking critical medical care, and to support our military heroes. Jay is committed to continually expanding the reach and influence of the PALS organization, so that we can successfully address the growing need for our services. When he’s not traveling for work or flying, he spends time with his wife Shelley and their six children in their home outside of Boston, Massachusetts, or lakeside in New Hampshire.

Dr. Rhoda C. Kupferberg Joss, Psy.D.

Director, PALS
Dr. Rhoda Kupferberg Joss, Psy.D. is a member of the Board of Directors at Patient Airlift Services and has been since its inception. Rhoda is a licensed doctoral clinical psychologist in private practice in Massachusetts. Her areas of expertise include behavioral medicine, trauma recovery, hypnotherapy, dissociative disorders, family and couples work, medical psychology and ethical issues in treatment. Rhoda has extensive experience in outreach and fundraising including coordinating clinical organizations for over 30 years. She is involved with the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, a 200-yearold classical music performing society. In her work with volunteer pilot organizations, Rhoda has assisted in connecting with medical organizations such as Boston Foundation for Sight. She has served on the Board of Directors at the Marino Center for Progressive Health and continues to serve as a trustee for family charitable trusts. In speaking of her work with Patient Airlift Services, Rhoda says “It is a joy to serve as a member of this truly honorable organization. PALS fulfills a need that is largely un-serviced and aids patients with respect and dignity. It is a rare privilege to see such needs being served efficiently and with great kindness. It continues to be a life altering experience to be part of this amazing and wonderful organization.” Rhoda lives in Massachusetts with her husband Paul C. Joss and has a step-daughter, a step-son, a daughter-in-law and a grand-daughter. In her leisure time, Rhoda is an avid reader and enjoys exercise, swimming, music and travel.

Harold Levy

Director Emeritus, PALS
In Memoriam

Harold was one of the original founding members of PALS and actively served on the Board until stepping down in late 2012. He initially served as Secretary for a short time and was on various committees, including the Executive Committee. Prior to assisting in the formation of PALS Harold had been active in public benefit flying and brought with him a wealth of experience from those prior years. He was an instrument rated private pilot with numerous aircraft ratings and he owned and operated a Cessna Centurion. Before his retirement from the private sector, Harold was engaged in the private practice of law and was active in various legal, aviation, and volunteer pilot organizations. He was always “on call”to the PALS office and staff for whatever services might be required. When speaking of PALS Harold had said; “You only have to look into the eyes and the hearts of the people we help to know how important the service is to them. It’s very rewarding.”

William Weaver

Director Emeritus, PALS
In Memoriam

William Weaver was a member of the Board of Directors at Patient Airlift Services since 2014. He was the previous owner of Million Air White Plains, which is a fixed base operator at Westchester County Airport in White Plains New York. He brought over forty years of expertise in the Aviation industry, and over eighteen years of experience in local government to PALS. William also volunteered his time with other boards and organizations. When he spoke of his involvement with Patient Airlift Services, William said, “it’s all about helping people in need. I get great pleasure knowing that PALS is there when it counts.” He lived in Armonk, New York with his wife Susan and had 3 boys. In his spare time he was an avid golfer, and volunteer.

Peter Ryan

Director Emeritus, PALS
In Memoriam

Peter Ryan was a member of the Board of Directors of Patient Airlift Services since its inception. Peter was retired from the media business and was the former President and Chief Operating Officer of HRP Television Station Representatives. Peter also served as an officer in the US Army. Peter had extensive experience in the areas of public outreach and fundraising for non-profit organizations. He had served on numerous boards including chairing the Airport Advisory Board for Greenwich, Connecticut. Peter had been a dedicated pilot in volunteer pilot organizations, and had flown over 200 missions as a volunteer pilot. When speaking of his experiences as a pilot and a member of the Board of Directors of Patient Airlift Services, Peter said “ There is no more satisfying flying experience than turning your skills toward helping people and families in need. I’m proud to say that PALS not only does that but builds pilot communities in the process. I am also proud to know that PALS is the most transparent charity that I’ve ever been associated with.” Peter lived in Greenwich, Connecticut with his wife Morna and they have one daughter and two sons. In his leisure time, in addition to PALS, Peter enjoyed music and golf.

Ruthanne Ruzika

Director Emeritus, PALS

Ruthanne Ruzika was a member of the Board of Directors at Patient Airlift Services. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Marketing and has worked at C.F. Rutherford and Associates as a Vice President of Sales in furniture distribution. She volunteers her creative skills at various non-profit organizations including Parent Teacher Associations and the YMCA. She is extremely successful in fundraising endeavors and outreach and has run gala events, outings and marketed charitable products. Ruthanne brought to the PALS Board her unique communication and marketing skills with an extraordinarily successful track record. She has an enormous passion for helping those in need. When asked about her work with Patient Airlift Services, Ruthanne states “I find working with PALS one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime. I’m lucky to be part of such a giving team.” Ruthanne spends her leisure time boating, skiing and playing golf and tennis